House of Commons Hansard #63 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cyprus.


CyprusPrivate Members' Business

11 a.m.


Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC


That, in the opinion of this House, the government should support all measures leading to the demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus in such a way as to enhance prospects for a peaceful and lasting resolution of the dispute regarding Cyprus that would benefit all the people of Cyprus and bring about an end to more than two decades of division on the island.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today with a saddened heart to speak about a tragedy that has endured for nearly 22 years, a tragedy which highlights the failure of the international community to find a just and viable solution to a grave injustice of this century. Just because it does not make the headlines every week does not mean the Cyprus problem is under control.

A recent shooting in the UN buffer zone of a Cypriot soldier is a clear reminder to all of us that this situation could turn into a crisis at any time.

For me, this motion represents my commitment to human rights and to the peaceful resolution of international conflicts. At a time when respect for the great principles of international law and for basic human rights is an essential requirement for a fair and stable international order, Cyprus remains an unacceptable and tragic exception.

The Cyprus problem involves the illegal occupation of a small country by a large and militarily much stronger neighbour. It involves a violation of international treaties, a systemic destruction of a cultural heritage of an ancient land with thousands of years of history and civilization, and a displacement of more than a third of Cyprus' population and the tragedy of 1,619 missing persons.

What makes the Cyprus issue a particular tragedy is that while numerous conflicts rage on around the world without a solution in sight, the Cyprus problem does have a solution that is within the reach of the international community. This is the demilitarization proposal I am introducing in the House of Commons today.

The United Nations has tried on several occasions to reconcile the two communities, but without success. Let us note the role played in the latest UN initiatives by the Right Hon. Joe Clark as special representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations from May 1993 to May 1996. Unfortunately, no agreement was reached because the Turkish side was not flexible enough. We are now at an impasse.

The continuing presence and overwhelming military strength of the Turkish occupation troops on the island, currently standing near 30,000, is perhaps one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the resolution of the Cyprus problem.

This is an alarming fact that led the United Nations secretary general to describe the occupied area of Cyprus in his December 1995 report to the security council as "one of the most highly militarized areas in the world in terms of the ratio between numbers of troops and civilian population".

This has led to the creation of unstable conditions threatening peace and security not only in Cyprus but in the wider region of the south eastern Mediterranean. Security concerns and anxieties are of crucial importance to both sides and serve to promote continued mistrust which we all know is detrimental to any solution.

What the situation requires is a solution that will take into account the security concerns of both sides, a solution that will help to restore confidence and enhance prospects for a peaceful and lasting solution to this grave problem.

The proposal by the president of Cyprus, Mr. Glafcos Clerides, for the complete demilitarization of the republic of Cyprus is such a solution. Formally submitted to the United Nations in December 1993, this comprehensive plan, if implemented, provides among other things for the disbanding of the Cypriot National Guard and

the handing over of all its arms and military equipment to substantially strengthen the UN peacekeeping force.

The money saved from defence spending would be used to fully finance this force and the remainder of the savings would be reserved for development projects to benefit both communities. This offer is conditional on the parallel withdrawal of Turkish troops and Turkish settlers from Cyprus, as also called for in the UN resolutions-there are a number of them-and the disbanding of Turkish Cypriot armed units.

If implemented, these measures leading to a reciprocal reduction of defence spending and reduction in the number of troops on Cyprus will help to restore confidence between the parties, will meet the security concerns of all parties involved and will enhance the prospects for a peaceful and lasting resolution of the dispute regarding Cyprus. These would benefit all the people of Cyprus and bring an end to more than two decades of division of the island.

Recent developments have made the resolution to the Cyprus problem an issue once again for the international community.

In fact, the European Union was to start six months after the 1996 intergovernmental conference closes, that is to say, in about two years.

As a result, Europe is getting involved more seriously in the resolution of the Cyprus problem. The European Union, the United States and Great Britain have also appointed special representatives. More than at any other time, a solution may be within reach.

The final issue I wish to address is perhaps the most pertinent for the House and its members. Why as members of Parliament should we support this? That is a question everyone will be asking today. The answer is self-evident for me: Canada's longstanding commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflicts and its regard for human rights violations wherever they may occur. Canadians are no strangers to the Cyprus problem, having been involved in the United Nations peacekeeping forces in Cyprus for nearly 30 years.

We have an opportunity today to lend our respected voice in the international community to bring about the successful implementation of this plan and to send a clear message that the status quo is no longer an acceptable solution.

The proposal has already received considerable support. At a meeting of the Commonwealth nations in November 1995, the heads of government, including our Prime Minister, expressed full support for the proposal by the president of the Cypriot government for the demilitarization of Cyprus. Resolutions have been passed in both the United States Senate and Congress. The European Union has also passed a resolution welcoming the proposal. Most recently, Australia and New Zealand respectively passed resolutions in support of this proposal.

Canada contributed to the United Nations peacekeeping forces in Cyprus for nearly three decades. We have not forgotten this issue nor its importance to all Canadians, in particular Canadians of Cypriot origin.

This motion will reiterate Canada's conviction that only peaceful negotiations can bring disputes to a peaceful and just resolution. Canada has shown leadership in the field of human rights and has stood firm on its commitment to respect for international law. As Canadians we can once again show leadership through the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister by supporting this motion. I invite all members on both sides of the House to support this motion. This will be our first step in finding a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem.

Why should Nicosia remain as the only divided capital city in the world? We have seen the tumbling of the Berlin wall, the commencement of a Middle East peace process. Why can we not work together as responsible members of the international community to bring an end to the Cyprus problem once and for all?

I intend to raise this matter tomorrow in the House in a question to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He has said he will support this motion and will work hard with other members of the Canada-Cyprus friendship committee of the House in order to find a viable and just solution to a problem, a tragedy, that has existed for 22 years.

CyprusPrivate Members' Business

11:10 a.m.


Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of Motion M-239 tabled on May 1 by the hon. member for Saint-Denis. In her motion, the hon. member is asking that the government "support all measures leading to the demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus in such a way as to enhance prospects for a peaceful and lasting resolution of the dispute regarding Cyprus".

I commend my colleague for this initiative. It was with her and other parliamentarians that I travelled to that country in January 1995. This visit has been an unforgettable experience for me. Unfortunately, we were able to visit only the southern part of the island, that is the Greek part under the control of President Glafcos Clerides, whose government has been recognized by the international community. We could nevertheless see, in the distance, the ghost city of Famagusta, a city now abandoned that played a major role in the history of Cyprus.

Cyprus combines oriental and occidental values. A small island 240 kilometres long by 100 kilometres wide, with a total area of 9,251 square kilometres, lying in the eastern Mediterranean Basin, Cyprus has a history that goes back more than 3,000 years. Unfortunately, this country has sustained the effects of the antagonism between the Greeks and the Turks dating back to the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

Cyprus was also marked by 82 years of British occupation. Indeed, Cyprus was a British colony from 1878 to August 1960, when it achieved independence. At that time, 81 per cent of the 574,000 residents of the islands were Greek speaking and 18 per cent were Turkish speaking. In Parliament in Nicosia, 35 seats were allocated to Greek speaking Cypriots as compared to 15 to their Turkish speaking fellow citizens, or a 70 to 30 ratio.

Within just a few years, an interethnic spark of violence degenerated into a bloody conflict affecting the whole island. The Turkish Cypriots decided to create a separate government they called PTCA, which stands for Provisional Turkish Cypriot Administration.

In 1964, UN peacekeepers, including a Canadian contingent, took over from the British troops. That year, Greece dispatched approximately 5,000 troops to Cyprus while Turkey built its military strength up to 10,000 on the island. That is how the green line, or neutral zone between the Turkish and Greek neighbourhoods of Nicosia, came to be.

From 1964 to 1974, Cyprus experienced a relatively calm period and had a great president in the person of Archbishop Makarios, who governed well and was a leader of the group of non aligned countries. I had the honour of meeting him in Chile, during a visit in that country. In 1974, the dictatorship of the colonels in Greece organized a coup in Cyprus. Ankara took advantage of the situation and sent 7,000 troops, who occupied one third of the island.

We must look for a negotiated settlement in Cyprus. In his May 1994 report to the security council, the UN secretary general stated that the security council was facing an already familiar scenario, namely the absence of an agreement essentially because of a lack of political will on the Turkish Cypriot side.

In my opinion, we must first end the occupation of the island by about 40,000 Turkish troops. The UN secretary general also identifies Cyprus as one of the most militarized zones in the world, in terms of its soldiers and civilians. In November 1993, the secretary general said that the security council found unacceptable the status quo in Cyprus, which was established and maintained through the use of force.

Part of the solution lies in the proposal made by the President of Cyprus, Glafcos Clerides, to completely demilitarize the island. The proposal was submitted to the UN in December 1993 and reaffirmed on many occasions since. It involves the dismantling of the Cypriot national guard and the surrender of all military weapons and equipment to a UN peacekeeping force.

I support Motion M-239 to demilitarize Cyprus. I am very touched by the support of Dr. Oscar Arias, the former President of Costa Rica, who is leading an extraordinary campaign to end armament. Costa Rica is already a demilitarized country, as is Panama and, more recently, Haiti. I support the demilitarization of these three countries. The money thus saved could be used to promote the island's economic and social development.

