Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Crowfoot asked a perfectly legitimate question which, to all intents and purposes, I answered in my 20-minute speech just now when I said victims must be heard.
The problem today is, when are the victims included in the process? At the trial, when the evidence is heard and they are asked to testify, but afterwards they are dropped, just when they need the support of society. They have suffered the loss of a dear one who is irreplaceable.
Of course, just attending the hearing provided under section 745 may be stressful. I realize that, and you may rest assured I have every sympathy for the victims.
However, after hearing the victims and giving them the broadest possible hearing and every facility for making themselves heard, both by the jury and the National Parole Board-that is where the problem is, in my opinion-when the process is finished, we must rely on an impartial body, in my opinion the jury, and ultimately the National Parole Board, to determine whether or not the offender should be released.
Notwithstanding the grief and pain of the victims and their right to show that pain and to be heard, the decision is not up to them. They cannot distance themselves. They are too involved emotionally. But as long as we do not give victims and their families a better chance to be heard and to explain their personal grief and that of their family and their friends, and how this has affected their lives, to be heard by the National Parole Board and the juries empanelled under section 745, we will not be on the right track, because these people will be frustrated, and rightly so, because of what can happen to them under the present rule of law.
That is why I say the Bill C-45 has solved nothing and we must keep fighting for victims' right to be heard.