Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in debate on this supply day motion.
Let me start out by saying that although I am not surprised I am somewhat disappointed that some members of the Liberal Party have lost sight of the issue we are debating today. They have chosen not to put forward substantive debate backed up with sound thinking but have resorted to slander and vicious attacks on members of my party.
I point out particularly the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women who spoke earlier, the member for Kitchener—Waterloo, the member for Windsor—St. Clair and now most recently the member for Mississauga West.
If I had to choose a title for my debate today it would be just who is running the country anyway. I chose that title because I am often asked it as a member of parliament by constituents who have become aware of a seemingly insane or idiotic judicial decision been made somewhere in the country. The phone rings in my riding and I hear from a mad constituent who is asking “What on earth are you guys doing allowing judges to make decisions like that? I thought parliament was running the country. Just who is running the country?” That is the question which I think supports the supply day motion today.
In this supreme court decision we have a body of judges that was given the power through the 1982 constitution to undermine laws made in the Chamber. There was a time before the 1982 constitution when the House reflected democracy in a rather pure form. Representatives who came to the House were sent here by the people who elected them to represent the views of their people.
As I understand it, that is what a House of Commons or a parliament is for. Elected, accountable parliamentarians should be able to come to the House to debate and truly represent not only the people of their ridings but the overall feeling in society. Perhaps that is where some Liberal members have become confused. Maybe they have forgotten exactly what democracy is.
Through the constitution power and responsibility were passed on to judges to undermine laws that have been debated and set in the House. I accuse former Prime Minister Trudeau of making a provision in the constitution that forever allowed parliament to abrogate its responsibility to make decisions that may not be seen as popular by some factions in the country. He simply provided the tool through the constitution so that parliament did not have to do anything but sort of maintain the status quo, carry on and make decisions that can be called, at best, middle of the road, fence sitting type laws. That responsibility was given to the judiciary. It is wrong that judges should have the power to say to parliament that they will rewrite the law and at the stroke of a pen simply do that.
The case mentioned in the supply day motion today, the Rosenberg case, is an example of that as the member for Dewdney—Alouette pointed out so appropriately. This body of judges took a standing law of parliament and did not make a recommendation that in their opinion parliament should redress the particular law. They did not say that. They did not recommend or come up with a report that parliament should revisit and debate it. They unilaterally made a decision to rewrite a law which affects the lives of every Canadian living in the country. The judges rewrote it. It was not debated in the House. It was made by a small group of appointed, unelected and unaccountable people.
We as politicians, as representatives of the Canadian people, simply cannot allow that to happen. We can allow judges to interpret the law given their best judgment. We can allow judges to carry out the laws that were laid down in the House. That is their job. However we cannot allow judges to make new laws. That is job of the House.
The fears pointed out by the member for Mississauga West about how a majority of one party, a government, could simply run roughshod over parliament and the people of the country is actually a supportive position for a triple-E Senate.
That House in a true democratic fashion should be elected. It should have equal representation from all parts of the country, even the areas that simply have rocks and trees and a few people. It should be able to be effective in changing the views of this House which is represented by population. I thank the member for making our case on a triple-E Senate. If we got that, some of the fears that this member had would not be present.
This is not an isolated case of judges making laws. As the member for Calgary Centre pointed out, there are a number of different cases and he pointed to the Feeney case. Here was a case where the police were carrying out their job of catching the bad guys—which I think is what they are there for—and bringing them to justice. The supreme court ruled that they can no longer carry out their job in this fashion. They can no longer go into a place where they know there is substantive evidence to convict unless they get a special warrant. This has thrown the whole concept of police work into huge uncertainty.
This decision was made by a judge, not by this place. Not by the Parliament of Canada. As a result of this judge's decision, a person who was convicted of a savage murder is walking free. In some fuzzy logic of a judge's mind, this decision was made.
The court in the Delgamuukw case has taken upon itself the responsibility to deal with the aboriginal land claims in this country. It has to be the Parliament of Canada that does that, not a body of judges. The body of judges may make recommendations to the Parliament of Canada and urge the Parliament of Canada to deal with them. They cannot make decisions themselves.
We can talk about the Singh case, the immigration case regarding refugee hearings. This decision, made by an unelected, unaccountable board, a group of judges, caused a huge upheaval in the refugee system. It cost the taxpayers millions of dollars and created an untold backlog of cases because the courts, the judges, chose not to make recommendations but to change the law.
I hope the members opposite will see clearly the point of this debate. The debate is that it is the Parliament of Canada that must become and continue to be supreme in the law making of this country.