House of Commons Hansard #122 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was records.

Topics

Prisons And Reformatories Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

An hon. member

A tea party.

Prisons And Reformatories Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Prisons And Reformatories Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Boy, that certainly got some heckling going from the opposite side, did it not? They certainly dislike to hear that type of reasoning.

Prisons And Reformatories Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Vaudreuil, QC

Name me one Canadian who wants to go to jail.

Prisons And Reformatories Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

The parliamentary secretary for the minister of justice is spouting off saying, name me one Canadian who wants to go to jail. I am sure we could come up with a long list of repeat offenders. Is he perhaps indicating that there are no repeat offenders in the country? There is a growing list of repeat offenders. Why are there so many repeat offenders if jail provides a real deterrence?

Would my hon. colleague from Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca like to comment on the reality that as long as we continue to send people to jail to shoot pool, play golf, eat steak on Saturday, there is not much deterrence? That is the viewpoint of a growing number of Canadians. Whether or not the Liberals want to recognize that, it is the reality in the real world.

Prisons And Reformatories Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Prince George-Peace River who, with his colleague from Prince George-Bulkley Valley, has shown a longstanding, intense interest in the justice system. He has put forward some very good solutions. He has worked very hard on the issue and knows of what he speaks. He spends a lot of time in his riding and in other ridings speaking about the justice system. He has done a commendable job in this House in lending expertise to this issue.

A new jail was built in his area. Each cell in that jail cost $175,000. He is quite correct that, contrary to what some of the government members say, there are some individuals who do not mind being in jail. Quite frankly, there is very little deterrence to being in jail for these individuals.

There are four nice meals a day, better than they would be getting were they out. There are a number of options that they would never have outside the jail. That is one of the reasons why the Canadian public feel aggrieved.

They say: "Why are people who are incarcerated getting better treatment than we are outside? I am part of the working poor. I am slogging away. I have to put my kids through school and be taxed to death. I have to pay my medical, yet somebody who commits an atrocious crime goes into jail and gets all this free". There is no penalty, no responsibility and no deterrence.

We are not saying that individuals should not have proper medical care, treatment and counselling in jail. However, they should put their backs into paying for it. One solution that has come from this party is the sensible solution of restitution. There should be restitution to society and also to the institution so that in turn these people can contribute to paying for the cost of their incarceration which for a juvenile can be approximately $90,000 a year and for an adult approximately $60,000 a year.

This bill is dumping, pure and simple. It is an economic bill that dumps people out of jail and on to the streets. The cost will be the safety of the Canadian people. It is not a sensible bill.

As my colleague for Prince George-Peace River stated, the government has not brought forward any sensible solutions for deterrence and no sensible solutions for alternative measures. These people must know that committing a crime is not a pleasurable thing and that they will pay a penalty. There must be a significant element of deterrence put into the system for those who commit crimes.

Since we are a sensible, balanced party, we are putting forward constructive, sensible, economically feasible solutions for restitution and rehabilitation.

We are not in any way, ever going to compromise the health, welfare or safety of Canadians. The bill does just that by dumping these people out on the streets.

Prisons And Reformatories Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed listing to my colleague from Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca. He has a pretty good handle on some of the problems regarding the fact that there are a lot of repeat offenders in the system.

I had the opportuntiy of visiting a maximum security prison about two years ago in Edmonton. It is the top level of the prison service, maximum security. There are a lot of social workers, psychiatrists and psychologists working with inmates to try to bring about some rehabilitation.

As a bit of background, about 75 per cent to 80 per cent of the people in the prison at the time of my visit were repeat offenders, returned after having served sentences in the past. However, the prison officials were trying to rehabilitate these people and that is very commendable.

However, at the same time we understood there was a drug problem in the prison. They were trying to rehabilitate prisoners from drug abuse at the same time that drugs were coming into the prison. That simply does not work. The warden of the prison admitted that there was a big problem. He said the drugs came in through conjugal visits, but I suspect it is more than that. Maybe some of the prison staff may be involved. However, it is ironic that we are trying to rehabilitate prisoners for drug abuse at the same time drugs are getting into the maximum security prisons.

My colleague said that he has worked a little in the prisons in his capacity as a doctor. I wonder what his ideas would be on how to correct the problem so that we could get back to rehabilitation, which is really what the prisoners deserve.

Prisons And Reformatories Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague for Peace River has hit the nail on the head about a very important problem that is affecting prisons across the country, one which the men and women who work in our prison systems are finding increasingly difficult to deal with, and that is the huge problem of active drug use within the prison system and also the fact that individuals who have drug and alcohol problems are not receiving treatment.

As part of their incarceration, as part of the condition for release, individuals must take counselling for drug and alcohol problems. Also, there should be significant penalties for individuals who smuggle and use drugs and alcohol in the prisons. All they receive right now is a slap on the wrist and that is not adequate.

Contrary to the belief of some social thinkers, deterrence does work to some extent. If people know they are going to be faced with something a little more severe than a slap on the wrist, then they would think twice about doing this.

