Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

On December 15, 2010, Governor General David Johnston gave Royal Assent to Bill C-464: An Act To Amend the Criminal Code (justification for detention in custody), making it law in Canada. The private member's bill was introduced by MP Scott Andrews of Newfoundland last fall after he saw "Dear Zachary" at a March 2009 screening in Ottawa and decided to do something about what he saw. The bill has added an amendment to Canada's criminal code giving courts the right to refuse bail to someone charged with a serious crime who is deemed a potential danger to children under the age of 18.

Bill C-464 was introduced in the House of Commons on October 22, 2009, passed the House of Commons unanimously on March 22nd of this year and passed the Senate of Canada last Thursday, December 9th, where it was sponsored by Senator Tommy Banks of Alberta. This marks the first time in history an MP from Newfoundland has been able to get a private member's bill through Parliament; since 2001, 2,510 Private Member's Bills have been introduced in the House of Commons, but only 23 - less than 1% - have received Royal Assent.

I extend my deepest thanks and greatest respect to MP Scott Andrews, his associate Ken Carter, Senator Tommy Banks, his executive assistant Thérèse Gauthier, MP Peter Stoffer, Senator Anne Cools, Gord McIntosh and everyone in Parliament who saw across party lines to support this bill's passage into law. Amending Canada's bail code was my goal in releasing "Dear Zachary" publicly; it is my pleasure to announce that goal is now a reality.

- Kurt Kuenne

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