Mr. Chairman, I'd like to draw your attention to the fact that that was 11 minutes, although Mr. Murphy's comments were relevant. I'm certain you will be just as generous with all our colleagues. That being said, I will not accept being interrupted after six minutes.
I am somewhat surprised by the direction this debate is taking, because we are not here to establish sentencing principles nor to decide whether or not police officers or judges are corrupt.
I tend to believe that most people do their jobs honestly. Of course, there have been cases of corrupt police officers, teachers, MPs and judges, but that has nothing to do with our debate today. This is a government which decided, with no prior consultation, to rework the rules of the game in the judicial appointment process, and we have reason to believe that they did so for ideological reasons. As parliamentarians, we have to decide in this matter, and this has nothing to do with whether or not police officers are competent.
Why choose police officers over notary publics, nurses or any other professional? Police officers, as diligently as they may do their work, do not have any greater expertise in the field of criminal law. Besides, most lower courts do not deal primarily with criminal matters. So why would they claim they have more expertise in the matter than anyone else in our society? It is a problem because in 8 out of 10 provinces, police officers trigger the laying of charges. I don't understand how anyone could feel there is no potential conflict of interest here.
Are police officers able to exercise appropriate judgment as to the qualifications required to be a judge? Of course. But once you step onto that slippery slope, you accept that the system for appointing judges loses its integrity.
This leads me, in a spirit of friendship and out of great respect, to ask two questions, first of the professor—I will not try to pronounce his name—and one of my colleague Mr. Cannavino.
Witnesses have asked us to set out in legislation the terms and conditions relating to the composition of judicial advisory committees to avoid governments making any changes to them given the random partisan fluctuations we've seen. Would you be in favour of legislation being submitted to Parliament aiming to preclude any undue partisanship?
I realize my question may be biased, but I am familiar with your great intellectual integrity. My question goes to you, Mr. Cannavino, as well as to your seatmate. Would you agree that police officers have a specific mission to carry out, that they are in a position of conflict of interest from the start because they are the ones that bring the charges in 8 out of 10 provinces?
I suggest that the professor answer my two questions, and then Mr. Cannavino.