Tilsons's Bill Passes Senate Committee
OTTAWA, ON – David Tilson, Member of Parliament for Dufferin-Caledon, was pleased with the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs as last evening it passed his Private Members Bill protecting war memorials and cenotaphs, Bill C-217.
“I appeared before the Committee two weeks ago to defend my bill and I’m grateful to the Senators for their work on this legislation,” said Mr. Tilson. “Protecting our war memorials and cenotaphs from vandalism and desecration is very important, especially to our veterans and members of the Canadian Forces.”
During his appearance, Mr. Tilson was joined by Orangeville Legion Branch #233 Sergeant-at-Arms Chris Skalozub and retired Colonel Andrew Nellestyn of the Ottawa area. Both men made impassioned statements on the need to strengthen the penalties for this profoundly disrespectful offence.
“I was honoured to have these two veterans appear with me. It drove home the seriousness of this issue,” said Mr. Tilson. “Our veterans and Canadian Forces members look upon such acts of desecration as a grave personal attack.”
C-217 adds significant penalties to anyone convicted of mischief against a war memorial, cenotaph or similar structure designed to honour those who have died as a result of war. A minimum fine of $1,000 would be imposed for a first offense, with a two week jail term for a second offense and a thirty day jail term for third and subsequent offenses.
The Liberal Senators on the Committee attempted to gut the Bill by introducing amendments designed to remove the mandatory minimum fine. It is anticipated the Bill will begin 3rd and final reading in the Senate at some point next week.