The UN peacekeeping force must continue to play a lead role in this peace process. This demilitarization proposal has already been supported by the U.S. House of Representatives and the European, Australian and New Zealand parliaments, as well as the Commonwealth heads of government at their 1995 meeting in New Zealand. It is now the turn of this House of Commons to support this initiative, which will, I believe, lead to peace and stability for this island.

I thank the Cypriot community of Canada, particularly those in Quebec, for constantly keeping the problem of Cyprus before us, and for bringing legitimate pressure to bear so that a solution may be found to this problem as soon as possible.

Being a member of the Commonwealth like Cyprus, Canada ought to play a more significant role in peace keeping and in finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. This problem has gone unresolved for far too long. I urge the Canadian government to step up its efforts in this area.

On the one hand, I find it deplorable that Canada pulled its peacekeepers out of Cyprus in 1992, after 29 years of presence on the island. The presence of the UN peacekeeping force is indispensable as an aid to negotiation and political settlement of the Cypriot question.

On the other hand, the mediation overtures begun by former Prime Minister Joe Clark, representing Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, have unfortunately not led to the anticipated results.

I also find it deplorable that Canada is represented by only an honourary consul in Cyprus. The situation there, and the size of the Cypriot community here in Canada, justify the presence of a full time career consul general.

I hope that the Republic of Cyprus, as my colleague has said, will be able to join the European community in the near future. This will help solve the problem.

Greek and Turkish Cypriots have lived peaceably together for four centuries. The 1974 crisis left more than 3,500 dead, 3,000 of

those Greek Cypriots. As well there are another 1,619 missing, whose fate is as yet unknown.

During my visit, I was made aware of this tragedy of the thousands of missing persons, when I spoke of having become familiar with the same phenomenon of the disappeared in Chile, Argentina and a number of other countries. The disappeared represent a very serious problem today. I might mention as well that, in Cyprus alone, there are also more than 200,000 displaced persons.

Cyprus, a country I came to love very much during my visit, has played a great role in the past. Since 1974, however, its people remain separated, because no solution has been acceptable to both the Greek community in the south and the Turkish community in the north.

I also saw that the area we visited is experiencing a very strong economic upturn, and the standard of living is very high. Thousands of tourists every year visit the island. I would like to see every part of Cyprus benefit from prosperity and a still higher standard of living.

CyprusPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.


Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, Motion No. 239 put forth by the hon. member for Saint Denis reflects the intent previously stated by the United Nations, the Australian Parliament, the New Zealand Parliament, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. By supporting this motion, Canada will be joining these world leaders in calling for a peaceful settlement of the Cyprus issue and ensuring the future stability and well-being of the people of Cyprus.

In joining the nations and global organizations that have previously stated their support for the demilitarization of Cyprus, Canada is declaring that demilitarization would meet the security concerns of all parties involved. It would enhance prospects for a peaceful and lasting resolution of the dispute regarding Cyprus. It would benefit all the people of Cyprus and hence merits international support.

Cyprus has been plagued with conflict since 1963 when violence broke out over accumulated tension between the Greek and Turkish communities. Cyprus became independent of British rule three years earlier, with a constitution intended to balance the interests of the island's Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.

A treaty between Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom guaranteed the basic provisions of the constitution and the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Cyprus. Unfortunately, the application of the provisions of the constitution were not easily enforced and tensions between the two communities escalated with time and eventually led to the outbreak of violence.

As early as 1964 the United Nations established a peacekeeping force in Cyprus. Since then, the security council has periodically extended the mandate of the peacekeeping mission. Most recently the security council extended the mandate of the peace force until June 30, 1996. While expressing concern that there has been no progress toward a final political solution and while urging the leaders of both communities to promote tolerance and reconciliation, these forces will doubtless continue to patrol the buffer zone between the 30,000 Turkish troops that remain in Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot forces.

The presence of Turkish troops in northern Cyprus as well as the Greek troops occupying the area hamper the search for a freely negotiated solution to the dispute. These troops pose a potential threat to the security and well-being of all Cypriots and hinder the peace and stability of the region.

Until demilitarization occurs there is a strong danger that negotiations will remain unprosperous and no settlement will be reached. This conflict has lasted too long and we as members of an influential nation must voice our concern for the Cypriot people who continue to suffer from uncertainty about the future of their country.

Cyprus has become a test case of the effectiveness of the United Nations and of the application of the basic rules of international law. Since this conflict began, the United Nations has proposed a number of peace plans to create a federal independent and non-aligned Cypriot state. The United Nations has also sponsored numerous rounds of negotiations between the conflicting parties, most of which have not been fruitful.

In 1992 Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali reported to the UN security council on the results of the latest round of negotiations. He regrettably announced that the lack of political will continued to block the conclusion of an agreement.

In that same year the security council reaffirmed that a settlement must be based on a state of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship, with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded. In 1994 resolution No. 939 effectively conceded in the absence of agreements on fundamental issues that confidence building measures were not a realistic possibility to ending the conflict. Unfortunately, the presence of foreign troops in Cyprus has hindered the ability of negotiators to come up with agreements on the fundamental issues mentioned in resolution No. 939.

The European Parliament in a joint resolution called upon the European Union, its member states and Turkey to give their full backing to a continuous and broad dialogue to promote respect for human rights and freedoms. This is a resolution that we must echo here in the Canadian House of Commons.

Our concern in this issue must be first and foremost for the Cypriot people. They are the ones suffering from this elongated war and the lack of political negotiations between the warring nations involved. It is only through negotiated settlements between Greece and Turkey that peace can be restored. It is only through the establishment of peace that a concern for human rights and democracy will return to the region.

Canada is a strong believer in human rights and fundamental freedom for all people. This cannot merely be a spoken promise. We must also act on it. We can begin by approving this motion to restore peace and stability to Cyprus through the removal of all foreign troops in the area.

Unfortunately, while the necessity and validity of this motion is not in question, its ultimate effectiveness is. Canada's distance from Cyprus hinders our ability to become an active participant in this issue. It is up to the regional authorities involved to solve this problem. They are the ones that must join together around the bargaining table and negotiate a settlement that will end the militarization in Cyprus and allow the Cypriot people to live in peace. Our role of diplomacy is the one we should be emphasizing and promoting in that area.

I ask the government to call on the European Union to take a more active role in ending the conflict in Cyprus. The European Union has an influence over this conflict that Canada does not enjoy. First, member states of the union are at a much more strategic spot to deal with the Cypriot conflict than Canada is. They also play a unique role in the dispute in that in July 1990 Cyprus formally applied for full membership to the European community.

In response to Cyprus's plea for membership, the leaders of the European Union agreed at the Corfu summit that the next phase of enlargement of the union will include Cyprus, subject to a solution of the Cyprus problem. This gives the European Union a tool for use in negotiations and ultimately a settlement of this problem.

To give this issue the utmost attention, it is important that the conflict be ended now. We urge all parties involved in the Cyprus question to demonstrate goodwill and a new resolve to work actively toward a lasting and peaceful political settlement. This is the most effective way for Canada to become involved.

CyprusPrivate Members' Business

11:30 a.m.


John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to this most important motion, Motion No. 239, which promotes the demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus. Let me say at the outset that I fully support this motion. I want to congratulate the member for Saint-Denis for bringing it forward.

In the last several years we have witnessed the creation of new areas of tension and conflict through the unleashing of destructive forces of chauvinism and ethnic strife. At the same time, in many parts of the world we have witnessed the triumph of reason, the entrenchment of democracy and the emergence of free market economies.

In July 1994 a brutal armed force was unleashed by the Turkish government. The result was the illegal invasion of a sovereign state and member of the United Nations, the island of Cyprus. To this day 37 per cent of the island's territory is illegally occupied.

Turkish and Greek Cypriots were forcibly evicted from their homes and became refugees in their own country. Almost 50,000 Turkish Cypriots have been forced by Turkish troops to flee their homes and lose their property. Thousands of Greek Cypriots have been displaced, their properties stolen and their family members murdered. Close to 2,000 Greek Cypriots simply vanished, and to this very day are unaccounted for.

This constitutes a gross violation of basic human rights for both the missing persons and their beleaguered families.

I met the father of one of the missing. His name is John Kasapis. Mr. Kasapis is a United States citizen whose then 16-year-old son was vacationing in Cyprus in 1974. To this very day this heart-broken father has not heard of the whereabouts of his now 38-year-old son. Is he alive or is he dead? Can this father or the families of the 1,619 other missing persons, of which I would like to point out are also relatives of many Canadians, ever rest, find peace and can their wounds ever heal?

On July 20 the people of Cyprus and the rest of the civilized world will be commemorating the 22nd anniversary of this brutal and illegal invasion. I am sad to say that there seems to be no end in sight. It seems that no solution is the solution for the illegal Turkish regime.

I recently attended a meeting of NATO and the North Atlantic alliance group where one of the topics discussed was illegal immigration. I was shocked to learn that just over 20,000 illegal Turkish immigrants are seeking asylum in Germany.

