Mr. Speaker, the new name of the riding is Haliburton—Victoria—Brock. It reflects the fact that there is only one Haliburton. There are three Victorias and many Brocks. The name change reflects that.
I am pleased to enter the debate on Bill C-68. I have not gotten over the last C-68 we had in here. I did not think I would ever want to get up and speak on anything that had anything to do with C-68.
In this case however, the people of Haliburton—Victoria—Brock had a direct say in the drafting of this bill. I was able to have some input into this bill and indirectly to the solicitor general's bill which we debated in Minden on October 4. That allowed for the Criminal Records Act to be changed so that people's names could be entered into a register, for example sexual predators and pedophiles in particular.
I listened to the member for Calgary Southwest, the Leader of the Opposition. He has a rather simplistic approach. He talks first about punishment and asks how society will be protected. He tries to transpose the idea into people's minds that the more people are punished, the more they will be rehabilitated. I find that kind of offensive.
To my credit, and sometimes I think to my detriment, I was a member of the society that looked after parole. As an officer in that role I came in contact with many police officers. I conducted a number of parole hearings just as the Young Offenders Act changes were coming in a few years ago. I saw repeat and repeat offenders at age 18 being brought back into the system as young offenders. They were teaching crime to young offenders who maybe would only have come into the system once and then would have been rehabilitated and reintegrated into society. Had they been taught values for the first time, they would have had a better chance in society.
That was a simplistic approach by the Leader of the Opposition, the member for Calgary Southwest. The member for Calgary Northeast wanted to study caning. He thought that caning people would somehow cure people from committing crimes. I do not know whether he was going to study the stroke or the intensity. He never did tell me what it was that turned his crank to want to do that. It seems Calgary has this thing about beating everybody into submission.
I have some examples as a parole officer. People 14 years old who have been beaten, hung by their heels, put down all their lives need help. They do not need another beating. Another beating will do totally nothing for them, except turn them further and further away from what they need to be rehabilitated in order to be constructive, contributing members of society.
That is what this bill tends to look at. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that the government can be blamed, everyone can be blamed, but blaming the system for someone murdering someone else is part of the problem. It is not all of the problem.
The fact that we will punish people who sign someone out of an institution and say they will take care of them is a good step. I do not think that should be taken lightly. A person who commits a crime and intends to commit another crime will not to be stopped by having their mother sign them out of the institution. If they are going to reoffend, they will reoffend.
We have to find a way to reach that person, to teach them values, to show them perhaps for the first time values. In studying some of the personal things, some of the parts of the Young Offenders Act that I was involved in, as a parent I went to court seven times. Two judges did not last through the proceedings. We came to our third judge before finally they talked about sentencing. Was it to be closed custody or open custody for the person who offended was what I was a witness for.
Look at the court system, which I tend to have the highest respect for even though I am not a lawyer. Being a real estate agent we just made all their money for them. I hear my lawyer friends getting upset about that. The fact is it is a good part of their practice. When they are able to delay and delay and to wait until the witness does not show up of whom they have a question to ask and the case is dismissed, I find that part has to be taken into account and has to be treated very seriously in the criminal justice system. It is something where police officers are continually asked to appear in court to be witnesses, which takes up valuable time they need to chase criminals. Instead of that they end up in court and in a situation where they are off the street. Many times they are dealing with people who have been through system many times. They know how the system works better than police officers, better than lawyers, better than judges and certainly better than the prosecutors.
Bill C-68 is not perfect. Anyone who thinks perfect law will be passed here which changes society will be disappointed. Everything has to be tested in the court system. When we test a law in the court system it is done by the experience of working it through, by having it exposed to the many people who become involved in that system to see how the legislation works.
Going back to my friend, the hon. solicitor general, when he brought in the publishing of the names of pedophiles, I think that was a very positive step in our criminal justice system. It allows institutions, boys and girls clubs, people who coach hockey, people who are involved in the youth system, to do background checks on people to find out if they have previous experience. Even if they have been pardoned it will show up in the system as they go from province to province. Changing their name is another problem that exists in the system. People change their names. They have a clean slate and they have been pardoned under another name. That legislation is good because it comes from the problems of community groups and how they want to interact with the youth justice system and with the criminal justice system.
Allowing an adult sentence for a youth of 14 who is convicted of an offence can result in a sentence of two years less a day. If a person is convicted provincially they can serve up to two years less a day for that crime. It puts an onus on people. If we take a person and put them into a value home, a value environment, a place where sometimes for the first time they would have some values, I think that is an important part of this bill.
Getting back to the simplistic approach by the members for Calgary Southwest and Calgary Northeast who have a punishment philosophy, let us take a look at the problem. If I were to write a parole paper and I put broken home, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, abused as a child, a grade eight education, a dropout, I would have about 90% of that catchment area that I work in.
What is missing? Is it punishment? Most of them fight their way into gangs. They do not get brought in because they have not been beaten or because they are going to beat someone. A lot of gangs are there. Peer pressure draws people into them. Taking them out and beating them for being beaten is not something that will instil any values in them.
We are talking about poor, underprivileged, abused people. The rest of the people who are caught in this will see the results of their actions. When they are taken away from that peer group they will interact with people because they know the difference between good and bad and evil.