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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-02-26 13:11 [p.25789]
Mr. Speaker, let me contrast the member's statements to reality. The reality of this legislation is far from what the Conservatives are trying to tell Canadians and others who are trying to follow this debate.
Let us be very clear in terms of what this legislation will do. It will make our communities safer. It will ensure that there are fewer victims. It will also ensure that there is accountability for those individuals who are breaking our laws.
In this contrast between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party, there is a significant difference in approach in dealing with the crime and safety file.
The Conservative Party likes to sound as if it takes a really tough position on crime and safety, and that has not necessarily proven to be the case. Conservatives have the spin, and they are very good at the spin. I give them full credit for that. However, it takes away from their ability to be able to deal with the issue when they take the position of voting against this particular bill. By doing that, the Conservatives are in fact voting against what I believe is in the best interests of the communities we serve. We all want to have safer communities, fewer victims, and accountability.
Let me give the House a specific example of what I am talking about in the rhetoric that comes from the Conservative Party. The speaker before me made reference to Terri-Lynne McClintic. We are all very familiar with that particular file. This is the individual who was involved in horrific criminal activities and the murder of a child, among many other things.
Members will recall that the Conservative members jumped over their seats, hollering and screaming about how the government dared to allow this particular individual to go into a medium-security facility, a place with no fence, a healing lodge. I can recall, as I am sure people who follow the debates of the House will recall, the type of verbiage coming out of the Conservative Party. It was all hype, and I do not say that lightly. Very horrific things events happened, and we saw members of the Conservative Party actually stand in their place and remind Canadians of just how horrific those actions were.
The government said it would look into the matter and that it would report back to the House. The government, through the leadership of the minister, in fact rectified the problem.
However, what I found interesting was that the very same sort of criminal activity that was causing the Conservatives to jump out of their seats and be critical of the government for not acting on had occurred on numerous occasions under Stephen Harper. Why did the Conservatives not care about those individuals, the criminals who were child molesters and killers? Instead, under Stephen Harper, those criminals were transferred, and some went to healing lodges.
We are not talking about one or two or three people; we are talking about a number of those individuals. The Conservatives had no problem being quiet on the issue back then. They did not raise it once while they were in government. However, they have a different approach in opposition.
I will give them credit. They are a pretty decent opposition party. They are pretty good at it. They know how to really ramp things up.
As I pointed out yesterday, I was in opposition for far too many years. I hope to see the Conservative opposition continue to be in opposition for many, many more years, maybe as many years as I was in opposition if we combine the provincial and federal levels.
I suggest that the bill will have a positive impact on all of our communities. The Conservatives believe that once a criminal goes into jail, that person is a real, superbad person in all cases and is going to be in jail for a long time. They do not believe in the importance of rehabilitation. They do not recognize that.
The reality is that a majority of the individuals who are going in are in fact going to be going out. If we can provide better rehabilitation programs within the prison system for that majority, there will be a greater likelihood that crimes will be prevented when offenders exit our prisons.
That is consistently overlooked by the Conservative Party, and that is unfortunate. This legislation is going to include the provision of additional health and other services, which will ultimately allow many prisoners to be assimilated into our communities in a better way. That is important to me and the constituents I represent, because we know that a majority of offenders are going to be leaving prison.
There are other aspects of the legislation, such as the body scanner. Maybe the Conservatives have singled that aspect out as a positive thing. I would like to think they have. It would ensure that there are fewer drugs entering, and that searches are less invasive when people visit or enter the prison. We have provincial facilities that already have it. This will allow it to occur in our national facilities.
There is another aspect that I would like to draw attention to, and that is the audio. Under the current law, if a person who committed a sexual assault is going before a board hearing, often the victims will attend because they want to listen in on that board hearing. If victims choose to do that, then they are not eligible to receive the audio recording of what took place.
Under this legislation, victims will be able to receive the audio whether they attend or not. I am sure people can imagine the situation for a victim of being in that room. They can imagine what might be going through the victim's mind, and they can understand that the victim is not necessarily at a stage where he or she can fully digest everything that is being said. That is one of the reasons, if not the primary reason, why victims would want to see this aspect of our law changed. This legislation incorporates that.
I spoke to the legislation at second reading and encouraged individuals to get involved by looking at the legislation. The minister indicated that he is open to improving the legislation. At the committee stage we saw many amendments brought forward, and they were not only government amendments. We had opposition party amendments, and even the leader of the Green Party brought in amendments. Not only were a number of those amendments brought in by opposition members, but they were also accepted.
The legislation we have today is even better than it was prior to going to committee, which speaks volumes as to how effective a standing committee can be if we take some of the partisanship out and people focus on improving legislation.
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