Mr. Katlu Adali in the Turkish newspaper Yeniduzen describes how the Turkish Cypriot population has decreased by 60,000 to 70,000. Turkish Cypriots living in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus flee to the southern part of the free island not just for jobs, not just for a better life, but more significantly for political asylum.

It is also reported in the Ortam , another Turkish newspaper, that the Republic of Cyprus recognizes Turkish Cypriots as equal citizens of the republic as it also recognizes many other groups on the island, namely the Maronites, the Latins, the Armenians, just to

name a few. Reading this I wonder what type of regime the Turkish authorities are running.

Thousands of new Turkish settlers have been brought from mainland Turkey to the island and into the occupied areas. This is altering drastically the demographic character of Cyprus at the expense of Turkish and Greek Cypriots.

In January 1992 the Spanish parliamentarian, Mr. Cuco told the Council of Europe's committee on migration, refugees and demography that the colonization of areas of Cyprus under Turkish occupation by Turkish settlers constitutes an additional obstacle to peace and is Cyprus' most serious demographic problem since the invasion of 1974. This was based on Mr. Cuco's on the spot investigation.

Moreover, the Council of Europe has condemned the continuous human rights violations by Turkey, and according to a 1983 report released by the Council of Europe, the European commission of human rights found that Turkey's continuing occupation of Cyprus violates articles 5, 8, 14, 26 and article 1 of protocol 1 of the European convention on human rights. The aforementioned clearly condemns Turkey's violation of human rights relating to missing persons, the family and their properties.

The more people who are aware of human rights violations, the more likely they are to act on them. The more one learns, the more compassionate one becomes and less likely to harm.

Through my presentation I want people to learn to work toward an expedient, just solution for Cyprus and for the betterment of all humanity. The confidence building measures have been a step in the right direction, which is why this motion is most important and why I ask my colleagues in the House to fully support it.

Just as our American counterparts, the European Parliament, the New Zealand House of Representatives and the Australian House of Commons are working vigorously toward helping to bring a speedy and just solution to the Cyprus issue, I point out that we too as Canadian parliamentarians, through the Canada-Cyprus friendship association, are working just as vigorously for a just solution.

It is also important to mention to this hon. House that approximately two years ago the Canada-Cyprus friendship group under the direction of its chairman, the hon. member for Kent, endorsed a demilitarization proposal for Cyprus as was outlined by the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Clerides, to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

Therefore, I will not go into the details of the six-point demilitarization plan, as it was already outlined by my colleague so eloquently, but I would like to take this opportunity to commend President Clerides for this bold initiative.

The Commonwealth heads of government which met in Zimbabwe unanimously endorsed the resolution which reiterated its support for the independent sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and non-aligned status of Cyprus and for securing compliance with all the United Nations' resolutions on Cyprus. Moreover, it expressed full support for the proposal of the president for the demilitarization of Cyprus.

What is significant is that we as a Canadian government, members of the Commonwealth in essence have already endorsed this proposal. With the meeting in Zimbabwe there is even more reason why the House should support this motion.

One wonders for how long the people of Cyprus will wait for the invader to leave their home. For how long will the Cypriot people stand by and witness ethic cleansing?

The Turkish occupying forces to this very day continue to plunder systematically and destroy the Cypriot cultural heritage in the occupied area of the island. Religious property is a particular target. Churches continue to be converted into mosques, vandalized and turned into entertainment centres and pubs. What is happening in the occupied areas of Cyprus by the Turkish forces is a total disgrace and against all principles of human rights and freedoms.

Twenty-two years have passed, and the security council's many resolutions remain unimplemented and totally ignored by Turkey. Unless the aggressor is faced with progressively more severe consequences for its disregard of international legal order, there is not going to be, I am sad to say, any solution or justice in Cyprus and the United Nations will lose credibility in the future.

Cyprus is not looking for pity. Cyprus wants what we all want as civilized human beings. Cyprus wants what all progressive institutions are advocating and that is justice.

In conclusion, not only do I extend my support for this motion for the demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus, but I urge all hon. members of the House to do the same so that we can all be part of a process that will bring forth a just and peaceful solution to this peace loving island. Let us all work together to right the wrong. Let us mend the wound.

CyprusPrivate Members' Business

11:40 a.m.


John English Liberal Kitchener, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely pleased to speak today on Motion No. 239 calling for demilitarization of Cyprus.

I would like to express my thanks and support for the motion of my colleague from Saint-Denis. She has shown extraordinary commitment and perseverance in bringing forward this very impor-

tant motion. Those of us who are familiar with private members' business and its trials and tribulation think it is important that we note her efforts.

All members of the House are well aware of the long commitment Canada has made toward the peaceful resolution of the disputes in Cyprus. Canada has been an active participant in the resolution of those disputes for over 30 years, and we have acquired a deep knowledge and appreciation of that situation on that island.

Even though Canadian troops left the island in 1993, Canadians maintain a deep interest because of our Commonwealth ties, because of the experience of so many Canadians and because so many Canadians are of Cypriot background.

Today we are very worried. In the words of Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Gahli: "Cyprus is a dangerous island". Its northern part is "one of the most densely militarized areas in the world". It is filled with arms and with soldiers and there are dangers which we hear about in the daily press.

Last week the hon. member for Saint-Denis mentioned that a Greek Cypriot was killed by a Turkish soldier. This summer we have heard about the conflict in the Mediterranean and the entire eastern Mediterranean is becoming a very dangerous place and a genuine threat to peace on a much broader level.

From the outset, Canada has supported the efforts of the United Nations and the international community toward the reunification of the island. This was embodied in security council resolution 939 and we concur with the principles of that resolution that a peaceful negotiated settlement, based on a federal structure that would take into account legitimate concerns and aspirations of both communities is the most promising solution.

Very recently the security council's five permanent members reaffirmed their full support for the good offices mission of the secretary-general and underlined the importance they attach to a comprehensive approach to an overall settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the relevant security council resolutions and the discussions of 1977 and 1979.

That is why we are here today for this very important debate. Canada has an opportunity to take a lead in calling for demilitarization of the island. As you know, Mr. Speaker, from your own very important work in conflict resolution, demilitarization is a fundamental first step in achieving conflict resolution in situations similar to this situation in Cyprus.

In our own case we have played a dynamic and instrumental role in maintaining world peace through peacekeeping efforts, but in the case of Cyprus, Canadians peacekeepers were there for many decades and peace was not achieved. Therefore we took strong action through Mr. Clark who represented the secretary-general in trying to work out a solution. This year was, in the words of the United States "to be the year of Cyprus". It seemed that resolutions have been found for other conflicts in that part of the world in Bosnia and Israel. Perhaps they are not moving in the direction we would like at this moment, but this was the year that Cyprus would be approached. Mr. Holbrooke was to be President Clinton's personal representative but, alas, that was not achieved.

Today we are facing a situation in which demilitarization of northern Cyprus is a serious problem and we do not have the resolution we had hoped for a few months ago.

As the member for Saint-Denis pointed out, many other nations have adopted the same motion we are debating today. The United States, Australia, New Zealand, the European parliament and the Canadian government through the Commonwealth heads of government meeting have agreed to support the essence of this resolution. Given our nation's distinguished history in the area of peacekeeping, is it not a logical step to support the demilitarization of Cyprus?

It is unfortunate and indeed tragic that we are debating this issue today because it does indicate a failure on the part of the world community and of the United Nations. Despite more than 20 years of commitments, security council resolutions, high level discussions, we are left without a solution. If we are to attribute the super politics of the cold war to these difficulties, what is the answer now? We must look at the intransigence of the Turkish Cypriot government and of Turkey, as the previous speaker indicated.

As Canadians we are convinced that peaceful negotiations are the only solution. Since the failure of the 1993-1994 negotiating sessions we as Canadians have made repeated calls on both parties to redouble their efforts to resolve outstanding differences. Clearly there is no single solution to this complex issue. However, as the president of Cyprus pointed out in a letter to Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the secretary general of the UN, demilitarization is a major step in reducing the anxiety and mistrust on opposing sides. Without it a continued arms build-up is inevitable and the consequences can easily be predicted.

Many people, Greeks and Turks alike, are excited at the prospect that for the first time there is a possibility of strong international support for bringing peace to this beautiful but dangerous island.

What is important now is not finger pointing but rather conciliation, a desire for peace and a resolution of this conflict. As a nation Canada can help achieve this by supporting the motion and sending a clear message to those two choose the status quo that such intransigence will no longer be tolerated.

CyprusPrivate Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.


Ted McWhinney LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise in support of the motion by my colleague from Saint-Denis.

I have a sense that I have been here before when I look at this resolution. I wrote on the Cypriot constitution of 1960, three decades ago, that it was an example of a perfect constitutional document conceived by the dry light of reason, but one had great doubts about its capacity to survive. Legalistic solutions are not viable in isolation from the society in respect to which they operate.

I knew the German scholar who was largely responsible for the 1960 constitution. The checks and balances were there, the perfect equilibrium of forces, but it did not work. I think it is an example of the optimism of the late 1950s and 1960s that solutions were possible by legal means without necessarily understanding the underlying social forces.

