Mr. Speaker, this is a good case where the Bloc has contributed in an exceptional way to improve a bill or even to impose its vision on some matters.
I take this opportunity to commend the hon. member for Québec, who was one of the people that started this whole debate on sex tourism, excision and other related matters in Bill C-27.
However, as is often the case with the Liberal Party, the opposition had to take the initiative and to introduce private bills to get it to respond. Bill C-27 is a blatant example of that: the hon. member for Québec introduced a series of bills, among others, on sex tourism, as well as sex tourism in other countries, so that the government would budge.
The hon. member for Québec did not merely introduce a bill. Since the government tabled Bill C-27, which we are examining, the hon. member, as well as the official opposition, have very closely followed the committee work. Testimony heard in committee indicated that the bill fell short on some things, so we tried to co-operate with the government, to move some amendments so that Bill C-27 would come as close as possible to meeting the objectives of the private member's bills tabled by the hon. member for Québec, particularly with regard to sex tourism.
A number of witnesses told us that this Liberal bill does not go far enough, and that we should give it more teeth if we are to get effective results in protecting sexually abused children in third world countries.
Despite the support we had from some women's groups, social interest groups and even legal experts, the Liberal government waited until the last minute to move amendments to try to meet the demands of the Bloc Quebecois. Even these last minute amendments failed to support our goals in dealing with sex tourism.
That is why, once again, the official opposition felt it had a professional obligation to put forward in this House an amendment about the extraterritorial impact. I invite government members to think very seriously before coming out for or against the amendment put forward by the hon. member for Québec in the overall context of the implementation of this bill.
In some third world countries, in Asia, in India, sex tourism is a very profitable industry. In spite of the government's last minute amendments, we have to understand that any country where sex tourism exists must submit a request to Canada so that the attorney general can prosecute the individual who committed the offence in that country.
Tell me what country where sex tourism is known to exist, where it is tolerated, would do that. According to witnesses, there even are countries that favour sex tourism because it is good for the local economy. Considering the clause that is before us, why would those countries themselves ask the Canadian government to prosecute someone who practised sex tourism on their territory? None will do it. Those are often countries which encourage sex tourism.
The amendment put forward by the hon. member for Quebec aims at giving the Canadian government the power to prosecute individuals who commit the crime. I understand there are issues of territoriality and extraterritoriality. However, we should not forget that the law aims at protecting the young.
Again, several young people who appeared before the committee told how individuals sexually abused them. Often, it is Canadians who go to other countries, and it is people who know them who sexually abuse these children, these young women or young men.
I think that the amendment presented by the member has only one purpose, that is to better protect the children. If there is a problem with enforcement, we will take care of it as we go along, but we must at least help the families and the victims by giving the Attorney General of Canada the ability to prosecute those who sexually abuse children and who even profit from sexual tourism.
In closing, I ask all the hon. members on the government side to read very carefully the amendment; it is very short, but very broad in scope. If they have the time, they should also read the testimony of some young people who came before the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs to complain about the fact that Bill C-27, which was introduced by the government party, falls short of the objective sought.
I think that the amendment moved by the hon. member for Québec should be adopted because it would correct a deficiency in the bill as written by the Liberal government. In the case of Bill
C-27, as in the case of several other bills, we see that the government has tabled a series of amendments and a bill, and following the testimony of a number of people before the committee, the government intends to make further amendments. This is akin to tabling a bill without knowing what consequences it will have or considering all the possibilities it will open up.
Although they may have done so in the case of a number of other clauses, I think they failed to amend this particular clause and go as far as the hon. member for Quebec was suggesting. That is why the Bloc Quebecois will vote in favour of this amendment to Bill C-27, and I would ask that the government give this amendment serious consideration. I hope it will also vote in favour of the amendment, with the official opposition, so as to improve the bill and help it achieve its objective to protect children.