Mr. Speaker, it appears that I am lucky enough to be the last speaker for the last few minutes on this debate. It is like being the hammer rock in curling; hopefully if one is witty enough maybe one can just clear house.
It has been far too broad and expansive a debate to even try to summarize things. I would like to use these last few moments to add a couple of points to what has already been put on the table.
Everybody here will agree that crime, punishment, safety and justice are issues we hear about in our ridings all the time. It does not matter what our political stripe is. Canadians are talking about them and Canadians want to talk about them.
I am always amazed at how with the same set of circumstances we can come up with two so different sets of conclusions.
What we have heard for most of the day from the majority of the Reform Party speakers is an ongoing barrage about tougher enforcement, more boot camps, more prisons, lock them up and hang them high. It hearkens back to the day when Spanky wanted to go to Singapore, buy a stick and learn how to beat children better.
We really have not heard anything innovative from the Reform Party, with the exception of the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca who actually brought a very balanced approach to the whole day. I am glad he spoke toward the end because there are many parts of his remarks which I can certainly work with. The Reform Party has one view of the world by and large. The member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca is clearly in contrast with most of his political party. He smiles in front of it intellectually.
The Reform Party says one thing. The NDP would much rather talk about victims rights than increased levels of punishment. We have tabled documents in the province of Manitoba. The NDP was very well received in terms of taking care of victims rights but also in taking care of the root causes of crime.
I mentioned the aboriginal community when I rose for one of my interventions. There was the shocking, horrifying fact that the Kingston women's penitentiary was 100% aboriginal population, that every single woman there was aboriginal for a period of time in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. The figure is still hugely disproportionate to the population. Three or four per cent of the population is aboriginal. Seventy or eighty or ninety per cent of the prison population are aboriginal. Something is clearly wrong when there are figures like that. This needs to be addressed.
In the province I come from it is a very real issue. I know that if I had been walking home instead of J. J. Harper one winter evening, I may have been stopped by the police but I probably would not have died that night. I know that if Helen Betty Osborne had been a white girl rather than an Indian girl, it would not have taken 16 years to solve her murder. It would have been a far more pressing issue. People would have seized themselves of the issue.
Obviously the issue of the aboriginal people and their presence in our penal institutions and our justice system needs to be addressed first and foremost. I am surprised that was not one of the main focuses of the Reform Party's motion today.
We have seen the U.S. model. We heard ideas about boot camps and other things that are clearly from the U.S. We saw what happened in the U.S. as it tried to lock up a whole generation of young black men. That was the solution to crime in the United States. The U.S. tried to lock up a whole generation.
The U.S. built more prisons and then privatized them, turning them into for profit ventures. Private prisons, what a concept. Locking people up for profit. I am surprised this did not come from the camp to my left because it is clearly in keeping with its ideology.
Prisons are big business in Canada too. The one thing I would like to use my last moment to comment on is the privatization of the education system within our Canadian prisons. Former Correctional Service Canada employees are quitting their jobs and contracting out the education of inmates on a for profit basis, and they are not the low bidder. In the prairie region, the contracting company's bid was millions of dollars higher than that of Evergreen School Division which used to deliver the service, quality service at a lower cost.
It makes one wonder. If we care about this kind of thing at all, why would we pay more money for less service? When I say less service, the contracting company owned by former Correctional Service Canada employees is not even licensed to give any kind of credit for the high school training given. More money is being paid for less service and the graduates do not even get any kind of credentials when they leave the system.
Penal institutions for profit and the privatization of the education system within the jails are things I wanted to point out.