There are reasons why the motion by the member for Saint-Denis is timely and helpful at this stage. It is true in relation to conflict resolution that when the parties are at each other's throats and the blood is there it is difficult to arrive at rational solutions. There is a moment, however, when exhaustion and attrition step in and it is almost a truism that it is the time in which to move. One would have thought that after 20 more years of conflict this would be a good time for third party initiatives, particularly one as determinedly neutral in its application as the suggestion for a United Nations demilitarization and the replacement of the armed forces of the warring parties by a UN force.

UN peacekeeping is a Canadian development, a Canadian idea. Prime Minister Pearson suggested it first and he won his Nobel prize for basically suggesting that at the moment when the parties have everything to gain by solution it is right to offer a face saving device, interposing oneself as a neutral force between them.

If we look at the possibilities for Cyprus, of the accession to the European Union, which is conditional upon the peaceful process being attained, this is good for Cyprus. It is good for the plural communities in Cyprus. Therefore it is right to bring our efforts to bear.

There is a role for Canadians in this. One obviously is to offer our services as part of a United Nations force. The second, though, is to offer our experience in a country that is a plural society our solution in terms of constitution making. The thing that is very clear is neither the Westminster model, the British made in Westminster style federalism, which is too rigid in its a priori categories, nor the German model, the Bonn model of 1949, which was essentially used by German jurist Forsthoff as an inspiration for the 1960 constitution. Neither of these has the outlook toward pragmatic adjustments of conflict that our original Westminster model constitution of 1867 has developed through time.

I can see a role for a Canadian parliamentary initiative with the support of our Minister of Foreign Affairs in which we could say federalism is more than rigid a priori forms. It is a process. It can be achieved in stages, step by step, étapisme in the conventional terminology. We are prepared to offer on an all-party basis the help of Canadian parliamentarians in setting together the basis for institutional co-operation between the different communities on a basis of respect for the rule of law and due process in dealings between citizens. This is an example of federalism as process, federalism in motion, to which our Canadian experience is peculiarly suited.

I ask hon. members to express, as they have in this debate, their support for this excellent idea and its timing. It is right, the notion that a UN force should replace the warring parties armed forces, that we should offer help in federalizing the relations between the parties, not necessarily in terms of an ideal blueprint constitution they might find difficult to accept tomorrow but in terms of concrete steps through institutional co-operation in which we can provide our continuing effort and support.

The very good thing in this debate is that the speakers from all three parties, all main parties, have spoken as one in looking for a peaceful solution and in an approach with a very constructive spirit. This is something that should encourage our foreign minister in offering Canadian good offices and providing the bridge to the types of arrangements that have been discussed widely in all parts of the House.

CyprusPrivate Members' Business

11:50 a.m.


Sharon Hayes Reform Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to some of the debate today. I am pleased to speak in support of this motion.

I read it into the record again:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should support all measures leading to the demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus in such a way as to enhance prospects for a peaceful and lasting resolution of the dispute regarding Cyprus that would benefit all the people of Cyprus and bring about an end to more than two decades of division on the island.

I have heard from people in my constituency of the situation on the island, of the heartbreak, of the conflict, of the number of years of difficulty in that region.

In the debate today we saw an example of the international community on two accounts, first the international community in the recommendations it put forward, security resolution 939, which actually recommended a resolution process to the problem on Cyprus. Unfortunately on the international scene we have also seen an example of international complacency on an issue that has gone on for 24 years on this island.

Today we are debating something that hopefully will be a move toward the solution in areas of security concerns of the people who live on that island along with their friends and relatives around the world, hopefully a solution that will be a lasting peaceful solution.

There will be no simple solution, but perhaps to find the first step is what we are about today. That first step, the bridge to peace, may be and hopefully is the step of demilitarization on that island. Canada today has an opportunity to be part of that solution as it speaks up. As was just said, all three parties are in agreement for that.

Our party certainly feels private members' motions need to be taken seriously. We commend the private member who brought this forward. However, we do not feel that one hour of debate is enough for an issue like this or for anything a private member has worked on.

I ask for unanimous consent to make Motion No. 239 votable. It is an opportunity for all parties together to speak for peace in the world.

CyprusPrivate Members' Business

11:55 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is there unanimous consent to make Motion No. 239 votable?

CyprusPrivate Members' Business

11:55 a.m.

Some hon. members


CyprusPrivate Members' Business

11:55 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

There is not unanimous consent. The debate will end at 12.03 p.m. There being no further members wishing to speak, I will ask the hon. member who presented the motion to resume the debate.

CyprusPrivate Members' Business

11:55 a.m.


Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank all members on behalf of Canadians, especially on behalf of Canadians of Cypriot origin, for having supported this motion. It has been unanimously supported by both sides of the House. The government is supporting the motion. The minister, through the parliamentary secretary today, said it would be moving on the motion and asking the international community to support the motion.

Again, I thank all members for their support and for lending their voice to say enough is enough. Let this be the year for Cyprus, as an hon. member said. Let us work together to find a solution this year for the tragedy that has existed in this century.

CyprusPrivate Members' Business

11:55 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired and the order is dropped from the Order Paper.

The House resumed from June 14, 1996 consideration of the motion that Bill C-45, an act to amend the Criminal Code (judicial review of parole ineligibility), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

11:55 a.m.


Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government bill proposes to amend a single section of the Code- section 745. This section has been in effect since 1976, but was not first applied until 1987.

It allows a convicted murderer to present an application for parole after serving 15 years in prison. This recourse will be used increasingly as inmates likely to make use of it complete 15 years of their sentence.

At the moment, only 175 of the 2,085 persons convicted of murder have completed the 15 years of prison requisite to the presentation of the application. Of these, only 74 have actually exercised the right, and 63 have had a hearing before a jury. In 13 cases, the jury rejected the application to reduce the number of years of imprisonment without eligibility for parole. In 50 cases, the jury reduced the number of years.

What happens when the jury allows an application and reduces the number of years? The inmate may then apply to the National Parole Board, which will hold a hearing, hear witnesses, including the victim, and allow or deny parole. Of the 50 allowed to apply to the board, only 17 were granted full parole, six were denied parole altogether, eight were granted partial freedom and six are entitled to temporary absences.

As we can see, section 745 simply gives inmates the opportunity to seek a jury's approval to apply for parole earlier than scheduled. The period is usually 25 years in the case of first degree murder and 10 years in the case of second degree murder, which may be extended to 25 years by the trial judge on the recommendation of the jury.

Section 745 of the Criminal Code is an exceptional measure. However, the National Parole Board has final say. Therefore, section 745 is not, as some would have us believe, a wide open back door out. It is a glimmer of hope for those who redeem themselves. This measure is an incentive to inmates to behave responsibly during their incarceration.

In the opinion of the associate chief justice of the Ontario Supreme Court, this review process establishes a happy medium between the need to show clemency with respect to an offender whose conduct while serving his sentence is good, which may be conducive to rehabilitation, and the interests of the community, which demands that the act that led to the inmate's incarceration be condemned.

It is the only provision of the Criminal Code that gives citizens responsibility for a decision as to the just and equitable nature of a sentence. The Criminal Code as it now stands therefore provides for a judicial review mechanism that seems appropriate.

In 1994, the Liberal member for York South-Weston presented a bill aimed purely and simply at repealing this section. We in the Bloc Quebecois argued to keep section 745, but his bill was passed anyway at second reading by a vote of 136 to 103. However, the session ended before it went to third reading. On March 12, 1996,

the same bill was reintroduced in the House and is now before the justice committee.

Today the Minister of Justice is at it again with a proposal to keep this review procedure, but with a few changes. We are in favour of the proposed amendments because they maintain this recourse, with the addition of a few justifiable changes. It must be remembered that this section has not been amended at all since it was first introduced, in 1976.

First of all, the Minister of Justice is proposing that this recourse be dropped in the case of those found guilty of more than one murder. We support this measure, which creates a difference in treatment between someone who has killed one person and a serial killer. This is obviously entirely logical, at least in our view. Section 745 is intended as an exceptional measure, and it is understandable that a serial killer would be excluded from its application, as would anyone still posing a threat to society.

This amendment will make it possible in future to exclude the Fabrikants, Olsons and Bernardos. They will have to serve the sentence handed down by the court before being able to apply for parole. Furthermore, it is very difficult to see how a repeat offender or a serial killer could be successful in a request for judicial review.

It is appropriate to amend section 745 in this regard. This amendment will make it possible, and rightly so, to exclude from the application process those with very few chances of being paroled in any case. This measure will increase public safety and sends the message that murder is unacceptable.

The purpose of the second proposed amendment is to require that decisions of juries to reduce parole ineligibility periods be unanimous. At the present time, the application must be approved by two thirds of the jury. This will increase public safety and reduce the number of approved applications.

If there is unanimous agreement to reduce this period, a two thirds majority is enough to substitute a lesser number of years or to immediately terminate the ineligibility for parole. The two thirds rule is maintained when it comes to setting the number of years by which the ineligibility period is being reduced, which strikes a certain balance.

