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St Albert MP predicts more months of delays in erasing ‘zombie laws’

Bret McCann, surrounded by family, speaks to the media after Travis Vader is found guilty of second degree murder in the death of McCann's parents, St. Albert couple Lyle and Marie McCann. September 15, 2016.
Bret McCann, surrounded by family, speaks to the media after Travis Vader is found guilty of second degree murder in the death of McCann's parents, St. Albert couple Lyle and Marie McCann. September 15, 2016. Dave Carels, Global News

A constitutional cleanup of the Criminal Code is still several months away, according to the MP for St. Albert, as frustration grows for the family of Lyle and Marie McCann.

Michael Cooper is having trouble understanding why the bill that would clear out so-called zombie laws is still being held up.

“It’s really a mystery as to why the Liberals continue to delay passing the bill.”

READ MORE: Bret McCann and Alberta MP frustrated feds haven’t removed outdated parts of Criminal Code

They’ve rolled the bill that was introduced after Bret McCann and Cooper held a news conference in December of 2016 in St. Albert into another piece of legislation: Bill C-75.

Cooper, in a telephone interview from Ottawa, said things have been stuck on first reading on the original bill for more than a year.

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“The government could have passed it on the day that it was introduced,” he said.

“It is frustrating that our government cannot seem to address the zombie law issue, which should really be just a straight-forward housekeeping item,” McCann said in a tweet.

Bill C-75 is described by Cooper as “a massive, 300-plus page omnibus bill,” that he opposes but not because of the zombie law repeal.

READ MORE: Bret McCann calls for changes to Criminal Code following Travis Vader verdict

“It’s a controversial bill. It’s likely going to take months before it gets through both the House of Commons and the Senate and it virtually guarantees there’s going to be further delay in doing something that should have been done more than a year ago.”

Watch below: Feds expected to remove ‘zombie laws’ from Criminal Code

Feds expected to remove ‘zombie laws’ from Criminal Code
Feds expected to remove ‘zombie laws’ from Criminal Code

Edmonton-Centre MP, Randy Boissonnault, the caucus chair for Alberta, said in a statement that Bill C-75 will be voted on at second reading after another five hours of debate.

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“I look forward to supporting this legislation at second reading and studying it at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice.

“I share the McCann family’s concern that this bill becomes law as soon as possible.”

Cooper said clearing out sections of the Criminal Code that were struck down by the Supreme Court should be as simple as hitting a delete button on your computer.

READ MORE: Bret McCann ‘flabbergasted’ at judge’s apparent mistake in Travis Vader conviction

On Sept. 15, 2016, Section 230 was cited by Justice Denny Thomas when he convicted Travis Vader of second-degree murder in the 2010 deaths of the McCanns.

That section looks at “murder in commission of offences,” meaning that a murder was committed while committing or attempting to commit another criminal offence under the Criminal Code — including robbery.

However, portions of Section 230 were ruled unconstitutional more than 25 years ago (making them moot, dead, or “zombie laws”).

“What happened to the McCann family is powerful example of the confusion created by retaining defunct laws in our statutes,” Boissonnault said. “Our government is committed to dealing with this issue facing our justice system.”

Watch below: Federal government takes aim at ‘zombie laws’

Federal government takes aim at “zombie laws”
Federal government takes aim at “zombie laws”