Mr. Speaker, once again I rise in the house to speak to yet another piece of criminal justice legislation from the government.
People across the country should pay a great deal of heed to the words of my hon. colleague from Crowfoot, who happens to be one of the more knowledgeable people in the country on legislative matters. They should also pay heed to what members on this side of the House have to say.
I have heard a great deal in the House about victims rights, conditional sentencing and a lot of issues that matter to people across the country. I grow increasingly concerned that the government is addressing the issues either in a very small, half hearted manner or not addressing them at all. As we get closer to the election-some say it is as early as two weeks away-I find it greatly disturbing that the government all of a sudden throws a bunch of legislation on the table, knowing full well it will not become law.
It is probably one of the worst signs of misinforming people. Government members say what they will do, table it and ask people to vote for them, but they will not get it anyway. That is probably the height of deceit, quite frankly, in Canada.
I have heard it all this week and last week as I asked and asked and asked questions of the justice minister. I heard statements regarding the victims bill of rights, that the government has done a lot for victims.
The minister has no idea of what we are talking about in victims rights. Victims rights are not an amendment to the Criminal Code. It is meant to be a guiding light for the Criminal Code.
We do not want amendments to section 745 that cover an isolated part of early release. We want something that overrides and says that victims can have the right to victim impact statements at any time, regardless of what article of the Criminal Code applies. That is what we are asking for. For them to say that they have helped victims by an amendment they made to section 742 is not what this is all about.
It is important that those listening in Ontario understand what we are saying. We need the assistance of the people in Ontario, Atlantic Canada and Quebec to make sure the government gets the very clear message that it has failed to represent the people in the 35th Parliament.
As I travel through Atlantic Canada I know the feelings of the people there. They are concerned. It is time for decisions to be made in these parts of the country. They will take one step forward and say that traditional governments have not accomplished what we want them to accomplish.
It is 1997 and we have a bigger crime problem than we have ever had. This group in government will say that is not the case, but it certainly is the case. It is 1997 and nothing has been done about the unity issue. They are still munching on their MP pensions like there is no tomorrow. This party has declined to do so. It is time to truly look beyond the status quo and take charge by putting the people in power. This is what it is all about.
I asked some questions today relative to conditional sentences. I was alarmed to hear the justice minister suggest that the situation in my riding with Darren Ursel was a less serious situation. I assure the House and all Canadians watching today that this is anything but less serious. I tabled in the House 13,000 names on a petition showing that they are concerned.
I do not want to go through those details any more. Suffice it to say a terrible sexual offence has occurred and the perpetrator of the crime did not serve one day in jail. The judge said that he was tender at times, that he was sorry for what he did and that it was his first conviction.
Folks who are watching should think how they would feel about what occurred in that court room if it was their daughter or wife. How would they feel it they complained about it to the justice minister and he said it was a less serious crime?
I have talked in the House about that situation. The justice minister said that amendments had been made to conditional sentences. The fact is that he is not making the simple amendment everybody is looking for. He should exclude serious offenders from conditional sentences. He says that it is in a court of appeal. Who cares?
Today I had in my hands three cases of sex offenders who were getting conditional sentences. I do not believe two of them are being appealed. The justice minister should not stand and try to give us hogwash that conditional sentences are okay and will be fixed up some time. They are not okay.
My hon. friend from Crowfoot says he will count on the court of appeal. The court of appeal only deals with one case. I had three in my hand today. It is getting frustrating.
People in the rest of Canada where there are no elected Reform MPs should consider what is going on here. It is very terrible. This Ursel character should have done time in jail. If that were my daughter or my wife who was treated the way this lady was treated, I do not know what I would do in this land where there is supposed to be justice. The victim is wondering where the justice system is. She tells me that she does not think the justice minister cares about her. Quite frankly I do not think he does either. If he had one hoot of care for the lady he would change the system. It is too bad we live in a country run by a Liberal government that is seriously deficient in matters of criminal justice.
All last week my colleagues and I asked questions in the House. The justice minister suggested that we were exploiting people. That came very close to slander, but let us let the man do what he thinks he should do. We were sticking up for the rights of victims. If there is any exploitation, it is the minister getting a letter from a victims rights group and waltzing into the House trying to justify his actions over the last three years and saying that group was happy to send it to him on that basis. I do not believe that to be true. We will pursue that a little more this week.
What are we to do? We have conditional sentences now. It is a heck of a mess. We have victims rights that have gone nowhere. Three weeks before the election call the government finds it in its heart to do something about victims rights, only to be able to go out during the election campaign and ask: "Guess who we are for?" That is what this other party from Jurassic Park has done.