We support this measure because section 745 is an exceptional provision. The unanimity requirement highlights the fact that it is exceptional. Furthermore, should the application be turned down, the jury may, by a two thirds majority, set the time at or after which another application may be made by the applicant.

This bill requires that the jury be unanimous, but still allows the inmate to make another application after two years. Again, a certain balance is struck between protecting society and recognizing the inmate's efforts.

Finally, the last proposed amendment is that any review application be subject to judicial screening. This provision is obviously aimed at eliminating unfounded applications that have no reasonable chance of being approved. To do so, the judge reviews the application, the report from Correctional Services, and any other document submitted by the attorney general or the applicant.

The judge makes a decision based on the applicant's character and behaviour and the nature of the offence of which he was convicted. Although this additional step may initially appear to make the procedure more cumbersome, its purpose is obviously to avoid having to train a jury and to communicate with the victim to ask for information.

Should the judge decide that the applicant has shown there is a real possibility the application will be approved, the chief justice designates a judge of the superior court of criminal jurisdiction to empanel a jury to hear the application.

If the judge rules that the applicant has not shown there is a real possibility the application will be approved, he can set the period at or after which another application may again be made or decide that no new application may be made. The applicant or the attorney general may appeal to the appeal court any ruling made by the judge.

These three amendments will reduce the number of applications. With the exclusion of multiple murderers and the introduction of judicial screening, it is likely that only serious applications will be referred to a jury. And, by requiring that applications be approved by the whole jury, we can expect a more thoughtful decision. It will be up to the National Parole Board to make the ultimate decision.

In short, this bill gets our support because it maintains an appropriate recourse while trying to prevent any possible cases of abuse. In our view, however, there was no reason to disrupt House procedure to rush this bill through. This is pure improvisation. I must also tell you in closing that, as an exception, the justice committee will be sitting this evening to hear the justice minister, senior justice officials and another witness. The committee will also have to resume its hearings tomorrow, going into overdrive because time is running out.

I must say these hearings look like a travesty, the whole idea being to pass Bill C-45 as quickly as possible. Let us say it is really not standard procedure. That is the most appropriate term I can use in this place.

To say it as it is, the Minister of Justice left it to the last minute. We could certainly have started discussing this bill a few months back. The Standing Committee on Justice could have summoned witnesses. But no, instead the Minister of Justice chose to wait till the very last minute and to improvise.

Why? Could it be that he wanted to boost his image, an image recently tarnished by certain matters currently before the courts, in short, the Airbus affair? Perhaps. At any rate, we will let the public be the judge of that. I just wanted to point out that this is not standard practice. As far as I am concerned, a travesty of hearings is not standard practice for a Minister of Justice.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.


Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, to set the record straight, the Reform members who will be speaking to this bill will not be splitting their time henceforth.

I am pleased to rise today to speak on Bill C-45, the legislation which was introduced by the Minister of Justice. The effect of the legislation will modify and not repeal section 745 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

At the outset, it is important to inform the House that I will not and cannot support the legislation. I can also say that my Reform colleagues, unless instructed otherwise by their constituents, will not be supporting the bill.

We Reformers were given clear instructions by our membership in Vancouver last weekend at our national policy assembly. Delegates to the assembly put forward a policy resolution to repeal section 745 of the Criminal Code. The policy resolution to abolish and not modify section 745 of the Criminal Code carried the greatest support of any resolution passed. It was supported by 98.8 per cent of the Reform delegates. The resolution has now been adopted as official Reform Party policy.

Reformers at the Vancouver assembly were unified in the vote to repeal section 745 because we recognize, as do most Canadians, that section 745 is a symbol of all that is wrong with the criminal justice system in Canada. Section 745, a provision which allows killers the right to apply for early parole after serving only 15 years of a life sentence, symbolizes the decay of the criminal justice system in Canada. Consequently, the majority of Canadians have come to view the criminal justice system as one where justice is granted to the criminal element of our society and contempt is shown to victims. This is a sad reality.

Reflecting on the last couple of years, I note that since 1993 the Reform Party has been asking the minister to repeal section 745. A former member of the government, the member for York South-Weston, introduced a private member's bill, Bill C-226 on March 17, 1994, which was reintroduced as Bill C-234.

The House of Commons voted at second reading to refer Bill C-226 to the standing committee. At that time 74 Liberals, including the transport minister, voted against the justice minister and supported the repeal of section 745. It is not just on this side of the House; those members who are reflecting the viewpoint of their constituents on the government side of the House want to see this section repealed.

Bill C-226 was buried in committee. Bill C-234 has not yet been dealt with despite a memo by one government member on the justice committee asking the committee to make this private member's bill a priority. No such effort is about to happen. It is not going to be a priority on the government side.

The justice minister has had the opportunity to abolish section 745 and has had almost three years to do so. That does not count the eight or nine years the Liberals sat in opposition. They clearly heard the views of constituents and of their members at that time. They have no excuse. Such action would be an important first step in restoring in the eyes of Canadians credibility to the criminal justice system. Obviously the justice minister does not have the strength of character to take substantive action. He can be assured that Canadians will remember this on election day.

The justice minister claims that the prospective legislation before this House will decrease the opportunity for killers to seek early release and parole. Let us examine this claim.

The truth about Bill C-45 is that if adopted by Parliament the proposed amendment to section 745 would effectively categorize murderers as good killers or bad killers. The effect of Bill C-45 is to say to Canadians that killers who murder just one victim are okay and are therefore entitled to another chance for freedom, whereas killers who murder two or three times or more are bad and should be punished differently.

When I think about this piece of legislation I turn to the province of Quebec and reflect on what happened at École polytechnique. How would mass murderer Marc Lépine be categorized by taking that many lives? Should we not have anther section for him? Should we not say that after five murders they are even worse than bad or after 10 they are on another list downward? It is unsettling to think of taking one life or 10 lives. One is too many and they should all be categorized the same.

I hear a different perspective from Canadians. My Reform justice colleagues and I have travelled the country speaking to rank and file citizens. What we hear from Canadians is a unified message that a killer who commits first degree premeditated murder ought not ever to have the opportunity for early release. Canadians tell us that at the very least, life should mean life. This is obviously a sentiment to which the justice minister is either

unaware, or more likely a sentiment which the justice minister has a vested interest in not being aware of.

Many polls and studies have been done across this country over time. The majority of Canadians, by far 75 per cent, would like to see the death penalty back. This government has a difficult time just dealing with early release of first degree murderers let alone ever introducing legislation that would execute a murderer. I find that unacceptable. If Canadians want to see the death penalty reinstated in this country, then they should have the right to voice it loud and clear and their government should follow through with legislation.

The fact that there no longer exists truth in sentencing for killers has outraged Canadians. Consequently a particular feeling is finding its way into discussions in coffee shops and at dinner tables. The feeling is that the return of capital punishment is desirable and necessary in the case of first degree premeditated murder and it should be swift.

The Reform Party has pledged to allow Canadians to express their democratic will in a binding national referendum on the issue of capital punishment. We believe that Canadians should have the final say as to whether villains like Clifford Olson and Paul Bernardo deserve to live comfortable lives in prison receiving the amenities of colour TV, free education, three square meals a day and much more.

When I think about it, our prison system is absolutely disastrous. To cater in any way other than providing the bare necessities for existence to any of these low life individuals who have taken someone's life is reprehensible. Yet this minister and the solicitor general along with their friends support it.

Canadians know the justice minister's perspective regarding capital punishment. Indeed, the changes proposed to section 745 are a testimony to his belief that even 25 years behind bars for child killer Clifford Olson is much too severe a sentence. I have heard the minister say often in the House that to even send anyone to jail is a waste of a life. That is shared by his colleague who also introduced this bill some years back. I do not believe that is acceptable to most Canadians.

We know this is the true feeling of the justice minister because nothing contained in the legislation he proposes in Bill C-45 will stop Olson from applying for early release under section 745 in August, two months from now. I will return to this subject in a moment.

I have served in Parliament for more than two and one-half years now and I have observed how the justice minister conducts business. It is obvious that instead of listening to victims groups, rank and file Canadians, police officers or prison guards, the justice minister bends his ear to special interests, legal aid defence lawyers and other left wing, soft on crime special interest lobbies. That is probably not a complete list when it comes to special interests. Victims groups in this country are growing and those groups that support them are growing.

I had an opportunity to listen to Mrs. Debbie Mahaffy in Hamilton on Friday. She will not give up the fight to see justice done after her experience with the death of her daughter. I intend to support her whenever and wherever I possibly can, as I know my colleague from Crowfoot will. Mrs. Mahaffy has a message to deliver which is worthwhile for all Canadians to hear and pay attention to. I am going to support her and I trust my colleagues in the House will also.

It is obvious that the justice minister has attempted to mislead Canadians into believing that his government has the broad support of victims with respect to Bill C-45. That is absolute nonsense. The opposite is true.

On Friday I participated in the Hamilton East rally, the riding vacated by the disgraced Sheila Copps. Mrs. Mahaffy spoke of her daughter Leslie who was brutally raped, tortured and murdered by Paul Bernardo. She told those in attendance that the justice minister had telephoned her shortly before announcing the changes to Bill C-45. Mrs. Mahaffy's response was to ask the justice minister how he could sleep at night knowing that his proposal in C-45 would do nothing to stop Clifford Olson and most other killers from applying for early release under section 745. She wondered, as do most Canadians, on what grounds the justice minister would argue that most first degree murderers deserve to walk our streets again as free men or women.

