Great. Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to all of our witnesses.
As we deal with what is a very important bill, I do know, from some of the background, some of the rationale behind the imposition of mandatory minimum penalties. Some of these penalties have been with us for a very long time, including many that are being repealed whose origins trace back to the 1970s. Please know that at times it's our job as parliamentarians to put into place laws that we feel provide balance for the justice system, balancing the seriousness of the offence with the protection of our communities and the input from victims and their families.
Ms. Samson from municipal affairs, you're a strategic adviser, a former mayor in the Montreal area and former head of public security in Montreal, so you certainly can speak with a lot of experience. I don't know if you saw a certain recent article, but your testimony made me think of it. Recently, we saw that people were using drones to try to bring handguns into Canada. That's what we're hearing from our expert testimony—namely, that a lot of the firearms that are being used criminally are in fact illegal firearms brought in from outside the country.
Unfortunately, in an effort to deal with gang and gun crime, we see the government, number one, cracking down on law-abiding citizens, and then, number two, providing softer sentences for firearms crime. Some of these are serious weapons offences: weapons trafficking, extortion with a firearm and robbery with a firearm. I fail to see, as one of the witnesses just mentioned, how someone could without intent commit robbery or extortion with a firearm or traffic a firearm.
Be that as it may, you have called on the Prime Minister to take action to curb gun violence, and you mentioned the lack of respect for life, the feeling of impunity among street gang members, who are favoured among other things by the laxity of the laws in Canada. You've already, as someone with a lot of experience, found that there is an impunity. What do you think the criminal element will make of our weakening the laws when it comes to gun crime?