Thank you, Mr. Chair.
First of all I want to thank Mr. Cooper for his passionate defence of this bill. I certainly appreciated his reaching out to me in a phone conversation to talk about some of the finer details of the bill. I too voted for this bill at second reading because I agreed with the principle. I don't think there's a person in this room who denies that what happened with Constable Wynn and Shawn Rehn wasn't a good thing. It was a problem. It's a failure in the way things currently operate.
I too have independently given my full and legitimate consideration to this bill and to all the witness testimony we've heard and the briefs that were submitted. I've also consulted with caucus colleagues who are expert lawyers and with people outside of the caucus in the legal community as well. Weighing what I have seen, witnessed, and read, the evidence in my considered opinion is stacked against this bill.
I do want to say, however, that what happened to Constable Wynn does not.... We can honour his memory. This does not have to be the end of the road for honouring his memory. I sincerely think that what happened in this particular issuance does not warrant a legislative solution. I think we've heard from many witnesses that there is plenty of room for administrative solutions, whether it's through more resources for our justice system, making sure police records are timely and up to date in every part of this country, or even giving more educational opportunities to crown counsel to learn from this opportunity. I don't think we should end the road at this particular issuance.
Now, the Minister of Justice has met just recently with her provincial colleagues. I'm glad to see that this meeting has finally occurred, that the Liberal cabinet has finally acknowledged the crisis that is in our justice system, because the Jordan decision was a long time ago. I think Mr. Cooper's criticisms of the justice minister are valid; I share many of them. There have been vacancies in our courts for far too long. The legislative agenda of this government, particularly with justice bills, seems to be in tatters. It has taken 18 months to get bills forward on marijuana legalization, on impaired driving laws, and the zombie provisions of the Criminal Code. I have to ask myself what the cabinet, particularly the Minister of Justice, has been doing all that time, because there are some very important bills sitting on the Order Paper that have not yet come to second reading debate.
If I may impart some advice to my Liberal colleagues, the next time you have the opportunity to speak to the cabinet, say that there are several very important justice initiatives that can wait no longer; that we need to see properly funded resources for our justice system, whether it's in legal aid, appointing members to the bench, or providing for more administrative services in courtrooms.
We also need, though, to see this legislative agenda put forward so that we can start debating it, because if you look at the remaining timeline we have in Parliament, June 23—the last possible day we have to sit until September—is fast approaching. I would say that it's time to roll up our sleeves and really get to work on some of these pressing issues.
While I will not be supporting Bill S-217, then, don't think for a minute that this is the end of pressuring this government to get to work on these outstanding justice issues.