Many of my colleagues have spoken to the technical failures of Bill C-45. I too would like to speak at great length to the failures of the bill. However, due to the time for debate on this issue, I would like to explore another line of argument. I will share with the House two personal examples which illustrate why section 745 of the Criminal Code must be abolished and not modified, and consequently, why Bill C-45 is a half measure.

Prior to the election in 1993, I served for 22 years as a police officer. I was on duty on May 24, 1977 when my colleague, Constable William Shelever, was shot in the back of the head. His assailant, Roy Glaremin, also shot and injured another constable that night. Glaremin applied for judicial review under section 745 in 1993. He has initiated proceedings for another review later this year. Lawyers tell me that he will likely be successful this time around. Nothing contained in the proposals brought forward by the justice minister will stop Glaremin from seeking early release.

The bare truth about section 745 of the Criminal Code is that nearly 50 of the last 60 murderers who have applied for early parole hearings using section 745 have had their eligibility period reduced. That is an 80 per cent rate of parole success for killers seeking release under section 745. At least 18 of these murderers have had their parole eligibility reduced from 25 to 15 years. Most of these killers were imprisoned as first time murderers and therefore are all eligible for early release under section 745. Nothing contained in Bill C-45 will change this reality.

I would also note, on the point of application, that a first degree murderer will not apply directly to a jury but now has another hurdle to jump. Application has to be made to a superior court judge, but at what cost? Bill C-45 contains a royal recommendation, a nice sounding term which means additional money will be expended. The appeal rights of section 745 applicants have been expanded through this bill. The applicant can appeal to a court of appeal on any determination or decision made by the superior court judge. Applicants have a right to apply for a judicial review more than once. It has created another level of bureaucracy within the judiciary, within this hearing process.

I sat as immigration critic for several months. It became obvious that the layers and layers of appeals were benefiting only one group. No insult to yourself, Mr. Speaker, or any other lawyer in this country, but it only fed that particular group, the most sophisticated of all lobbyists. Who has the ear of the justice minister? Who has the ear of the immigration minister? Who has the ear of the solicitor general? It is not the people of this country, Canada. That has to change but it will not change under this government. It is expanding that type of process, the judicial role of the courts, in the whole justice industry. It will get more burdensome as time goes on.

To claim that the justice minister's tinkering with section 745 will toughen up parole standards is false. It has been engineered to mislead Canadians into believing that real action has been taken to keep murderers in jail. The truth is that the justice minister has no intention of getting tough with criminals. His section 745 proposal is evidence of that fact.

I want to state for the record that the Reform Party will accept nothing less than the full repeal of section 745 of the Criminal Code. The proposals put forward by this Liberal government do not properly address the concerns of the majority of Canadians. Anything less than a true life sentence is completely unacceptable where the killer has committed premeditated first degree murder.

Section 745 is anything but a faint hope clause. Rather, it is the sure bet clause or the sure bet law for killers. It must be repealed and scrapped, not modified and not tinkered with. We will accept nothing less.

Another reason that illustrates why section 745 must be repealed is the case of Clifford Olson. Last April this serial child killer sent me a sneering personal note in which he boasted about his prospect for early parole under section 745. In his letter Olson wrote: "I'm getting out, Art. Quick, get section 745 repealed. Smile, sucker". The note was signed in type: "Yours truly, Clifford Olson, the beast of British Columbia".

Later this fall, Clifford Olson will have served 15 years of his multiple life sentences for mass murder and rape, sentences which are being served concurrently. He will make his application for early release under section 745 on August 12.

The case of Clifford Olson clearly illustrates that anything less than a true life sentence for killers, whether they are one-time murderers or multiple murderers, is completely unacceptable. Life should mean life.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.


Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I appreciated hearing the member for Calgary Northeast discuss Bill C-45. He spent considerable time talking about repeal of section 745 of the Criminal Code.

He also mentioned a meeting in Hamilton where people had gathered to discuss crime. I sense, as does he, that a lot of Canadians are not happy with the slowness of the current government to reform the criminal justice system.

It must be confusing for Canadians. Does the member think Canadians understand the funny signals they are actually getting from this House? When we voted on a private member's bill to repeal that part of the Criminal Code several Liberal members voted in favour of it. That legislation was moving along very quickly.

Suddenly we have another piece of legislation, also from the government side, this time from the minister, which would not repeal that section of the Criminal Code, but would categorize murderers into multiple murderers versus single murderers. It almost says that some types of murder are not as reprehensible as other types of murder.

I know the hon. member is out talking to the public about justice issues. What kind of signals are Canadians getting? Do they understand what is happening here in the House? Are they confused? What are they saying about the legislation brought down by the justice minister versus the private member's bill from the government side which actually calls for the repeal of that section of the Criminal Code?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.


Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

The debate around section 745 has been intense for the last two to three years, and definitely the last two years, since the member for York South-Weston introduced his private member's bill to repeal that section. That is the view which most people have. They would like to see section 745 gone.

Even beyond that, I will refer again to the studies and polls that have been taken for several years. People in this country would like to see the reinstatement of the death penalty for first degree, premeditated murder. That is the feeling I am picking up, not only in Hamilton, definitely in Toronto and in most large centres across the country. Everywhere people want to see some teeth and punishment put back into the system, and it is not happening.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.


Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member who just spoke if he could explain the reason why the members of the Reform Party will vote against the amendments put forward by the Minister of Justice-that is what we are led to believe, given that they are in favour of repealing all section 745-while at the same time wanting this House to pass this bill as quickly as possible.

I would like to know what the reasoning is behind the Reformers opposing the bill, when at the same time being prepared to help the Minister of Justice ram this bill through.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.


Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, it would absolutely be beneficial to have more opportunity to debate the bill.

Let us turn it around and put the blame on the shoulders of the people who should have the blame placed on them. That is government ministers introducing legislation 10 days before the House rises for the summer. They are the ones who are responsible for cutting short this debate. The minister, the solicitor general and the Prime Minister know full well that no time was offered to have a proper debate on this bill. They have rammed it through. They have forced an inflexible situation.

I know the member is in favour of this bill. Be that as it may, she may not be reflecting the viewpoint of her constituents. I do not know. The majority of people to whom I talk want to see this bill scrapped. That is why we are voting against it as a party.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.


Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, for those who are watching on C-span and the parliamentary channel I would like to outline briefly what we are debating. This is a debate on Bill C-45. Bill C-45 has been brought into place to make some changes to section 745 of the Criminal Code which allows for early parole for convicted murderers under certain circumstances.

In 1976, about 20 years ago, Parliament abolished capital punishment. When it did so it also said that there would be no eligibility for parole for 25 years for individuals who were convicted of first degree murder and 10 years for second degree murder. This change in how murderers were treated in 1976 is background to our debate today on Bill C-45.

Under section 745 of the Criminal Code, which was also brought in in 1976, in addition to first degree murderers not being eligible for parole for 25 years of a life sentence there were certain provisions brought in which would allow a convicted murderer to apply for early parole. The application would be heard by a 12-member jury from the community and this jury would look at things like hope for rehabilitation, protection of prison guards and the public interest in order to decide whether a convicted killer should be eligible to apply to be let out early from a life sentence or 25-year sentence.

Bill C-45 is a change to this process whereby convicted murderers can apply for early release from their sentences. This amendment is designed, according to the justice minister, to focus the operation of section 745 more narrowly. In other words, it would apply less broadly and to less convicted offenders and also, according to the justice minister, it would apply in "only the most deserving of cases". The justice minister so far has not explained what he means by a deserving murderer but perhaps the public can get him to do that at some point.

Bill C-45 does three things. First, no longer will convicted murderers have an automatic right to apply for early parole under section 745. A first degree murderer will only be able to apply if he or she has committed only one murder. If he or she has committed multiple murders then application would first have to be made to a superior court judge. That judge would have to decide if there is a "reasonable chance" of success for the application for early release before the application could be heard by the 12-member jury that I mentioned before.

The second change is that the 12-member jury, in order to approve an early release, would have to reach a unanimous decision instead of only two-thirds, as is now the case. That makes it more difficult, it is a little higher bar for the offender to jump over.

Third, after Bill C-45 comes into effect, multiple murderers would not have a right to apply under section 745 for early release. In other words, they would serve their full sentence of 25 years. Those are the three changes proposed in Bill C-45.

I would like to like to spend the bulk of my time talking about what Bill C-45 does not do. I have talked about its history a little. I have talked about the three things it does, but there are seven things it does not do. I believe these seven things are very important to Canadians.

The first thing Bill C-45 does not do is respond to a clear demand of two things from Canadians. The first is a much tougher response to people who violate the rights of others, particularly to the extent

of committing premeditated murder, cold bloodedly, with malice aforethought: the deliberately planned extinction of an innocent person's life.

