Mr. Speaker, contrary to the statements put forward by the hon. member that nothing has been done by the government with respect to the Young Offenders Act, I can assure the House and the people of Canada this government has taken steps to deal with the most serious of young offenders crimes.
First of all, for the most serious crimes, the penalties under the Young Offenders Act have been toughened. There is no doubt about that. It has happened.
With respect to whether or not 16 or 17 year olds will appear in adult court, the onus that used to be in place has been reversed. Now the situation is that young offenders 16 and 17 years of age will be in adult court unless they can prove they should be tried in youth court. The situation used to be the opposite. The presumption had been that 16 and 17 year olds would be tried in youth court.
In addition to that, a review of the Young Offenders Act by the justice and legal affairs committee continues. Hon. members of the Reform Party are involved in that. The committee will be visiting five regions of the country. Last week the committee completed the first leg of its journey when it visited the maritimes to hear what people thought about the Young Offenders Act with a view to making further changes.
This government is committed to hearing input from people across the country which is not the style of the members opposite. They like to do things and forget about what the people think. This government likes to listen to the people and the justice and legal affairs committee will be doing that over the next little while. It will be recommending further changes to the Young Offenders Act for consideration by the justice minister. In addition, the federal-provincial task force on young offenders, the officials and ministers, will also be making recommendations to the federal minister.
A number of very succinct and proper measures have been taken by this government. Every single time we bring forward something to assist the victims, whether it is Bill C-41, whether it is changes to section 745 or whether it is changes to the Young Offenders Act, the Reform Party votes against it.