Mr. Speaker, it is a real honour to be in the House today to speak to Bill C-46. I want to thank the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent. He provided some very important points to this House. I appreciate not only his passion and hard work for his constituents but also that he is standing up for Canadians.
Bill C-46 is evidence of another broken promise by the current Liberal government. It is another symbol of the top-down approach that the Prime Minister takes. He informs members of his caucus, of his party, that this is what he has decided to do and that this is what they will do, which is to have marijuana legalized as of Canada Day, with a great celebration. This member brought up that the Prime Minister has said that is what the Liberals will do and that they must support that position, that plan.
Recently, we saw what happens when members show some independence and represent the concerns of their constituents. They are kicked off committees or are disciplined severely, because they must assimilate and support the position of their leader. It is disappointing. That is not what Canadians were promised. They were promised transparency. They were promised that the government would be listening, truly consulting, and representing the concerns of Canadians, of the constituents. We saw a model of that being hammered down, where one member of the Liberal caucus who said, “I'm going to represent my constituents”, was severely punished.
I am proud to bring the voice of the constituents of my riding of Langley—Aldergrove. I love it. It is a beautiful part of Canada. I have consulted about this. I consulted with a unique group of people, young professionals on my youth advisory board, which is made up of students from grades 11 and 12, as well as university. These are our future leaders, so I asked them about impaired driving and the legalization of marijuana. The current government has a minister for youth who is the Prime Minister himself. He has said that he represents this age group. This age group is telling the Prime Minister and these Liberal members to slow down the process. They feel that it is being rushed and the government will not get it right.
I think of the old adage, haste makes waste. There is real truth in that, and we are seeing that played out by the Liberal government, which is hastily moving forward regardless of what it is hearing from Canadians, from the provinces, and from police chiefs. Overwhelmingly, the government is being told to slow the process down and that it is moving too fast because Canada is not ready for this, particularly with respect to Bill C-46. This is the legislation that the government, with great gusto, promised would make our roads safer. The Liberals said that they would not legalize marijuana until they first had legislation in place in Canada to make sure they keep our roads safe. They were going to get tough on impaired driving. That is anything but the truth, because they are not. What they are proposing will make our streets much less safe.
I have met a lot of people in my riding and have heard some tragic stories while representing my constituents. I met Victor and Markita Kaulius. Their daughter Kassandra was killed by a drunk driver not that long ago. They were devastated, as any parent would be. Whether it is a daughter, a son, a sibling, a spouse, a partner, it is devastating to lose someone. It is a normal part of every human being to want justice if that were to happen because of a criminal offence. Driving impaired and killing someone is the number one criminal offence in Canada. Therefore, Canadians are calling out for justice. Markita Kaulius became part of an organization across Canada that has sent literally tens of thousands of petitions to this House calling for a toughening of the Criminal Code of Canada.
The previous government, in the last Parliament, introduced legislation to toughen the impaired driving laws in Canada, to include mandatory minimum sentencing. It found that the sentences coming from the courts in Canada for impaired driving causing death were actually just fines. None got anywhere close to the maximum.
It suggested that impaired driving causing death be called what it is, vehicular homicide, and Families for Justice said it wanted mandatory minimums. They felt that, if someone knowingly drives a vehicle while impaired and kills someone, a first offence should be at least five years. Five years is actually one-third of that; it is about a year and a half. With statutory release, after one-third of a sentence people qualify to be released.
Families for Justice asked for five years. In the additional three and a half years after the initial one and half years of being locked up and receiving treatment and programs, people would be supervised to make sure they were not driving while impaired. It was very reasonable, and it is actually where Canadians are.
The last government said yes, and it introduced legislation. All the leaders running in the last election were asked if they would support the legislation, because there was not enough time to get it passed in the last Parliament. The Prime Minister wrote a letter to Markita Kaulius saying that he would support that.
Moving forward into this Parliament, that was another broken promise. The Prime Minister did not support that. There have been two pieces of legislation. One was a Conservative private member's bill, and one was a Liberal private member's bill. They were not good enough for him. He wanted to be in front, leading the parade on this, so those were shut down. We now have Bill C-46.
As per the promise the Prime Minister made to Markita Kaulius and to Families for Justice, in Bill C-46, there were to be mandatory minimum sentences. I was honoured to serve on the justice committee just recently in the study of Bill C-46, before it came back to the House. The Liberal government, as dictated by the Prime Minister's Office, said that we are going to get tough by increasing the maximum—and nobody gets the maximum. The guidelines to the courts, to provide discretion to the courts, said that on a first offence, people would receive at least a $1,000 fine for killing someone while driving impaired. For the second offence, the second time someone killed somebody while driving impaired, they would get 30 days in jail. Now with 30 days, one-third is 10 days. The third time someone killed somebody while driving impaired, they would get 120 days, which is 40 days.
I was flabbergasted when the Liberal members at the justice committee were defending that as being just. They said that five years, which is a year and half of incarceration, and dealing with the causes of why this person was driving impaired, is much too harsh. They wanted to give the courts discretion.
The courts are bound by precedents, previous rulings of the court. They need to have discretion, but they need guidance from this House. Canadians wonder why sentencing is so small, and why it does not represent what Canadians want. It is not our judges; it is the people sitting across the way. They are weak on crime.
Canadians want us to be tough on crime. They want fairness and justice, and they are not getting it from the Liberal government. Sadly, Bill C-46 is not even close to what Canadians want. It is another broken promise by the Liberal government, a top-down approach that will unfortunately leave our streets very unsafe. Marijuana-impaired, alcohol-impaired, and illegal drug-impaired driving will be a growing problem in Canada because of the government.