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Policy announcement – Self-Defence: Allowing Victims of Violent Crime to Defend Themselves
Maxime Bernier, Winkler, June 13, 2023
Good morning everyone, and thank you for being here today.
Bonjour à tous et merci d’être là aujourd’hui. Je vais faire l’essentiel de cette déclaration en anglais, mais on pourra bien sûr me poser des questions en français par la suite.
I want to announce a new People’s Party of Canada policy today with regard to crime and the right of Canadians to defend themselves against violent crime in particular.
Crime is a rising concern in many regions of the country, including in rural areas like here in Portage-Lisgar, where many houses are isolated, and police stations are sometimes many tens of kilometers away.
One obvious way to deter crime is to make it clear to criminals that there are laws and enforcement means in place that make it likely that they will be caught and severely punished.
Another is the fear that their victims are going to defend themselves.
Any justice system grounded in morality and reason allows self-defence.
In Canada, this right is, however, inconsistently applied due to the law’s complexity and imprecision.
There have been many cases over the past years when honest citizens who defended themselves against violent assailants were themselves charged.
And then went on trial because they used force that was not deemed “reasonable in the circumstances” and “proportionate to the perceived threat.”
Sections 34 of the Criminal Code states in what circumstances individuals can use force to defend themselves or others if force is being used or threatened against them or others.
Section 35 recognizes certain circumstances where an individual is justified in using physical force against another person to protect his or her property from being entered, taken, damaged or destroyed.
According to Ontario lawyer Edward Burlew, who has been involved in self-defence cases involving the use of firearms, although the Criminal Code was amended in 2013 to clarify these self-defence sections, the law remains “imprecise.”
“It has been dealt with on a very uneven basis. It has been primarily driven by the individual opinions and emotions of police and prosecutors.” (END OF QUOTE)
A recent case is that of a Manitoba man, Dakota Pratt, who was sentenced to five years in prison in 2019 after being convicted of manslaughter in the death of a person who entered his house in the middle of the night and attacked him with a knife.
The resident took the assailant’s weapon and stabbed him 13 times. The judge said he had a right to protect himself but went beyond what was necessary for self-defence.
Condemning a person to years in prison for having made the wrong assessment of a “perceived threat,” or having used too much force to defend themselves while in a state of panic after being violently attacked, is clearly a breach of the universal human right to self-defence.
Such legal proceedings can destroy a person’s mental health, family life, and livelihood, even when they are not found guilty of an offence.
Victims of robbery are typically advised to call the police and avoid any confrontation with assailants while waiting for the police to arrive.
In rural areas however, police stations are often far away and it can take a long time for the police to arrive at the scene of a crime.
The threat that a victim may retaliate with force is a crucial way to deter crime.
Beyond the right to defend yourself in your own home, it should be possible to defend yourself anywhere.
However, the Criminal Code specifically makes it illegal to carry and use even non-lethal devices such as pepper spray as modes of defence against potential attackers.
This offence is punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years.
This makes women in particular even more defenceless and prone to fall victim to aggression and sexual violence.
Canadians should be able to defend themselves in circumstances where they are violently attacked or are victims of robbery in their own homes, without fear of criminal charges.
Everybody, and women in particular, should be allowed to carry effective means of self-defence against aggressors and rapists.
I am therefore announcing the following policy, which can be found in the Platform section of our website.
A People’s Party government will:
First, amend section 34 of the Criminal Code to clarify and fortify the right to self-defence, and increase the burden of proof necessary to charge and convict victims who used force to defend themselves against a violent attacker.
Second, amend section 35 of the Criminal Code to include the concept of the inviolability of one’s home, known as “Castle Doctrine,” that allows victims to use force (up to and including deadly force) to defend themselves against a violent intruder, free from legal prosecution.
And finally, a PPC government will amend the Criminal Code to remove pepper spray from the list of prohibited weapons and make it legal to possess and carry it for self-defence.
No other party has proposed to adopt these reforms. I believe they will make Canadians more secure from crime.
And I ask the people of Portage-Lisgar to consider this new policy when deciding for whom to vote next Monday.
As we enter the final stretch of this campaign, I want to make a final appeal to my constituents here in Portage-Lisgar.
I know that you're deeply unsatisfied with the current government. You want Trudeau gone yesterday. I understand. I feel the same way.
But this by-election is not an opportunity to get rid of Trudeau. No matter the results on Monday, we'll still be stuck with the same corrupt Liberal government.
The only way to change the status quo in Ottawa is to send me there.
I will not disrupt the opposition of Poilievre and his team. I will vote with them against all of Trudeau's insane plans. I will support them when they have the courage to act as real conservatives.
But I will also hold Poilievre's cowardly Conservatives accountable!
I will push them to be more conservative.
To not only speak out on economic issues, but to start speaking out against cultural issues as well.
As much as you detest Trudeau, you cannot pretend you are satisfied with Poilievre.
He did not stand up for us during covid until he saw a political opportunity during the Freedom Convoy.
While we were discriminated against, fined, and even arrested; Poilievre demanded they force vaccines on us faster!
He ignores cultural issues like radical transgender ideology and abortion. He views social conservatives as a PR issue instead of proudly standing for their values!
As your next Member of Parliament I will introduce common sense, socially conservative bills on transgender ideology and late-term abortion.
The only way to open a national conversation on these issues is to send me to the House of Commons.
This is how we begin to take our country back from out of touch leftists and career politicians.
This is how we preserve the culture that made our country great for our children and grandchildren!
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