Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Motion M-306, presented by the hon. member for Mississauga South.
Although the hon. member already mentioned the following, we must give credit where credit is due. As far as the business of Parliament is concerned, which includes bills and motions, the hon. member for Mississauga South has, in the course of this Parliament, introduced a number of bills. He has done an outstanding job, whether or not we agree with the motions and bills he drafted and so valiantly defended before the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
It is always reassuring to see a member who works so hard at the business of Parliament, something we were all elected to do.
The debate on the motion of the hon. member for Mississauga South is right on time, since next Monday in Ottawa there will be a meeting of the Canadian Police Association, whose members will take advantage of this opportunity next week to meet parliamentarians, make them aware of their problems and try to determine certain priorities for dealing with matters of public safety.
This contribution by the Canadian Police Association is much appreciated, for instance, by the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs on which I have had the honour to sit since the beginning of the 35th Parliament. Every time we had bills concerning the Criminal Code and public safety, the Canadian Police Association usually appeared with thorough and informed studies and shared its expertise acquired in the field.
For that reason alone, we as legislators owe a debt of gratitude to the Canadian Police Association. They helped us improve certain bills and in many cases prompted the tabling of bills aimed at increasing public safety.
As parliamentarians we are, of course, concerned about public safety, and we pass legislation accordingly. However, we too often forget those who are on the front line, and to take a leaf from the book of the hon. member for Mississauga South, I will talk about those who are on the firing line and mention a few figures. It is said dozens of police officers have been shot. These are not traffic accidents, this is murder, sordid crimes, in most cases.
It is always a shock to a community to see police officers die in the line of duty, specially when it is the result of a criminal act. Those who are supposed to protect us also deserve to be protected by a legislative framework that shows respect for the work done by the men and women who serve society and provides adequate compensation for their families in case of death.
The hon. member for Mississauga South was right when he said that when a person dies in the prime of life, that person is usually not in a position to provide his family with the same standard of living he was able to provide during his lifetime.
Motion M-306 suggests establishing a fund that would not be a government fund but would collect donations from all parts of Canada and even outside the country. When tragedies occur, or even when a police officer dies, some people want to make a contribution to charity. This would be an excellent way to encourage Canadians to make contributions in the name of police officers and, of course, firefighters. They could do so for peace officers in general, even for crossing guards, who often more anonymously put their lives on the line to protect society's youngest members, our children.
So, we will certainly not oppose a central fund such as this. I see it as a progressive measure that will make more money available for victims.
Our society too often tends to forget the victims, not only the murder victims, but the survivors who must mourn a loss and live with the financial consequences of a criminal act.
I think a central fund for contributions would be a modest gesture on our part. It would of course be given the tax protection afforded by the Income Tax Act for registered charities. We would have not only a basic instrument, but the means to provide economic security to the bereaved families of public safety officers, too many of whom lose their lives in the line of duty, because obviously we cannot bring back the person.
Finally, since it is a sort of collective bereavement, where society mourns the death of those representing public order, I think everyone would feel the better for it.
So, on behalf of the official opposition, I am pleased to support Motion No. 306 tabled by the hon. member for Mississauga South.