Mr. Speaker, I stand today in this chamber and am pleased to speak for the first time as a re-elected member of Parliament for Yorkton—Melville. I and my fellow Saskatchewan caucus colleagues thank all our constituents for painting the province of Saskatchewan completely blue.
Bill C-3 actually mirrors Bill C-98, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Agency Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts. As we all know, the bill took so long to introduce that it was not passed prior to the 2019 federal election.
This legislation proposes to repurpose and rename the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to the “public complaints and review commission”. Under its new name, the commission will also be responsible for reviewing civilian complaints against the Canadian Border Services Agency. The bill would ensure that all Canadians law enforcement agencies would have an oversight body.
Canadians expect effective oversight of federal law enforcement agencies. The Liberals made a promise to do this in 2015.
During its previous mandate, the Liberal government took so long to act on this issue that Bill C-98 failed to be passed prior to the 2019 election.
The former Privy Council Office chief, Mel Cappe, had been hired to conduct an independent report and provide his recommendations in June 2017, which he did. However, it was only because of an access to information request by CBC News that Parliament even became aware of this report. For two years, the government and the then, and now no longer, public safety minister from Saskatchewan sat on that report.
We, who served in the previous Parliament, were counting down the days and nights until the session came to a close. Then, at the last possible moment, this rather straightforward and simple but essential legislation was finally introduced. Why did it take the previous majority Liberal government three and a half years to draft and introduce Bill C-98 to the House? In the eleventh hour, it was too late to deal with such a critical promise that impacted public safety.
The Liberals' poor management and bad decision-making impacted RCMP officers, who had to be deployed and dedicated to dealing with illegal border crossings. They were pulled from other details, from monitoring returned ISIS fighters, tackling organized crime. They were pulled from rural detachments, where the RCMP is already short staffed and dealing with an increase in rural crime. The claim that there are more police available in rural Canada is not true, a statement made and not followed through on.
When the Liberal majority government was ineptly unable to keep an election promise at the eleventh hour, so as to not appear to have broken even more promises, it meant an even longer wait, through the whole election process, through the weeks of delay before the House was finally called back by the Prime Minister to sit just before Christmas for a short time only to go into the winter break. Here we finally are today in a second attempt to get the job done of Bill C-3.
The government has been plagued by inefficiency and lack of foresight since the beginning of its first mandate, further hamstringed by one ethical breach after another, through brazen attitudes of entitlement, to the foolish boldness of demanding and coercing our independent justice system and principled people to bow to executive power.
Just this past week we have seen the frightening fallout of the government putting their friends ahead of good governance: A violent man sentenced to life in prison in 2006 for viciously murdering his wife was granted day parole in the fall of 2019. His case manager indicated a moderate risk of reoffending and he was to avoid relationships but could have encounters with women, as long as it was strictly sexual. As a result, a young woman lost her life.
Who in their right mind would create the environment for any woman to be put in harm's way like this? Ex-parole board commissioner Dave Blackburn stated that “such a condition is 'unbelievable'”.
The Liberal government has to take responsibility for a foolish decision it made in 2015 to not renew any parole board appointees, purely a political decision that removed all historical experience from the board and replaced them all, through the Privy Council, with Liberal appointees.
I believe the desk will be pleased, Mr. Speaker, to hear I will be splitting my time with the member for Kootenay—Columbia.
Since then, there has been a more than 25% increase in the awarding of day parole in Canada. This is ridiculous. Canadians have no faith that an internal inquiry will get to the bottom of the incompetence that falls on the Liberal government. An external inquiry of the national Parole Board must take place. The government does not have credibility when it comes to dealing with its own self-serving, intentional mistakes.
As well, we know the delay in bringing forward this legislation was not due in any way to so many consultations. As a matter of fact, again and again, we have heard from stakeholders that they were not consulted. From what I have heard today on the floor, that has not changed.
This legislation proposes changes to the Canada Border Services Agency, yet the Customs and Immigration Union was never contacted. This is another blatant inconsistency by the government. On one end, there was no consultation. On the other, there was the virtue signalling of setting up advisory councils for our veterans but doing nothing other than giving a platform for photo ops and the appearance of consultation before the reveal.
The fact that the Liberal government could not be bothered to consult the biggest stakeholders, the union representatives of the CBSA front-line workers, says it is not about the workers. It appears the Liberals feel they can pick and choose which unions they are going to give special treatment to while others are totally ignored.
Conservative members will work with the government in the interests of the principles of the bill, but rest assured we want to make sure that the people impacted are part of the committee review process. We want to ensure that proper committee time is taken to look at the changes to the RCMP Act and the CBSA Act, and make sure we are doing a service to the people who will be impacted by them, whether it is on a public complaints process or other elements.
As good as this policy is, it needs good government to implement it, not a government consistently mired in scandal that loses track of its responsibilities and then, concerned about its re-election, attempts to rush this legislation through irresponsibly. It does not need a government that is so out of touch that it fails to consult with the Canadians who would be impacted.
The government's approach demonstrates a complete lack of accountability, care and respect for Canadians. There is unrest across western Canada that must not be ignored. I would warn that we must no longer be fuelled by intentional actions that encourage that unrest instead of building consensus and recognizing and celebrating healthy interdependence across our amazing country.
Our nation, and all people of Canada, deserve a government that legislates responsibly, respectfully and with the best interests of all Canadians in mind. I look forward to the day we form that government.