Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to join my friend, the hon. MP for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, in this important debate with respect to Bill C-83 and sentencing in Canada.
It concerns me that the government, like on many things, has a communications plan rather than a plan to actually lead, and this is an example. In fact, the deputy House leader for the Liberals is referring to a report from the Commissioner of Correctional Service Canada that was provided to the government just mere minutes before a protest on Parliament Hill, which was organized by people from the community of Tori Stafford, the young woman who was killed by Terri-Lynne McClintic and her partner.
We have seen the comments from Rodney Stafford, her father, and the outrage with the transfer of Ms. McClintic to a healing lodge in Saskatchewan. However, just in time for this protest, the Liberals have the report. Members will recall that they defended this decision and in fact their recently appointed commissioner defended the decision herself. Her decision was wrong, and it is up to ministers of the government to recognize that. I am hoping the commissioner is listening to my remarks, because I will inform her why I think the decision was wrong.
I have not read her report today. I am working off her comments after defending the decision to sort of support the government's inaction. I will use the government's own material to prove my point.
I learned a lot about restorative justice principles in law school at Dalhousie and restorative justice can be used in certain circumstances. However, the case of Ms. McClintic is not one of those. In fact, her own family has questioned whether she is of indigenous background.
However, leaving that aside, on the website of the Department of Justice, it says that the first principle of restorative justice recognizes “Crime is Fundamentally a Violation of People and Interpersonal Relationships...Victims and the community have been harmed and are in need of restoration.”
It starts with a reflection on the victim. In this case, the victim, Tori Stafford, a child, was lured away by Ms. McClintic and horribly killed. I do not want to get into the details. They have been recounted several times. However, restorative justice starts with an examination of the victim and the crime. This is the worst crime. The victim and her family have suffered the most horrendous circumstances imaginable under our Criminal Code. This is not a crime of poverty or circumstance. This was a premeditated act. The vision of Ms. McClintic luring young Tori Stafford away was caught on videotape. It is seared in the minds of people from that part of Ontario. The ministers involved here should review that tape and the file. The Commissioner of Correctional Service Canada should review it as well.
As a primer, they can look at the Department of Justice's own materials on restorative justice. They should also look to section 718 of the Criminal Code, which outlines sentencing and the sentencing principles and purpose. I invite all Canadians to read it. This is the underpinning of our justice system, particularly when it comes to a crime committed against one Canadian by another, and in this case, a child.
The purpose of sentencing is found in section 718 of the Criminal Code. Some of my Liberal friends in the House are lawyers. They may think back to criminal law at law school. I refer them back there. I refer the commissioner there as well.
What are the purposes of sentencing? First is denunciation of conduct. The killing of a child deserves the highest denunciation possible. Second is deterrence, deterrence for the worst of crimes, violence against other people in our civilized society. Separation of offenders is the third purpose, which is for the protection of the public, when someone involved with the worst of crimes should be a high priority. The fourth is rehabilitation. That is where we want to not give up on anyone. The fifth is reparation, which is to make amends to the victims and the people impacted. The final purpose of sentencing is promotion of responsibility.
Ms. McClintic is responsible for her role in the death of Tori Stafford. She should be making reparations, both on a restorative level and on a Criminal Code level, for that crime. She must be separated from the public for her involvement in the worst of crimes.
We must have deterrence and we must have denunciation. In the worst of crimes, those take precedence over rehabilitation. Those take precedence over transferring someone to a healing lodge. A healing lodge is really designed for restorative justice principles for people who have committed crimes because of their circumstance in life, because of poverty, or because of higher instances of incarceration of indigenous peoples. I support healing lodges, but not for child murderers.
Let us continue from section 718 of the Criminal Code to sections 718.1 and 718.2. It begins with the principle that a sentence must be proportionate to the nature of the offence. I remind everyone, and the commissioner of corrections, that this is the worst crime our society faces. There is no need for a balancing test.
In my view, the proportionate nature of the offence means that Ms. McClintic should serve her entire sentence in a maximum-security prison. Certainly the restorative healing lodge approach, generally saved for indigenous offenders, should not be available for first and second degree murder cases. This should be a policy that is brought to the chamber immediately. That is what Canadians expect.
There is no way under the Criminal Code, under Justice Canada's principles of restorative justice that could defend the transfer of Ms. McClintic to a healing lodge. There is no way to defend it. What is more troubling than the decision itself, and the Liberals' shell game of having a report from the commissioner show up on the day that people are protesting on Parliament Hill, is that this is another example of a government that is actually impotent to act. There is an organization chart. The minister is at the top of that department. The Prime Minister is responsible for each minister. We see countless cases where there is an inability to take action and acknowledge errors made by departments.
The Statistics Canada stats grab that is going on right now, which Canadians find obscene, is when the minister responsible should say “Statistics Canada, hands off.” When Veterans Affairs finds out that a convicted murderer who developed PTSD from killing a police officer in Nova Scotia, a murderer who never served, is receiving funding that is for our veterans, that is a mistake and it should be rectified. Ms. McClintic is probably the best example of a mistake that should be rectified. There is no excuse for it.
I would like the commissioner of corrections to go through the same analysis I just did, Section 718 of the Criminal Code and the principles of restorative justice, and give me one reason why Ms. McClintic should be transferred to a healing lodge. It is time for the Liberals to step up and show some leadership. Our job in the House as the loyal opposition is to bring the concerns of Canadians to this Parliament. In fact, I applaud the Canadians who were braving the rain and cold today to bring their outrage in the transfer of Ms. McClintic to the steps of Parliament Hill.
The trouble is that we have Liberal government ministers who are impotent to act. They act like they are powerless. It is because the job, the image and the car mean more to them than the actual responsibility they have. In this case, it is undermining confidence in our judicial system, in our corrections system. I have yet to see one iota of a response to why this should happen. The Liberals should take ownership, remove Ms. McClintic and ban any further transfers of anyone who took a life to a healing lodge like this.