Canadians are fed up with the weak-kneed approach to this kind of incredible violation of the rights of law-abiding citizens. In my home town of Calgary, 35,000 readers of the Calgary Sun clipped a coupon, signed it, demanding the repeal of section 745 of the Criminal Code, and mailed it in. That is 35,000 people in one city who responded to one opportunity to voice outrage and demand for change.

At our Reform Party assembly two weekends ago, members voted 98 per cent for the repeal of section 745. Even in this House, as other speakers have mentioned, many members voted for the repeal of section 745. Therefore, Bill C-45 has ignored the multiple and clear direction of the citizens of this country.

Justice is really the reflection of society's response to the violation of the rights of other people. Society is demanding a response that its justice minister, its elected government, is ignoring and flouting in this legislation.

The second thing this bill does not do is demonstrate society's repugnance and repudiation of murder. As most know, polls and surveys of Canadians have clearly and consistently shown that there is a feeling in society that when one of its members violates the ethics of society to the extent of deliberately taking an innocent life, the offender's life should be forfeited.

They are asking for the return of capital punishment yet we have not been able to have a debate on that important issue, although there are strong feelings and arguments on both sides. It is something Canadians are demanding in order to show their outrage against this kind of activity, and it is something they have not been given.

Society has also been awakened to the fact that since 1976 and since these applications for early release have been put into place, a life sentence does not mean a life sentence at all. Life does not mean life. Life means, at best, 25 years no matter how vicious, cold blooded and repugnant the crime might have been.

Sometimes it means only 15 years. Of the murderers who apply for early release under this provision, 80 per cent are given a reduced sentence. What we are saying, in that kind of response, is that society views murder as an innocent life being worth 15 to 25 years maximum of a murderer's life. That does not demonstrate the kind of repugnance that many Canadians are telling me about. They want that message to be sent.

The third thing the bill does not do is ensure truth in sentencing. Paul Bernardo, for example, was given a life sentence with no possibility of parole for 25 years, except that there is a possibility of parole. It is not a life sentence, it is a maximum of 25 years. He can apply to have that sentence shortened. There is no truth in sentencing.

Families, friends and supporters of the victims said at least the guy was put away. He will never walk the streets again. His freedom and his ability to be accepted by society have been totally cut off. They have woken up to realize that is not true. There is no truth in sentencing. Life does not mean life. Twenty-five years does not mean 25 years.

The fourth thing the legislation does not do is hold murderers responsible for their murders. It suggests some murderers are less responsible than others. It says that if there has been one murder committed the murderer will receive some consideration. Only if there are multiple cold blooded murders will the consideration be reduced. There is no justification. There is outrage that this could even be contemplated.

If Clifford Olson had killed only one young child from his community, according to this legislation he would be deserving of consideration. However, because he killed more than once, his privileges and the consideration he will be given will be reduced. If Paul Bernardo had tortured, confined and killed only one young woman he would be thought to be more deserving.

What does this say about our society? A murder is a murder. A life is valuable. The value is not predicated on the quantity. It is the quality of one life we should be protecting.

Fifth, the legislation will still allow people such as Clifford Olson and Paul Bernardo to apply to a superior court judge to have their sentences reduced. These are individuals who have totally outraged any laws of society. They have violated the very basis on which we have government. Government is for the protection of the life and property of citizens. Here are two individuals who have totally violated the entire basis on which we organize ourselves as a society and yet they will still have the right to make their pitch to have their penalty reduced. They will be able to argue before a superior court judge.

There are two points to be noted. The superior court judge, in order to allow the application to proceed, must be satisfied that there is a reasonable prospect of success. What does this reasonable prospect of success mean in practice? It has not been defined. What criteria will the judge use? There are no guidelines. Does this mean the judge must examine the convicted killer's actions or attitudes in prison? Does the judge look at the killer's childhood or schooling? What role does the victim's family play in all of this, because these considerations are to be made on written criteria? Do the victim's family and friends count at all? Will they be heard? This legislation provides no answers to these questions.

Not only that, when the superior court judge makes his or her finding of a reasonable chance of success, if that finding goes against the convicted killer it can be appealed. There will be extra money allocated to cover the cost of the appeal. Once again we have a more convoluted process. More layers of judicial process will be put into place. This is for the protection and the consideration of people who have already been found to be cold blooded killers of innocent people. Shame on us for allowing that kind of thing in the House and for going along with it when there is a decisive, clear step supported in the House which could have put an end to this nonsense once and for all.

Sixth, Bill C-45 has been introduced in such a way that it does not allow for proper debate and examination of this measure and the consideration surrounding it. The bill was introduced just last week. The House is slated to adjourn this week. In that short space of time the House must debate it at second reading, examine it in committee, complete with witnesses, propose amendments and improvements to the bill in committee and come back to the House for final reading and debate and passage.

At the same time we have other pieces of legislation that need to be cleared from the table during this session. Is the government taking its responsibilities to Canadian citizens seriously when legislation which is so fundamental to the interests of Canadians is brought in at the 11th hour with other important legislation on the table? Clearly the process is not able to deal with it adequately, have it examined by experts, commentators, the pros and cons thoroughly looked at, letting the public know why it was brought in instead of the total repeal of section 745. No, it is done almost off the cuff. That is no way for a responsible government to deal with substantive legislation in Parliament.

Finally, the bill does not satisfy the demands of justice on behalf of victims. There are people who have lost loved ones, sons, daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, in the most inhumane and horrible ways. The least these people expect from their government, their justice system and from society which is to protect them is justice, something they can point to and say this terrible thing was done but it was met with a just response.

Instead we have a bill before us which states if you kill only one person deliberately, you are entitled to quite a bit of consideration and will probably only spend 15 years in jail.

I was at a candlelight vigil a couple of weeks ago in Calgary for families of victims of violence. Many had loved ones who had been murdered, including Darlene Boyd whose daughter was murdered, and Bev Smith and others. I saw the pain, anguish and turmoil of these people whose loved ones had been deliberately and brutally taken away from them. I saw their anger and frustration with the justice system and the weak response this terrible act has called forth. It made me understand a little better why we in the House need to be much more serious in our response and treatment of the people who would violate the rights of law-abiding citizens.

It is our view that the law must be seen to be working for all Canadians, including the victims of crime and their families. There is simply no reason to maintain early release for the criminal, because there is no release for the survivors of these victims.

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12:50 p.m.


Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have heard Liberal members say life is life and that all we are discussing here is where the life sentence shall be served, whether it is in custody or in the community under parole supervision. Certainly if someone has been released on parole they will still serve their life sentence. They will be on parole for the balance of their life.

As a former parole officer I can talk about the limits and the difficulties of trying to enforce a useful parole supervision, especially on particularly manipulative offenders. People must understand what parole supervision is. The average parole interview is a half-hour interview in an office every month.

If we are to look at intensive supervision, perhaps a half-hour to an hour interview once a week in a community office with the odd check-up on someone's place of residence or where they are employed, and when we are talking about sophisticated serial killers out on parole, people have to understand what community supervision means. It means checking up to ensure the person is also going to their drug and alcohol program or seeing their psychologist.

However, it is of great concern that those who get out on parole have very intensive supervision and that they will serve their life sentence on parole. The public has to understand the nature of that supervision.

This bill proposes that the initial merits of the application to change the parole eligibility date from 25 years down to something lower will go before a judge. The judge will have to rule and give reasons for judgment. Does that mean now, because we are in a court process, the rule of law applies because it certainly brings in the element of appeal? One side or the other can appeal and if there are errors in law, we all know how lawyers can split hairs on those issues. They can always find some error in a law that makes it perhaps an avenue for appeal. Will we have nearly every one of these being appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada? Of course in those kinds of situations would not the taxpayer be paying for all the court costs of the offenders?

This whole element of appeal is undefined, as far as I am concerned, and I want to know if the member has any further explanation as to the possibility of that.

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12:55 p.m.


Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-45 contains what is called a royal recommendation, an allocation of additional moneys toward the implementation of the measures in the bill. The money will be used to fund applications for appeal from the superior court judge who in the first instance may have turned down the original application. This can be appealed to a ruling by a higher court, and those appeals have to be funded.

The costs and the process will be expanded under this provision. It is difficult at this point to say how it will work in practice because it is a matter of legislation at the present time. However, these things do have a habit of having consequences that were probably not intended, to be fair to the legislators, and certainly that sometimes cannot be foreseen. The consequences definitely do cause expanded costs and expanded court time.

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12:55 p.m.


Glen McKinnon Liberal Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I know the proposals being put forward by hon. members opposite are in the interest of the national good or in their view of the national good.

My concern is whether there are any data available on extent that section 745 is actually used on an incidental basis. How many times it has been used, how many people have had their sentences shortened and, if so, what has been the outcome of that shortened sentenced?

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12:55 p.m.


Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, there are data on the use of section 745. I mentioned in my speech that 80 per cent of individuals who apply under section 745 for a review of their sentence have been granted some reduction in their sentence.

The question we have to ask ourselves as legislators is that in the cases where someone has deliberately taken the life of an innocent, law-abiding citizen, is it right, is it something we should countenance and is it something we should allow and promote to give these people an opportunity to have the penalty they have been given for that kind of action reduced and have all of the mechanisms in place to allow that. That is really the question before us. I think the Canadian public says no. Many of our members say no. The government is saying yes and that is what we are objecting to.

