Mr. Speaker, I move that the 14th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, presented on Wednesday, October 28, 1998, be concurred in.
Mr. Speaker, it is truly unfortunate that I have to stand today in the House to address a very serious issue that happened in the House of Commons yesterday. I will take my time to go through it. From a personal perspective, I am going to tell members what kind of impact this decision has had on my community and many communities throughout the country.
My concurrence report and motion, which I originally put on October 28, 1998, No. 17, refers to the justice committee and issues relative to victims' rights, the sentencing of offenders and that sort of thing.
The rights of individuals, in particular victims of crime, the issues related to prison reform and what happens to individuals who walk away from our prisons and commit crimes has been an issue that has been very near and dear to my heart. I can tell those people listening and members opposite that not only is it a very serious issue for me and my community, which has affected my community very dearly, but I can assure the House that members on this side, in particular, have been fighting these issues for some time. I have a private member's bill that is very close to the issue that I am about to bring up.
This is not just an issue of the Reform Party. There was a very interesting private member's bill that was introduced by the member for Mississauga East. It was brought into the House some time ago. On second reading only three people in the House opposed the motion to send this private member's bill to committee to be further developed. I am glad to see the solicitor general here this morning because I hope to impress upon him how important this particular issue is and how the decision of the justice committee yesterday affects this issue.
The member for Mississauga East knew full well when she developed her private member's bill just what the implications were of the kind of justice issues that we have today. She introduced Bill C-251, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act respecting cumulative sentences for first reading on October 21, 1997.
As we have said all along in the House, the relevance of Private Members' Business is important to all of us. This is not just an issue where the cabinet should be able to say “That is nice. You have a bill, but that is not our decision, so nothing else matters”. The fact is that the member for Mississauga East who developed this private member's bill was not only speaking for the people of Mississauga East, she was speaking for many members on all sides of the House, including me.
Do not laugh over there. This is damn serious stuff and those members better get used to it.
To the folks who are listening, the revenue minister is taunting us on something that is very important to this country. It may not be important to him in Vancouver, but I can assure him that it is damn well important to most people in this country. That is the problem with this government and its ministers. They have the unmitigated gall to cancel good business that comes into this House from private members, but they do not seem to have one ounce of regard for private members when it is their cabinet business that comes into the House.
The Minister of National Revenue is heckling us. I would like you, Mr. Speaker, and the rest of the people listening to understand exactly what that fellow is heckling. This is the nature of the bill that was quashed in committee yesterday, which was supported by all members of the House, save three, last October.
This is how the bill reads and this is what a minister of this government is heckling:
This enactment provides for the imposition of consecutive sentences where a person commits—
I am going to stop for a moment because a member of the cabinet is trying to disrupt the process. The member is from Vancouver. I guess the victims of crime in Vancouver would be a bit more than disturbed to understand that a cabinet minister is heckling, because we are trying to get this cabinet to understand that this is an important bill.
It is nice to see the solicitor general sitting quietly and attentively. If we could finally get the revenue minister from Vancouver to shut up for a little bit, maybe—