Mr. Speaker, I listened closely both to the speech of the member who moved the Reform Party motion and to the comments of the other member, and I am not convinced, as has just been stated, that all Canadians are dissatisfied with the current Young Offenders Act. I think that as far as the public is concerned, this is a highly emotional issue. It is a subject ideally suited to long philosophical debates and above all, I do not feel that the average joe should have the final say on this matter merely by picking up a telephone and registering his views.
Young people are treated differently by the print media and we are seeing this more and more, precisely because we are dealing with a young person. Stories involving youths make the front page in all of the tabloids. Recently, one particular case in the region received front-page coverage for an entire week, and it is still being talked about today. I think that the newspapers make a big issue of it when a typical case arises and that their coverage directly influences how people feel.
I am somewhat disappointed with the comments of the member who moved the motion, in that he never quoted statistics to support his proposed amendments. He never once mentioned if indeed the crime rate among young persons between the ages of 10 and 12 had increased dramatically, to the point where drastic action was required to deal with the situation.
Well, I have some statistics which I would like to share with him and I would be interested in getting his comments.
The most telling figures are those concerning the homicide rate among young people. I think this is the issue which the motion before us wants to address. In 1981-I do not have very recent figures but I was told yesterday in response to my inquiries that the data is being compiled and that I would get it eventually- thirteen murders were committed by young people in Quebec, and thirty-four elsewhere in Canada. In 1982, nine such cases were reported in Quebec and twenty-three elsewhere in Canada, and for 1983, there were three cases in Quebec and twenty elsewhere in Canada. The most recent figures I have are for 1986 when six murders were committed by young people in Quebec, and twenty-two by young people elsewhere in Canada.
Furthermore, the general crime rate among young people has declined by 8 per cent in the province of Quebec, and by 34 per cent in the metropolitan Montreal area. There were 34 per cent fewer crimes in 1993 than in 1992. Does the member have statistics to the contrary? If so, I would ask that he disclose them so as to justify the motion put before us this morning.