Bill C‑45 Amendments to the National Defence Act

Implications for Independent Oversight of Military Policing

Overview

Bill C‑45 reintroduces many of the proposed legislative changes contained in Bill C‑7.

However, amendments in Bill C‑7 which would have most directly impaired the Commission’s ability to perform its intended oversight role have not been retained in the new bill. Those provisions would have:

The MPCC is pleased that these proposed changes have been left out of this bill, however, in the Commission’s view, there are further desirable improvements to the proposed legislation.

Significant Concern: Authorized Interference by VCDS

Most significantly, the Commission is concerned that the authority proposed to be conferred on the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff in clause 3 (subsection 18.5(3)), to issue instructions or guidelines in respect of particular military police investigations, would amount to legislatively authorized interference:

Missed Opportunities to Improve Oversight

In addition, the bill ignores opportunities for strengthening oversight of military policing which the Commission put forward in its “Brief to the Standing Committee on National Defence on Bill C‑7” in May 2006.

In that brief, the Commission outlined a number of specific amendments which would have significantly improved the legislation in respect of military policing oversight. These proposals included amendments which would:

Inconsistencies in French and English Versions of Part IV Remain

Finally, the Commission also remains concerned about a number of inconsistencies between the French and English versions of NDA Part IV. A few have been addressed in Bill C‑45, but a number of others remain outstanding. The Commission has identified the various linguistic inconsistencies in a document which it prepared for the First Independent Review of the legislation. Such inconsistencies in meaning can give rise to significant obstacles to implementing the will of Parliament.

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