We'll share some time.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
What this starts to boil down to--and your comments were interesting--is the friction between inmates and the correctional environment. We can appreciate the delicate balance you're facing, but I think what we're doing right now is putting too much of that in the hands of the inmates, and the fact is they have a debt to pay to society.
You made an interesting statement of the corrections service's responsible attitudes, and I think one of the ways we achieve responsible attitudes towards corrections is if there is buy-in from Canadian society, which includes buy-in from the victims of crime. When we talk about the cost of imposing these kinds of things—we've heard testimony about the $83 billion cost to victims and at what point that actually gets repaid and who's responsible for the repayment of that—I think your average Canadian citizen would lean wholeheartedly to the side that the people who have committed the crimes are the ones responsible for repaying that debt, the financial debt and the social debt that they have to pay.
Suggesting that putting measures in place that require them to pay that debt creates unnecessary friction allows us to bend to unnecessary concessions to them, and puts victims even further down the totem pole. It elevates criminal status to a point that is out of touch with the average Canadian citizen.
You characterize them as undeserving creditors. When I see 576 restitution orders, 1,136 fine orders, and 725 victim fine surcharges on the books with Corrections Canada on an annual basis, that represents a significant number in terms of both monetary and individual victims who are never being repaid for the crimes that occur in this country.
I think if you want fairness for the inmates, the first step that needs to occur is fairness to the victims, so they take our criminal justice system and the correctional system seriously. If we appear to be beholden to the criminals who have an obligation and a debt, I don't think that serves them well either, because I think it leaves a scary sense of self-entitlement there. I think it affords them no greater protection within the correctional environment. I don't think it allows them to move on toward a path of help, hope, and healing when they get into the citizenship thing and when they're trying to feel proud about the things they've done. If they don't find the ownership and responsibility and take that, I don't think we're doing them any favours. If we allow them to hide from it, I'm not sure how we're helping them.
I don't see this as taking money from behind their backs. The money undoubtedly is earned because of some wrong that has been done to them. The debt has also been earned and the debt must be paid.
So I'm not sure how we reconcile that, because I look back on Mr. Toller's evidence, and he flat out said these debts aren't being paid at a high percentage. I'm not sure about the burden of Corrections Canada, because the bill talks about the monetary awards being awarded by the courts, so it's clearly not Corrections Canada cutting the cheque. So somebody else is cutting the cheque to the inmates, which would mean an award would be made by a judge. The judge would find the registered creditors who need to be paid, would pay those people, either the families for child support, restitution orders, a victim surcharge that they owe, or any amount awarded by a court of common jurisdiction, and then any balance would go to the inmate, into their savings account, to be brought into their operating account, twice a year as allowed by Corrections Canada.
So it's not being taken behind their backs. It's being taken front and centre by a court order. I think it's the way we message that that's very important, that if they feel entitled to that money, are due that money and nobody else is entitled to get it, they're forgetting they've earned the debt as much as they have the compensation.
Don't you think that's an important message, that the inmates understand they've earned a debt and that debt needs to be paid?