, seconded by the member for Joliette, moved for leave to introduce Bill C-269, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (sentencing) and to make consequential amendments to another Act.
She said: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to present my private member's bill. It is very lengthy and detailed, but let me summarize its purpose.
Its purpose is to remove the use of mandatory minimum sentences for most criminal offences. They remain in place for murder and high treason, but we do now have, and we had at the time that many mandatory minimum provisions were brought into this place, adequate and in fact overwhelming evidence that mandatory minimum sentences do not reduce the crime rate. They result in overcrowding of our prisons, additional costs to the provinces, for which the federal government is not compensating, and in fact increase the likelihood that people who would otherwise be leading useful lives are placed in prison for longer than they normally would be. It removes judicial discretion, which may also lead to plea bargains and which takes decisions out of the hands of judges.
In the process of this private member's bill we can debate this issue, but it is also my hope that the government and the Minister of Justice will see fit to bring these provisions in more expeditiously than a private member's bill can.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)