Tilson thankful for passage of private member’s bill on war memorials
OTTAWA, ON – David Tilson, Member of Parliament for Dufferin-Caledon, today expressed thanks to his fellow MPs for the final passage through the House of Commons of his Private Members’ Bill, C-217, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (mischief relating to war memorials).
“I’m pleased at the outcome of this vote. It was vandalism done to the Orangeville cenotaph 2008 that was the original impetus for this and now it’s one step closer to becoming law,” said Mr. Tilson. “We owe it to our fallen sons and daughters and also to our men and women still serving in uniform to protect these honoured places – especially at this time of year as we approach Remembrance Day.”
Prior to the vote, during Question Period today, Mr. Tilson asked the Minister of Veterans Affairs the following:
“Mr. Speaker, in the coming weeks Canadians across the country will celebrate and remember our country’s veterans. We must never forget the sacrifices made by those who selflessly served Canada in defence of our core values and freedoms.
Canada’s war memorials are sacred ground. Sadly, there are those who would desecrate these monuments to our veterans. This is unacceptable to this Government and to all law-abiding Canadians.
Can the Minister of Veterans Affairs please inform this House about the Government’s position on Bill C-217, which specifically addresses mischief related to war memorials?”
The Minister replied that the Government felt that C-217 was indeed a necessary piece of legislation and that he urged all MPs to support it.
Immediately following Question Period, Bill C-217 was passed at 3rd and final reading on a free vote by a margin of 181 to 98, with all of the Official Opposition New Democratic Party MPs voting against the legislation. All Conservative and Liberal Party MPs supported Mr. Tilson’s bill. It will now proceed to the Senate for further study.
C-217 seeks to impose a fine of not less than $1,000 for a first offense on anyone convicted of mischief relating to a war memorial, cenotaph or other structure designed to remember those who have died as a result of war. A second offense would carry a minimum prison term of 14 days and a third or subsequent offense would carry a minimum of 30 days in prison.