While Const. David Wynn’s widow is thrilled a bill named after her late husband passed second reading in Ottawa Wednesday, the way two local MPs voted was “difficult” for her.
Wynn’s Law passed second reading 154 to 128 in the House of Commons and will now be considered by a committee of the House before a third and final reading.
“I think I’m still in shock,” Shelley MacInnis-Wynn said Thursday.
She was in the House of Commons Wednesday and clapped and cried when the motion went ahead.
“We kind of went in there yesterday hoping for the best but being prepared for the worst,” she said. “It was a good day. It was an amazing day.”
The government has asked that the bill be studied and recommendations given.
“This is a huge step,” MacInnis-Wynn said. “This is exactly where we wanted it to be — that way it will be studied at the committee level and with the people who really know the system.”
Bill S-217 – also called Wynn’s Law – was put forward by Conservative MP Michael Cooper.
While the bill received support from some Liberals and NDP MPs, including Linda Duncan, two local MPs voted against it: Amarjeet Sohi and Randy Boissonnault.
“It was really sad that they would bring politics into this type of an issue because it really has nothing to do with that,” MacInnis-Wynn said.
“This is the safety of our country. The fact that our own minister of justice did not support this was very heartbreaking.
“It really is as simple as changing one word and it would possibly save another family of going through the heartache we’ve had to go through.”
Wynn was shot and killed at the Apex Casino in St. Albert in January 2015. He had been attempting to arrest a man wanted on warrants.
That individual, Shawn Rehn, had been out on bail despite having 30 outstanding charges and a lengthy criminal record. It was later discovered those previous offences had not been mentioned during his bail hearing.
Currently, it is not mandatory to disclose an assailant’s criminal history during a bail application. Wynn’s Law would alter the wording of the Criminal Code so a prosecutor would be required to provide that information to a judge.
Sohi said he shares MacInnis-Wynn’s grief. He said the government agrees with the objectives of Wynn’s Law but wants to see parole background checks handled as part of a comprehensive review of the justice system.
“We share the objective, we share the same goal. I think where we differ is the pathway forward,” Sohi said Thursday.
“We want to strengthen the parole system… We want to do a comprehensive review to deal with… many other areas that need to be strengthened in order to hold those who break the law accountable.”
Global News has reached out to Boissonnault for comment.
“They decided to, frankly, play politics with this issue,” Cooper said.
He added it was very good to see a number of non-Liberal MPs vote in favour of the bill.
“I expect the government is going to double down to try to discourage Liberal members from supporting it. So, I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, which is to reach out and keep fighting for this bill, because it’s the right thing to do [to] close this loophole.”
MacInnis-Wynn said she’s learned a lot about politics advocating for Wynn’s Law, visiting Ottawa and listening in at the House of Commons. She described the process as “interesting” but said Wednesday’s decision provided her with some relief.
“It was almost like a sense of peace,” she said. “Whether this had gone through or not yesterday, it was almost like: ‘You know what? We’ve done and fought and done whatever we could do.'”