The solution is for these individuals to have their sentences extended as summary justice for committing these criminal acts while in jail.

Prisons And Reformatories Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-53. It gives me no pleasure to address bills like this when I think about what the government's first priority is supposed to be. Government was formed on one principle: to look after the safety and well-being of its citizens at all times and at all costs.

We have had only two basic governments in this country: Liberal and Conservative. Through time both of these governments, working hand in hand, because there really is no difference in them, have come up with programs such as this piece of garbage. They put these programs forward for the safety and well-being of Canadian taxpaying citizens. That totally goes against the reason for government: the safety and well-being of its citizens. I wish those governments could understand that. They cannot. They have not for years.

Reformers talk to the people. Like our Prime Minister we do not talk to imaginary friends. We talk to the people out there who pay the bills. They own this chair. I do not own this chair.

The reason we are standing here today to discuss this is basically the safety and well-being of Canadian citizens. Because of bills such as this, which have been put forward by both Liberal and Conservative governments, people out there are starting to live by the law of the jungle, not by the law of the land. They live in fear.

Government members may joke about it, but it is a fact. Elderly people are afraid to go out at night to get a loaf of bread. Government members think that is a joke. They think that because people are now starting to live in walled communities in order to be safe is a joke. It is a joke to this great sharing, caring Liberal

government. Government members do not pay attention to what is going on in the real world.

Government members have three basic functions in the House: keep your mouth closed; do what you are told to do; and do not step out of line. For the little bit of gratitude you get, you will be able to sit in the front seat or be able to get your nomination papers signed.

Let us take a look at this. We could go through the whole system of sentencing; truth in sentencing.

At one time when you were given 10 years, 12 years, 15 years, you got 10, 12 or 15 years. That was it. Then along came the bleeding hearts. They say: "This is not good enough. Somebody who murders should not have to do 20 or 25 years. Gosh, they only took a life. They only left a number of orphans. They only left some widows. That is nothing. We do not know them. We will change the system. We will put in a faint hope clause. We will allow them the opportunity to get out, maybe, in eight years. We will give them something to look forward to, you bet, to go out and reoffend". This is what we run into in this country. We run into a system where we see the bills from this great government. What for? For cleaning needles so that prisoners can have drugs without being infected in a prison. They cannot control the drugs in their own prison. What the heck is going on here? Where has reality gone? With the red book down the toilet. There is absolutely no doubt about that.

They say that nobody wants to go back to prison. There are people who make that their first home and have made it their first home for a number of years. They forget what it is like to be on the outside.

I really do not want to talk about prisoners so much here. I want to talk about the honest, law-abiding, hard working taxpaying citizen of this country who absolutely gets no protection from this government. How many people do we hear about who are working at the 7-Elevens or the gas stations where an armed robber walks in, holds them up, shoots them, paralizes them and puts them in a wheelchair for the rest of their lives? What do you do with them? You stick them in a corner and forget all about them. There is no system in place for these people, but there certainly is for the person who pulled that trigger or stuck them with a knife. You have all the sympathy in the world for that, do you not?

What about the young children who have to grow up without a mother or a father? There is nothing in place for them, is there? No, but there sure is for the person who made them that way. There is every kind of sympathy you can think of, like re-education. We have our own children out there who cannot afford to go to university, but we will supply university programs. We will do that for the prisoners. You bet we will, but not for the honest law-abiding child who wants to get a better education. No.

We will give them free medical, the best that can be. We have people out there who would love to be able to have medical attention, but no. What do we do? We shut down the hospitals. We create the line-ups, but not for the prisoners. No sir. That would sure be a crime if we ever did that.

We can look at the dental service. There are lots of people out there, I included, who have no dental plan. We work for ourselves. We pay our taxes and we pay to go to the dentist. But not our prisoners. No. We will keep our own people broke paying for it but, by golly, do not let one little prisoner suffer not one iota in this country. Do not let them suffer. Do not make them work. Don't you dare make them work to help supply the costs for incarceration. No, do not do that. That is against their rights. Yes sir, never mind the right of the taxpayer who pays your bills. No, do not worry about them, not one little bit.

I do not understand it. I just do not understand it. We have a system set up. I was asked this question. I have been branded a cold hearted redneck over this question.

Prisons And Reformatories Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

An hon. member

Extremist.

Prisons And Reformatories Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Oh yes, I hear "extremist" from over there. Sure, it is extremist to worry about the taxpayer in this country. It is extremist to worry about the livelihood and the safety of my mother. It is extremist. That is right, you keep it up. That is what you call extremist. Shame on you. I hope your parents give you a talking to when you get home. That is all I can say. You have no more thought for them.

Prisons And Reformatories Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Scarborough Centre, ON

Racist.

Prisons And Reformatories Act
Government Orders

February 4th, 1997 / 1:15 p.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

I hear the word "racist" from that side. Do you have the fortitude or the gonads to stand up and come across here and say that to me, you son of a bitch? Come on.

Prisons And Reformatories Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Hopkins)

Order.

Prisons And Reformatories Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

I will not have some s.o.b. sit here and call me a racist.