The Public Safety Minister, responding to the NDP’s Joe Comartin during QP yesterday.
Mr. Speaker, I do respect my colleague opposite but I know that he comes from a long and distinguished career of defending criminals, as a defence criminal lawyer. Our perception is a little bit different.
After howls of complaint from the opposition side of the House, Mr. Toews allowed that Mr. Comartin had pursued an “honourable profession.”
Glen McGregor notes a couple of defence lawyers the Harper government seems to respect. Mr. Comartin discussed the matter with reporters after QP.
I was offended because it was an attack on the Criminal Law Bar. The reality of my own career, I only practised criminal law for about seven years at the start of my career. The rest of my career was in the courts but it was in the civil courts doing family law where I acted for a great number of victims of crimes, domestic violence in particular. And then I acted as a civil defence lawyer in personal injury areas and other types of litigation. So he was wrong about that.
That’s not why I was angry. I was angry because this was an insult to the defence lawyers in this country who provide an absolutely essential service to our criminal justice system. If they are not there, our system doesn’t function. And for him to attack them just in a blanket way the way he did, that’s where I was angry. It was unfair, it was unwarranted and it’s inaccurate.