Mr. Speaker, I know that I have very limited time tonight, but I do want to chime in on this debate because I think, with all due respect to the very honourable intentions of the member for Saint John, it is never really a good idea to craft legislation around a single incident. As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness referred to, this is another case of common sense. As we all know, common sense is not all that common and quite often, it is quite wrong about what works in the criminal justice field.
Unfortunately, what we have here is a government that often prefers to prey on fear rather than do what is most effective. We know what works with offenders, and that is a gradual supervised reintegration into the community. What the bill would do, despite its good intentions, is interfere with that process for far too many offenders and ultimately, inadvertently would result in more victims.
The police already have the power to release information on those offenders who present a threat to the public. That standard is quite an important one, and that is the one the bill would change. It says that the standard would now be that if there is public fear or public interest, the information should be released. However, what we have to accept is that the police already have the power to do this when it is a question of public safety, and they already do this when public safety is at risk.
I would argue the bill is both dangerous and unnecessary.
We know what kinds of things work, and I just want to give a short example as I am very quickly running out of time.
We know when sexual offenders are released back into the community that a program called CoSA, Circles of Support and Accountability, really works. What the Conservative government has done as of March 31 is it has cut all the funding to the CoSA programs around the country. This means that they are beginning to close down slowly. These are programs that surrounded the offenders with support and people, largely volunteers from the faith community, who monitored what they did in the community. They have very high success rates, between 80% and 100% success.
This program, which was something that was actually very effective in preventing more victims in the community, was eliminated. Instead, we have the proposal coming forward in the form of a government bill, Bill C-56, and we have this private member's bill which, as I said, unfortunately, is unnecessary and would be dangerous to the successful reintegration of offenders into their communities.