Mr. Speaker, there is a time and place for government to do those things. I would like to speak to Bill C-7. There are a couple of areas I want to address. First is the bewilderment of most people in Canada as to why the government would put through the Senate to the government an amendment to a bill which gives special consideration to aboriginal youth within the youth justice system.
The place to address the issue of aboriginal youth is with the minister of aboriginal affairs. It is not through the criminal code. Basically the government is saying that it realizes it has failed in how it handles aboriginal affairs and aboriginal youth and therefore it will address it in the criminal code by saying that any crimes committed by aboriginal youth shall be given special consideration.
This is not the way to deal with that issue. Like every other Canadian I think we listen to this stuff which comes from members on the other side and wonder what makes them think that the answer lies in amending the criminal code. If anything, why do they not amend the laws of the country which affect aboriginal people? Better yet, why do they not just fix the problems rather than trying to address them after crimes are committed? I think that is really sad.
Another issue I want to raise is what happens when government members vote for a bill in the House. What do they really do about it? Is it true that they will fix everything that they have put before the people of Canada? Is it true that they will even act on it?
I want to give an example by talking for a few minutes about the issue of the national sex offender registry. That brings home to me what is wrong with the institution of the House of Commons and what is wrong with the government. It tabled Bill C-7 for young offenders. There is no doubt in my mind that it will not deliver on this stuff. Time and time again I see in the House of Commons where it says yes to something but just does not deliver.
At some point last May all opposition parties agreed to a motion in the House for the government to deal with the national sex offender registry issue and develop one by January 30, 2002. That was yesterday. As it turned out the solicitor general and all the Liberals agreed with it. It was unanimous in the House. Approximately 304 members of the House of Commons said yes, by January 30, 2002, we would have a national sex offender registry.
Yesterday I stood in the House and asked where it was, where was the software that is required. That is not a big deal as I will go through in a moment. More important, where is the legislation that mandates that sex offenders shall report certain information and there shall be a penalty if they do not report it?
The solicitor general stood in the House and said that they were working on this thing called CPIC, a police information system which does not do the job. Every police organization in the country says that it will not do the job.
Yet he government says that it does not matter what it promised, what it said or when it said it would do it. It just did not do it and the rest of the people out there can just darn well live with it.
One of the serious problems people have with government today is that it says one thing and does another. It can even come into the Chamber and commit to doing something via a motion, a mandate of the House of Commons, and turn around on the day it is supposed to be delivered and tell everyone to stick it in their ear. That is what it did.
When I leave the House of Commons I think I will look back at this place as one bitter disappointment. We have a government that basically says it will do something and just says that it has decided that it will not do it and to heck with all the victims out there. It just does not care.
I do not know how anybody in the House can get enthusiastic about coming in here and expecting the government to do anything other than what it wants.
Getting back to the Young Offenders Act, the government today calls it something else but everybody else calls it the Young Offenders Act. It is now called the youth criminal justice act. The government changed the darned name on it but did not change a whole bunch of other things that people are looking for. The age for young offenders has stayed the same. There is a litany of things that have stayed the same, yet the government says it is different, calls it a different name and says “By the way, we are really going to enhance this whole issue of youth justice by allowing special circumstances if someone is an aboriginal”.
If an aboriginal commits a crime, the same identical crime as anybody else, that aboriginal is treated differently. How does that go down with the victim? How does that go down with the many victims I have spent time with in court and other places? How does that go down with a person who has been raped?
If I am raped by someone other than an aboriginal, that person might get a stiffer penalty but by gosh if I am raped by an aboriginal youth, there will be a special dispensation. I have never in my life heard anything so bizarre as that kind of thinking. We could not convince one person outside of the House of Commons that this is a necessity. There are all kinds of areas, opportunities and alternatives for judges these days to make allowances. In all the presentations they hear and in all the court proceedings, they can make allowances. They can make allowances in sentencing. On and on it goes. Why on earth does the government say in this case, going through the change in the youth justice act, “if you are an aboriginal youth we have to treat you differently”? That is the biggest insult to a victim I have ever heard in my life. Nobody that I am aware of has really asked for this, other than in the patronizing of aboriginal peoples that goes on in the other side.
It is well known that the bulk of the crimes against aboriginals comes from aboriginal peoples themselves, so what does this say about an aboriginal victim of a young offender? It says to aboriginal victims that they will likely be treated differently from any other victim who is not aboriginal.
I cannot imagine sitting down with any aboriginal victim in my community and saying “you are less, you are considered less because the person who attacked you is aboriginal”. I am certain that not all people on the other side here in the Liberal Party believe that this is the right thing to do. I have not talked to anyone anywhere who agrees with this concept.
One has to ask why a government would start putting race issues in our criminal code or in any of the forms of legislation we have today. The criminal code is supposed to be unbiased. It is supposed to be objective. It is supposed to treat all people as equal under the law, but what it is doing now, thanks to the government, is creating an inequality of peoples under the law.
There are people out there listening to me who vote for the Liberals, and they are saying “They are such a great group, they will fix it”. They will not fix it. The Liberals do not have any plans to fix this sort of thing. By the way, this would not go through the House of Commons justice committee so the Liberals dropped it from the justice committee. They could not get it through. Then they flipped it on over to their buddies in the Senate. The Senate said “yes, we will fix you up”. Talk about another House that is supposed to be objective and unbiased: the Liberals ship it over there to their majority buddies and it comes back to the House under a Senate amendment.
We should just think about what happens in our country. This is scary. What will happen if the Liberal government gets re-elected again? It will be the Liberals' fourth term. It will be four terms in which they appoint all their buddies to the Senate. By the end of the fourth term the Senate will be down to something like 10 or 12 opposition people in the Conservative Party, which is barely a party today. There is only one Canadian Alliance senator in the Senate.
So what the country will have, in effect, will be Liberal upper and lower Houses. If the Liberals cannot get something through the House of Commons, they flip it over to their buddies who rubber stamp it. It comes back here and nobody has a snowball's chance of doing anything about it. That is a very serious flaw in our democracy.
What do we do about it? Everybody says there will be an election and we have to work harder and the opposition has to get its act together, but I think it is more than that. I think that those who represent the Liberal Party have to understand that race based legislation is leading us nowhere. I shudder to think about one of my family being injured, molested or murdered by an aboriginal youth. We should just think about me, my mother and my wife being in a courtroom because something has happened to our son or daughter and an aboriginal youth did it and the judge says “Well, because you are aboriginal you certainly do not get the same penalty you would if you were someone else”. I could not bear the consequences of that in a courtroom. My family could never understand that, nor could any other victim in our country, nor could anybody else, even if they are not victims.
What do we do with a drug trafficker of serious drugs? What do we do in a big heroin bust? Believe me, there are a lot of youths doing that. I talked to a youth not that long ago about this very issue. He was doing community time for selling cocaine, just community time. I told this youth that I had some connections with the school board and maybe I could help him finish school and ultimately get a good job. He laughed at me. He said “Why would I do that? I'm pushing cocaine. I can get twenty grand a month. I drive a nice car”. He is 14 years old and says “I have a lawyer on retainer. Why would I do that”? This guy is doing some time, but an aboriginal youth trafficking in heroin, killing our kids and our adults, will not be given as much of a sentence as the other guy. That is absurd. It is unheard of in any country in the world.
The minister is here. I would love to have the minister stand up and provide with me some insight into why the government would do this. It is nice to see the minister here because there are damn few other people here.