Madam Speaker, I rise today to add my insight to this very important discussion surrounding Bill C-75, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other acts and to make consequential amendments to other acts. I am speaking on behalf of the constituents in my beautiful riding of Haldimand—Norfolk.
As we know, one of the core functions of government is to provide a framework and a set of laws to protect those who it governs, whether it be through the creation and maintenance of a strong military to defend us from foreign threats or, as is more applicable to today's discussion, to protect Canadians from domestic threats and administer just consequences for those who break the law. We, as Conservatives, take this very seriously.
Before speaking to the shortcomings of the bill, I agree with the reforms proposed to deal with repeat offenders of violence against intimate partners. I see this as a step in the right direction.
That said, with the few steps forward that are made in Bill C-75, the Liberals seem to run backward with much of the rest of this bill. The Liberal Party, in particular the Prime Minister, seems to jump to the defence of serious offenders and violent criminals, disregarding the rights of victims.
The previous Conservative government worked hard on behalf of Canadians and on behalf of victims. We brought forward legislation designed to reduce the re-victimization that occurred because of shortcomings in our justice system, bills like the Tackling Violent Crime Act come to mind. That one implemented conditions such as a reverse onus on bail, which requires that those accused of serious gun crimes show why they should not be kept in jail while awaiting trial.
Our initiatives aimed at ending the revolving door form of justice that was all too common and put people who had committed serious crimes, particularly serious gun crimes, back out on the street with bail. This law was targeted squarely at organized crime and tackling gun violence. The Tackling Violent Crime Act also introduced tougher mandatory jail times for serious gun crimes, which again targeted organized criminals and gangs.
The truth is that tougher and longer sentences are about deterrence and protecting society from violent and dangerous offenders. Violent and dangerous behaviour cannot be changed simply by prematurely returning an offender to the environment that bred that very behaviour in the first place. Sadly, the Liberal position seems to be quite the opposite.
Of course we all recall the recent transfer of Terri-Lynne McClintic from the Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener to a healing lodge with no fence around it. Rightly, Canadians were outraged. They were outraged that one of Canada's most notorious criminals, convicted of first-degree murder in the kidnapping, rape and killing of an eight year old, was being moved to such a weakly enforced facility. What was the Liberal response to Canadians' outrage? It was a vehement defence of that decision. Yes, it is sad, but unfortunately that is true.
This speaks to the low position that victims have in the eyes of the Liberal government. It speaks to the undeniable Liberal bent toward making life better for even the most offensive and deplorable criminals. This bill further displays that view.
The number and types of offences that could result in lighter sentencing as a result of the bill, even going so far as to reducing some of them to just a fine, sends a clear message to victims and also to criminals.
I think that most of us would agree that Canadians are largely compassionate, willing to forgive and give second chances to people who might have made some bad choices. That said, the types of offences that the Liberals seem to be making light of in Bill C-75 are well beyond what Canadians would consider just bad choices.
Offences like participation in the activities of a terrorist group and leaving Canada to participate in terrorist group activities may now see reduced sentences. This includes people who have left Canada for the sole purpose of joining and fighting with ISIS. For a Prime Minister who claims to be a progressive and a feminist, it is hard to see how granting a softer consequence for ISIS fighters fits this narrative. This is a group that represents the very antithesis of everything Canada represents and tries to be. These people burn homosexuals alive and throw them from buildings. They take sex slaves. They commit public mass executions, and they have declared war against our own western values, but the Prime Minister and thejustice minister think that perhaps a softer touch is the best way to deal with ISIS fighters.
Again, as concerning as this is, sadly, based on what we have already seen from the government, it is not surprising. ThePrime Minister seems to think that government programming to reintegrate returning ISIS members is a suitable option.
We all remember Omar Khadr. Mr. Khadr is directly and admittedly responsible for the grenade attack that led to the death of allied U.S. special forces Sergeant Christopher Speer and the injury of retired U.S. special forces Sergeant Layne Morris. Is Khadr in jail? Courtesy of the Prime Minister, he is now $10.5 million richer, thanks to the Canadian taxpayer. Canadians are appalled, and rightly so.
The bill also brings in softer sentencing for, among other things, advocating genocide, participating in activities of criminal organizations, arson for fraudulent purposes, human trafficking-related offences and material benefit for sexual services. Listening to the list of some of these offences on which the Liberals are going soft, one really cannot help but wonder if some of the stakeholders who were consulted on the bill were actually organized crime leaders.
Municipal corruption, selling or purchasing office, influencing appointments or dealing in offices may also receive lighter sentencing. One cannot help but wonder what the Liberals are preparing for with these types of changes.
In all seriousness, the list goes on and on. Even the abduction of a child, a defenceless child like Tori Stafford, could see lighter sentencing under the Liberals' soft-on-crime bill. Back home in Haldimand—Norfolk, people are shocked to hear that these are the views of the modem Liberal Party and our Prime Minister. They are shocked by the disregard for victims of crime shown by bills like Bill C-75. They are baffled by the doublespeak of the Liberals, who claim in one breath to be opposed to gun crime but then introduce bills like Bill C-71, which provides no meaningful way of addressing illegal gun crime but implies that law-abiding hunters, farmers and sport shooters are part of the problem. They, like Canadians right across this great country, are genuinely concerned that the soft-on-crime policies of the Liberals are going to put their communities and their families at greater risk.
There are some good aspects of the bill, but they are needles in a 300-page haystack of bad policies. I do not recall reading about reduced sentencing for terrorists, child abductors and organized crime members in the Liberals' election platform. I did not see it in the justice minister's mandate letter, and I would wager good money that no Liberal candidates will put that in any of their next campaign literature. I am confident that this is not the mandate Canadians gave them, nor would they in 2019.
I implore the Liberals to take this monster of a bill, split it up into more reasonable-size bills, and set their partisan, self-serving tactics aside so the House can come together and vote in agreement for the good bits that are in Bill C-75. Then we can have a more thorough debate on the merits of the rest of the policies and a discussion about the lack of a mandate from Canadians to legislate the rest of it.