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1 p.m.


Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address Bill C-45 introduced by the Minister of Justice on June 11. I have been looking forward to speaking on this bill.

Bill C-45 is of grave concern to all Canadians and to members of Parliament, considering we dealt with scrapping section 745 in the private member's bill by the hon. member for York South-Weston. The bill passed through second reading and spent about 17 months in committee. We were wondering why the Liberals did not bring that back.

The amazing thing about Bill C-45 is the sheer audacity of the Minister of Justice to think that he can sucker the Canadian people into thinking he and his government are actually doing something about section 745 of the Criminal Code. There is nothing happening and this bill was redundant even before it came before the House.

The bill would amend section 745 of the Criminal Code, the so-called faint hope clause. The only faint hope is that the Minister of Justice and the Liberals will ever deal with the criminal justice system, sentencing and parole in the way Canadians want. That is the faint hope. The real hope is that one day the Reform Party will replace the members over there and we will get some real changes to the Criminal Code. That is the real hope.

Section 745 as it now stands permits lifers after serving 15 years to have their parole ineligibility reviewed. These are people who have been convicted of the heinous crime of first degree murder, people who have savagely taken another human being's life, people who without hesitation and with premeditation have wiped out a human life. This section deals with lifers, those convicted to life. Life of course to the Liberals means 25 years. I think Canadians believe life should mean life. In other words, if you take a human life in a savage crime you should spend the rest of your life behind bars, get out of society because you do not belong there.

Section 745 gives an opportunity to those currently convicted of first degree murder to have their parole ineligibility period reduced after serving 15 years. In other words, they can apply for parole after 15 years if they have received a life in prison sentence for a savage crime like murder.

There is no question that something had to be done about this section of the code. Like many other justice reforms that have been undertaken by the Minister of Justice and this Liberal government, this bill does not bring about the change in any way, shape or form that Canadians have been asking for. It just does not do the job.

We have seen it time after time from this minister and the Liberal Party where they tinker with sections of the criminal justice system but nothing really ever gets done. They try to fool people in the same way they are trying to fool Canadians with regard to Bill C-45. This is a redundant piece of legislation before it even begins and I will address that a little further in my presentation.

The Minister of Justice and the Liberal government continue to ignore the cries, the demands, the pleas from the Canadian people to get tough on people, in particular, savage murderers. Get tough on the criminals through the justice system, through the Criminal Code.

The majority of Canadians want section 745 repealed. I really believe that. The majority of Canadians also believe that life should mean life. It is only soft-headed Liberals that can interpret life as 25 years or 15 years or maybe even 10 years. Where does it end? While Canadians believe life should mean life, and while Canadians believe that savage murderers should be treated appropriately in sentencing, the minister does not believe that, not this Liberal minister, not those Liberals across the way, save for a few of them.

Bill C-45 demonstrates how the minister believes that life should mean life for the bad murderers, those who would kill more than one person, but not for the good murderers, those who would stop at one. When we analyse the minister's thinking, one wonders whether in fact the Prime Minister perhaps erred in his choice when he picked him. We have seen nothing but weak-kneed bleeding heart pieces of legislation by the justice minister which do not deal at all with the concerns of Canadians.

Let us get to the redundancy. Bill C-45 would outlaw section 745 reviews for those who commit multiple murders. This provision is absolutely redundant. Multiple murderers do not get out now. Historically they never get out of jail. What on earth is the Minister of Justice trying to pull here? Is he trying to tell Canadians that in spite of the fact that multiple murderers never get out now, this clause is going to ensure that they will never get out? Big deal. They are either getting out early or they are not. The fact is that they are not. What is the use of the bill?

The use of the bill, once again, is that the Minister of Justice is trying sucker Canadians, is trying to mislead them into thinking that the Liberal government cares about what Canadians are feeling. That is the purpose of the bill. Unfortunately we have a minister who is not being honest with the Canadian people.

To talk about multiple murderers again, I introduced a private member's bill last year that would have looked after this. It called for consecutive sentencing for those who are convicted of one or more crimes. If the government had not been so afraid to deal with that bill, the minister would not have had to bring in Bill C-45 because consecutive sentencing for multiple murderers would have looked after this. It would have ensured that they never got out.

Those who kill only one person are entitled to a section 745 review. Now the minister is telling us that he has the ability, he has the vision to pigeon hole murderers into good murderer or bad murderer categories. That is an absolutely audacious way to think.

I have to ask: Is one life any less precious than three lives, than two lives, than five lives? Is one life any less precious? Does the destruction of one life have any less effect on the victim's family and friends? It seems the minister believes it is okay to allow them to go through the torture of a section 745 review: If a murderer kills just one person, then let us allow them to go through the review; let us bring in the victim's family and friends so they can relive this thing over again, so they can see and hear about this savage beast that has taken the life of one of their family members or friends.

The minister must think that is all right because that is the line he is trying to peddle us today. However, it is not okay in the minister's judgment, which is questionable at best, to allow the family and friends of a victim of a multiple murderer to go through a section 745 review. No, it is not okay to do that. If someone kills five or six people, the victims' friends and families should not have to go through the review, but according to the minister it is okay to put the victim's family and friends through it if just one person has been killed.

That is the justice minister's logic. There is no rationale to it. Is the family of one victim somehow better to handle the rigours of reliving its worst nightmare during a section 745 review? Is that what the minister thinks? Only the Minister of Justice can answer these questions. Think about it. Only this minister would have the audacity to create categories of murderers, some deserving of leniency and some not. Only from this Liberal justice minister. If defies all imagination.

This is only part of Bill C-45. There are two other amendments to section 745. One of the other amendments would assure that those entitled to a hearing would first have to be screened by a superior court judge. The judge would look at all the facts and determine if the applicant had a chance of success before allowing the hearing to proceed.

Under the present system murderers are automatically entitled to a section 745 review. Considering that over 72 per cent of section 745 applicants are successful in having their parole ineligibility period reduced, it is highly unlikely that judges will be rejecting a great deal of the applications. The history has been set for these reviews.

Let us remember that judges are appointed in this country. Generally speaking, but almost 100 per cent of the time, the judges who are appointed tend to reflect the philosophy of the government of the day. We can be sure the Liberal government has its own judges out there reflecting its philosophy. We have seen the sentencing.

Referring to Bill C-201, in this country people can drive and people can drink. They can kill one, two or three people and receive about three years for that crime, that 100 per cent preventable crime. This is because the judges are reflective of this Liberal government's philosophy. When I brought the bill before the House, the Minister of Justice instructed his parliamentary secretary not to allow any members of the Liberal Party to speak in favour of it. Why? Because the Liberals do not want public

awareness raised to the point that they will have to make some meaningful changes. That is why.

That is why the Minister of Justice will not let his members speak in favour of bills that reflect the thinking of the Canadian people. That is why the Minister of Justice is hog tying his fellow members who support stiffer sentencing and stiffer methods of dealing with criminals. It is because it is not in their philosophy.

It goes back to the Pierre Trudeau days. When Mr. Trudeau and his government came to power all of a sudden individuals were not responsible for their actions; it was society that made them that way. That philosophy is still embedded deeply in every one of those Liberals who are sitting across the way, save for a few of them who have their heads screwed on straight.

The minister constantly inserts cosmetic changes in an attempt to make it appear as if he is toughening up the section. The insertion of these new procedural hurdles is not the kind of change Canadians are looking for. It simply does not and will not do the job. They do not want a system where murderers simply have to jump through a few more hoops to get out of prison, when just a few cosmetic changes will make it okay for them to be released. They do not want a system that deals appropriately with criminals. The Liberals do not want a system that reflects the feelings of Canadians toward criminals. Canadian want them put in jail forever when they savagely take the life of someone. But not this minister and most of the Liberals across the way.

Canadians want killers incarcerated for a minimum of 25 years. As a matter of fact, if the government had the guts to hold a national referendum on the death penalty for first degree murder, it would find that an overwhelming number of Canadian would vote in favour of it. But not these Liberals and not this Liberal Minister of Justice. They simply do not have the guts to deal with reality because it conflicts with their Trudeau-like philosophy.

Canadians want section 745 abolished, killed, scrapped just like they wanted done with the GST. They want section 745 taken out of the Criminal Code. If someone is sentenced to prison for savagely taking the life of another person, Canadians want them put in jail forever. Liberals cannot deny that. They know it but they are afraid to act on it because they have no backbone.

The last amendment offered in the bill ensures that juries hearing a section 745 application would have to be unanimous in their decision to reduce an applicant's parole ineligibility period. The present system only requires agreement among two-thirds of the jurors for an application to be successful.

We currently have an unbelievable condition which was established in 1976 by, guess who? A bleeding heart Liberal government. Many of those members from 1976 are still dictating this bleeding heart philosophy about criminals.

The new requirement is an improvement over the current system, but the fact remains that section 745 should not exist. It should be out of there. At second reading of a private member's bill the House voted overwhelmingly for the bill to go forward. The Liberals voted for it. Where is it now? It is stuck in committee and it will probably get buried there because the government has no guts.