Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate today, and I am pleased for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is that it gives me an opportunity to explain to the people out there in television land—I do not have to explain it to people in the House as they pretty well understand the strategy behind all these things—that we are once again seeing a bill that deals with some very questionable issues.
Along with that, some of the legislation that has been put forth does truly answer the need of our law enforcement people, which in turn answers the need for public safety. This has been combined with some much needed regulations in the gun legislation, which has been flawed for quite a while. This has been mixed all together and called an omnibus bill.
Like good children who take their medicine, if we sprinkle a little sugar on it they are supposed to swallow it and like it. I have risen in the House too many times to count to address a number of bills that come with a whole pile of things in them, some that make perfectly good sense as to why they are there and others that make no sense to me at all.
I cannot understand for the slightest moment what the disarming of a policeman has to do with cruelty to animals. Why are these two issues combined in the legislation? I want to support the particular part of the legislation which says that trying to disarm a policeman will be a criminal offence, and it should be a serious one. That is a good part of the bill. However, we also have to deal with another section of the bill regarding cruelty to animals. There are so many questions that need to be answered it is not even funny.
There is no definition with regard to what is meant by so many statements. Am I supposed to warn my five year old grandson when he goes fishing that somebody might be watching him as he puts a worm on his hook? According to the legislation that possibility exists. There is nothing in there that says a chicken farmer who raises chickens for the purpose of harvesting them for food for the public is allowed to trap or harm a weasel that might be trying to destroy some of his chickens.
Nothing in the legislation explains what is considered to be cruel. Believe me, I certainly do not condone the abuse of a pet in any form or fashion. That should never be allowed and, as far as I understand, it is not allowed today. Charges can be brought against an individual who exercises these kinds of abuses.
However, the bill clearly does not set out what is an intentional, unreasonable act of abuse upon an animal for no other reason than maliciousness. There is nothing in the bill that says that the chicken farmer or my grandson will not be responsible for hurting or causing pain to an animal that is being used for the purpose for which they use them.
Why are those things mixed up? I am really surprised there is nothing here to seriously address child pornography. Why not mix that in with all this? Why not take some other issue that the government slides around and stick it in there to make it look good? Is that the reason we have this particular section stating that it is a criminal offence if someone tries to disarm a peace officer? Is it to make the other sections of this flawed bill look good? Or, is it to make me look bad for not supporting a bill because of certain aspects of it, even though I want to support it because of other aspects of it?
It makes no sense to me that grown men and women who are supposed to have at the heart of the reason for being here, one of their most elemental duties being to provide protection and safety for the citizens of our country, would put together an omnibus bill of this nature that has good little aspects, silly little aspects and unexplainable little aspects in it. It makes no sense to me at all.
Grown men and women have put together a document that is all over the map, so we will be asking for some amendments. We want some things in here that will clearly define animal cruelty for the farmers and harvesters of animals who earn a living doing what they do. According to what I see as written, it could be very dangerous to these people in their activities and could cause a lot of grief.
There are some really good reasons why someone would brand an animal but it is painful. If members do not believe me they should come out to Alberta sometime. I will take them to a branding party and show them that it is painful.
Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether you go fishing, but if you catch one on your little hook and you plan to take it home to eat because it is good for your diet, do you let it flop to death or use a stick to club it on the head? You would probably club it on the head. Wait a minute, Mr. Speaker, the way the bill is written it could be construed as cruelty to animals. I would be the last one in this place, Mr. Speaker, to want to see you toted off to court so a judge could decide, on behalf of all these brilliant ladies and gentlemen who put these documents together, whether or not it was against the law because these people cannot put something together that clearly defines what it is they mean.
I think the intent of the bill, particularly the intent on cruelty to animals, is good. I think it is well-intended. However, surely most of the people in here have a brain bigger than the fish that I was talking about. Surely their brain ought to operate a little bit to know that the bill needs some clarification. Surely the government members would not want a group of people hauled off to a court so a judge could decide for these wonderful people what it is they are trying to say in a bill. Why can they not say what they mean? Why can they not clarify the bill? What does it mean? I read it and the meaning is not there. It does not clarify whether a farmer will be charged because he dehorns. Dehorning is painful. Clarity in the definitions is not there. It will take some amendments to do it. It will be tested in committee when amendments are brought forward to make it a better bill, to make it a bill with a little common sense and allow people to understand what the intent of the government is.
To the member on the government side who is doing all the heckling and yelling about what the bill does, I am afraid it does nothing at all. It is not clear at all. What would we expect from a Liberal government except unclarity? What would we expect from a Liberal government except high hopes that a document will be placed before a judge some day so the judge can once again decide for Canadians what the law will be and what it will not be. The Liberals do not have the courage or the intestinal fortitude to make the kind of laws that say what they mean.
They are doing a fine job at jumbling them all up. They jumble them all up so no one can point the finger in their direction and say that they are not doing their job very well. They are not. Believe me, Canadians of today recognize how the government deals with justice and they do not like it. I can understand why.