Saturday, November 03, 2012

Library of Parliament Paper on Criminal Charges and Parliamentarians

The Library of Parliament recently released a paper in its "In Brief" series on Criminal Charges and Parliamentarians. The series consits of short briefings prepared by the Parliamentary Information and Research Service on current issues.
"In Canada, all citizens are subject to the ordinary laws of general application, both criminal and civil. There is no exemption for parliamentarians, nor is there any immunity or special rights that accrue to parliamentarians, outside of the limited application of parliamentary privilege."

"Whenever a member of the Senate or the House of Commons is charged or convicted of a criminal offence, questions invariably arise as to the effect of such charges and convictions on the person’s right to continue as a member of the Senate or the House."

"The laying of a criminal charge against a member of the Senate or the House of Commons has no effect in terms of his or her eligibility to remain in office. Even if convicted, a parliamentarian will automatically lose his or her seat only if sentenced to a term of imprisonment of two years or more, pursuant to section 750 of the Criminal Code (until 3 September 1996, a parliamentarian had to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment exceeding five years before automatically losing his or her seat). In other cases, however, relying on parliamentary privilege, the Senate or the House could take action to expel the member."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:48 pm

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