I am asking him the question, Mr. Speaker. Can he tell us why there is a disproportionate number of aboriginals in our prisons? In many cases these people have been treated like
second class citizens. In many aboriginal communities more than half the population is 18 years or younger and have been given very few chances. Many of them regrettably have turned to crime.
It is not only the aboriginals. They are also pointing to immigrants, new arrivals to Canada, people who were not really given a chance. It is regrettable the hon. member does not look into greater detail on ways to prevent crime. That is the basis of the bill: To reorient our young Canadians or older Canadians for that matter to try to set them straight in order to make them better and more productive citizens.
Obviously I am not going to hear the voice of reason and compassion on that side but they should recognize that those who are incarcerated in Canada today are often those who were not given the privileges of education, who were not given work in some instances and have had to turn to crime in order to pursue their lives. That is what is regrettable.
As a government we are trying to turn this society around. As we very well know the rates of incarceration in Canada are second to those in the United States and they are much lower in Europe. These are things we have to look into. We should start looking into what is happening in Europe, not quoting Russia of 1917 as one of his Reform associates did earlier. We have to look at what is happening elsewhere, what we can do and how we can improve the system.
Of course being a compassionate society we understand what the victims are living through. I am sure it is a living hell for many of them. We cannot turn around and say: "No. The only way we are going to solve this question is by throwing the key away". There is the question of education. There is the question of trying to encourage Canadians to find other ways and means of earning their living.
This is what we have to do as legislators, as members of this proud Parliament. We have to try to find ways to set the course straight for many of these people who regrettably turn to crime.
What percentage are actually illiterate and what percentage come from different classes and different backgrounds? Could the hon. member come up with those percentages?