Mr. Speaker, as always it is a pleasure to rise to speak. It strikes me as somewhat unfortunate, as it seems that the four or five times I have spoken this spring my presentations have been interrupted by that one hour question period. Today continues what has been set as a tradition for my presentations.
I remark at the outset in reply to the government House leader who just spoke about legislation we have to deal with and he hoped we would not have to have evening sittings. I think that is certainly the hope of everyone.
The reality is, if the option is that the opposition just cease being opposition and we rubber stamp everything that the government has brought forward in order that we can get all this legislation, this heavy load as he called it, through, that is not going to happen. If it requires that we sit well into the evening over the next couple of weeks, then that is what we will be doing in order to represent the concerns of Canadians who live and work out in the real world. They have some very deep concerns with the legislation the government wants to ram through the House of Commons.
When we adjourned the debate just prior to question period I was in the midst of talking about Bill C-37, specifically about Motion No. 2. We are at report stage of Bill C-37, an act to amend the Judges Act. Motion No. 2, which was brought forward by my colleague from Crowfoot, deals with accountability and having the reports of future recommendations by the commission that will be set up under Bill C-37 to consider judges' compensation, wages and benefits packages brought before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
What I was getting at is that this is really an issue of accountability, of bringing an element of public scrutiny to these reports. In this way the general public can have some input through their opposition members of parliament at the standing committee as to what they feel is fair compensation for our nation's judges.
What bothers Canadians most about the issue of an 8.3% increase in salary for judges? I suspect that probably what bothers them most is some of the rulings that they see from some of the judges. I want to be very clear in saying that it is some of the judges, not all of them. A lot of them are making judgments and rulings that are defensible to the general public. Certainly increasingly it seems that there is one underlying theme running through a lot of the judgments that come down from our courts.
Earlier in talking to report stage Motion No. 1 of Bill C-37 I referred to three specific cases that are fairly well known in my riding of Prince George—Peace River, the Feeney, Solomon and Baldwin cases and ultimately the judgments that were rendered with those cases. My concern is I do not feel that in a lot of the cases where the judges are actually legislating or making law rather than fairly interpreting the law that their decisions are supported by the general public.
I hear this increasingly from my constituents and I think the Feeney case is a classic example. It does not seem to matter any longer whether an accused is innocent or guilty. What seems to matter is whether it is legal or illegal. The courts seem to be more concerned about technicalities rather than guilt or innocence. There is something sadly lacking in our legal system which is masquerading as a justice system today.
We will not be supporting this bill. We do not feel that the Canadian public at this time will defend an 8.3% increase in judges' salaries when they cannot understand or support a lot of the decisions that these same judges are making.