Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
When one listens to certain members of the government, one would assume that right now, under our Criminal Code, there are no minimum mandatory penalties, and in particular none with regard to criminal offences committed with firearms.
In fact, members who premise their comments so that people who are watching and listening to this session will believe that there are none—that there are no criminal infractions and sanctions and penalties and minimum mandatory penalties with regard to crimes committed with firearms as we speak, right now, in the Criminal Code--are doing a disservice to the Canadian population.
I'm sure the members—Mr. Thompson and Monsieur Petit, and Mr. Moore himself—have read the Criminal Code and therefore know very well that you already have, for instance, section 85, “using firearm in commission of offence”, and that does not include serious-use offences such as attempted murder, discharging a firearm with intent, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, but just use of a firearm in the commission of an offence other than those serious uses in assaults. There is already a first-offence minimum and there's a subsequent-offence minimum. We have section 95, “possession of restricted or prohibited firearm with ammunition”. There is already a mandatory minimum for that offence.
One can go through every single section that Bill C-10 amends and find that in most of them there are already mandatory minimums. In creating higher mandatory minimums and second- and third- and subsequent-offence mandatory minimums, the one thing Bill C-10 accomplishes is the complete removal of the discretion of a judge for subsequent offences.
It also creates two new offences: breaking and entering with an intent to steal a firearm, and robbery—which is under section 343—with intent to steal a firearm. Those two new offences were actually introduced in Bill C-82 of the previous government.
In relation to those two new offences Mr. Comartin makes the point very clearly, as I believe Mr. Murphy did, that if there are mandatory minimums and the judges have absolutely no discretion, it could have a serious negative impact on our aboriginal communities.
So, first, I would ask the members, when they are speaking to Bill C-10 and criticizing the Liberal Party of Canada, the Bloc Québecois, and the NDP, to please not do so in a way that would lead Canadians to believe that the current law has no mandatory minimum penalties for criminal infractions committed with firearms, because it does. That's the first thing.
Second, I would also ask members when they are speaking to this to not lead Canadians to believe that the laws on the books as they are now are not being enforced or are not being used, because they are in fact being used. Law enforcement will tell you that very clearly.
So don't use your ideological bent to push it. This committee heard scientific fact, based on scientific study. Now, if a member wishes to throw that out the window and base his or her voting intention and work here in the House of Commons on the subjective and the emotional, fine; that is your right, but say so in the beginning. Say that you do not base your decisions as a member of Parliament on fact, proven fact, scientific fact; you care nothing about science; you care nothing about accurate, proven fact; you care only about emotion and subjectivity. Then we know what we're dealing with.