Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-37. I would like to say right off the bat that I am in absolute opposition to this bill as are my colleagues but perhaps for different reasons.
My reasoning is that nowhere in this government's philosophy, nowhere in any type of justice legislation it has brought down pertaining to judges and the judiciary have I ever seen the word accountability. The fact is there is zero accountability for judges in this country. There is no effective mechanism that this government or the previous Tory government have put in or would be prepared to use to remove judges from the bench.
In many cases in their fuzzy logic they have let violent criminals walk out of the courtroom with little or no penalty. Judges have used the conditional sentencing law that the Liberal government brought down in the most insane ways we could possibly imagine. Judges have continually bewildered our society with some of the decisions that have been made in this country.
I can give the example of something which is near and dear to my heart, the issue of people who choose to drink and then to get into their cars, drive and kill people. Judges have a latitude of sentencing from zero to 14 years. Historically the sentences have been on the low side of three and a half years.
There is no way to hold these judges accountable for the insane decisions they make. Now this government has the audacity to bring in Bill C-37 to give them more money. The insane legislation in Bill C-37 takes no back seat to some of the insane decisions that are made by the judges in this country. They do it and there is no accountability. Before this House begins to even consider any type of salary increase or a compensation increase for judges, the government had better darn well do what it should do. It should bring in some legislation that will make judges accountable before it even considers giving them a single cent more.
Then they have the audacity to suggest an 8.3% increase over two years plus they want to talk about annuities, payments and survivor benefits. It is very clear these are the very people who are setting the bad guys free after the RCMP have worked their butts off to get them to court. The RCMP are getting little or nothing by way of salary increases, the ones who do all the work, only to see all their work for naught because the bad guys are set free by some judge with some fuzzy logic in his head about what his or her definition of justice is.
Never in my lifetime would I ever support this package on Bill C-37 until there was an ounce of accountability brought in by this Liberal government. Never.
I want to get off judges for a minute and talk about the way this Liberal government deals with the justice system or, as my colleague from Prince George—Peace River said quite appropriately, the legal system in this country.
All over this country people are upset about the legal system and is it any wonder when we look at the Liberals in government and the Tories before them. A good percentage of them were lawyers anyway in their past life. Not their real life; they say their past life. Why would they do anything else but support their friends who are still in the system out there? That is what they have done.
The legal system, the so-called justice system we have in this country is not doing what it is supposed to do. It is not protecting society. It is not punishing the bad guys. It is feeding the coffers of the legal people who make a very good living defending the scoundrels who come before the judges. They are very good at it and they charge lots of money. Why would a government want to do anything to hurt its buddies out there in the legal business?
This government should be making the number one priority in the criminal justice system the protection of law-abiding citizens and the protection of society. That is what it should be doing. The former Minister of Justice, now the disgraced Minister of Health, said in this House last year that the number one criteria in the justice system is the rehabilitation and reintegration of criminals back into society.
That made us all sleep well that night. It made Canadians feel really good that the Liberal government was looking after the safety of their homes, the safety of their streets, the safety of their families, the safety of their wives and their husbands. It gave them a really empty feeling inside that they were not living in a safe society and they had little hope of it because the Liberal government under the former Minister of Justice had no concern about the safety of their streets and their families.
Government members would do well to listen to Canadian people instead of their lawyer friends out there in legal land. They would do well to get out in the street and talk to the people instead of drinking cappuccino with their lawyer buddies in the restaurants beside the law courts. They would do well to listen to the real people out there. If they did they would start to address some issues where there is a huge void.
Let us talk about our prison system. In case anybody does not know, a prison is a place where bad guys go when they are incarcerated to pay a penalty for committing crimes. That is what prisons are supposed to be for. Prisons are not supposed to be places where there are prisoners' unions which tell the warden what kind of meals or what kind of recreation prisoners should have.
I understand that people are not supposed to have drugs in prisons. Safeguards are supposed to be in place to make sure drugs do not get into prisons. Canadians know that many times it was the drugs they obtained outside prison that got them into prison in the first place.
Logic would tell us that if there were no drugs inside the prisons people might get better. They might be rehabilitated so they could somehow go back into society. Drugs put them there. Liberals have a hard time making that connection: drugs put them there so let us give them more drugs so that when they get out they will be better citizens. They do not stop the flow of drugs. They say they will give the poor guys in there clean needles so they can use their drugs in a safer fashion and condoms so they can have sex—