November 30, 2016 7:31 pm
Updated: November 30, 2016 7:59 pm

Liberals putting ‘partisan politics ahead of public safety’ by opposing Wynn’s Law: Alberta MP

WATCH ABOVE: A Conservative MP is accusing the Liberals of "partisan politics" because of their objections to a bill dubbed "Wynn's Law" in honour of a slain Alberta Mountie. If passed, the legislation would require the Crown to disclose the criminal history of the accused at a bail hearing. Nancy Carlson has more.


A Conservative MP expressed his disappointment Wednesday after debate over a bill dubbed “Wynn’s Law” in honour of a slain Alberta Mountie was postponed until spring.

Bill S-217, also known as “Wynn’s Law,” has been championed by St. Albert – Edmonton MP Michael Cooper and later sponsored by Senator Bob Runciman. It would require the Crown to disclose the criminal history of an accused at a bail hearing.

READ MORE: Alberta Mountie’s widow makes impassioned plea for changes to Criminal Code at Ottawa hearing

Watch below: On June 16, 2016, Shelley Wynn, whose late husband was an RCMP constable killed in the line of duty, delivered what one senator referred to as “perhaps the strongest testimony we have ever heard” to change the Criminal Code.

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The legislation was proposed in the wake of the January 2015 shooting death of 42-year-old RCMP Const. David Wynn, who was killed in the line of duty while investigating a stolen vehicle complaint at the Apex Casino in St. Albert, Alta.

READ MORE: Alberta RCMP officer involved in weekend shooting dies

During second reading of the bill in the House of Commons Tuesday night, the debate over the legislation went over the allowable time after Cooper said Sean Casey, the Liberal government’s parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice, expressed his party’s opposition to the law.

“It is disappointing that the Liberals have decided to put partisan politics ahead of public safety,” Cooper said in Wednesday’s statement. “It is common-sense that the criminal history of an accused should be presented at a bail hearing. Yet under the Criminal Code, it is discretionary for prosecutors to present this vital information. Wynn’s Law closes this loophole – a loophole that cost Constable Wynn his life.”

READ MORE: St. Albert MP pushes forward ‘Dave Wynn’s Law’ one year after constable’s murder

The Liberals argued they were concerned the law could result in court delays and that the justice system isn’t set up to be able to have all of that information available. However, the party did more broadly express support for decision-makers having all relevant information they need to make timely decisions about who should be released on bail.

The NDP expressed support for “Wynn’s Law.”

Shawn Rehn, the man who fired the shots that killed Wynn, was out on bail at the time and it was later determined his prior offences had not been mentioned during his bail hearing. Rehn was later found dead at a nearby residence.

Documents revealed Rehn had been released on bail as recently as Sept. 13, 2014. He was facing over a dozen charges at the time, including possessing stolen property, possessing a controlled substance, possessing a prohibited firearm and escaping lawful custody.

Bill S-217 was first introduced by Ontario Senator Bob Runciman earlier this year and passed in the Senate last month.

Cooper argued the Liberals provided no compelling reason for expressing opposition or concern with the bill.

“This should not be a partisan issue,” he said. “I will continue to lobby backbench Liberal MPs to do the right thing, and help pass ‘Wynn’s Law.'”

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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