Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk for a minute about some of the things the member talked about with regard to cutbacks to the RCMP on the west coast. This is a major ongoing concern and it is not going to go away.
We are now going into the winter months and these so-called temporary measures that have been enacted to try to make up for what the government is calling overspending are going to take us to at least April. We are now in a circumstance, well described by my colleague, where the airplanes and helicopters are in the hangar and the boats are docked.
In the past, for example, we had members who would work a shift and then would be on call for eight hours for which they would receive one hour of overtime. That was precious little compensation for being basically on tap for an additional eight hours. That one hour of overtime is now gone and the members of the RCMP in our area are expected to carry on as if this is fine. In actual fact, none of this was created by them.
This was all created by Ottawa and by not forwarding moneys through E division. The reason we ended up with an $8 million so-called shortfall has everything to do with court costs and with extra things that happened. For example, there was a multiple murder in my riding. One case like that can put the taxman's budget well over. We cannot plan for contingencies like that. These are major investigations.
The public is becoming more and more uncomfortable. Basic policing is something that government should be providing. That is a prime responsibility. I am glad to see that the solicitor general is in the House to hear what I am saying, because this cannot carry on. It is affecting overtime monitoring, our helicopters, our boats and our airplanes. It is affecting capital spending. It is affecting the future of the RCMP. The training centre in Regina is now shut down. It is affecting morale on an ongoing basis. This is just not acceptable. Anyone who has small communities in their riding knows that what used to be slim coverage is now skimpy or non-existent.
We have huge areas on the coast where the Criminal Code, drug interdiction and other things are not being enforced. They cannot be enforced because there is nobody there. That is my comment.
My question for my colleague relates to the fact that this is obviously an omnibus bill. It takes in everything from gambling to homicide, child prostitution, conditional sentencing, organized crime, telemarketing fraud and so on. This makes it very difficult. One can support nine measures out of 10 and get oneself into a bit of knot on a piece of legislation like this.
I guess the prime area of concern would be with conditional sentencing, at least from my perspective. We still have in conditional sentencing a huge loophole. It is being applied to violent offenders despite previous justice ministers telling us that would never happen. We also have a much smaller loophole being closed by this legislation.
I would like to ask my colleague to comment on the omnibus nature of this bill and also to elaborate on the RCMP funding situation.