I think we heard a lot of testimony about the need for improvements in this area. I think the bill that's been brought forward is a good one. I will not be supporting the Liberal amendment. We believe there is a place, certainly on a third offence, where there should be some kind of minimum sentence in place.
I've sent around two amendments that I think represent a compromise, based on some of the questioning that we heard from the opposition. We're not gutting the bill, which I'm opposed to, but leaving it in place. I would like to let members know what the government amendments would do.
Number one, it would remove the mandatory minimum penalty for the first and second offence. So I think that's certainly meeting Mr. Ménard over half way.
On the third offence there would be a mandatory minimum penalty of not two years, but six months. That's what the amendment I've introduced would do. It would lower the maximum term of imprisonment for summary conviction from two years to eighteen months. That is consistent with the existing penalty scheme in the Criminal Code and it would also make all the necessary consequential amendments.
One other thing: it would increase the maximum term of imprisonment on a first and second offence from five years to ten years. That is actually consistent with what the maximum is already under theft over $5,000. So it would make the bill consistent with what's in the code.
What it would leave in place from the bill is having auto theft, which I think we're pretty much in agreement on, and it would leave in place the six-month minimum on a third offence. Acknowledging that this is a minority Parliament, we're trying to meet opposition members over half way. So I hope that members are agreeable with this. There are just two amendments there, and I think that would do almost everything that we hope to accomplish.