Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to make a few comments on Bill C-65, an act to amend the Criminal Code, street racing, and to make a consequential amendment to another act.
Bill C-65 should be looked at in conjunction with Bill C-64, which the House will presumably be looking at soon. Both bills purport to talk about two of the subjects that were part of the crusade, the passion and the commitment of one of our former members, Mr. Chuck Cadman. Both of these bills are subjects in which he was very much interested and certainly had no problem convincing members of the Conservative Party that they were steps in the right direction.
This particular bill, Bill C-65, amends the Criminal Code by defining street racing and by specifically identifying the involvement in street racing as an aggravating factor during sentencing for the following offences: dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm; dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death; criminal negligence causing bodily harm; and criminal negligence causing death. We are talking about a very serious subject.
I guess where the government departs from the intention of Mr. Cadman on this particular bill is where Mr. Cadman and most of us believe that if someone subsequently kills somebody or injures somebody because the person stole a car or got involved in drag racing, perhaps the second time that person is convicted the punishment should be greater. Most people would think that is pretty reasonable but that is the part that was rejected by the Liberal government and I think it has made a very grave mistake.
One of the parliamentary secretaries said that Canadians have a problem defining minimum sentences. Canadians have no problem defining minimum sentences. It is only the Liberal Party that has trouble putting in minimum mandatory sentences. Most Canadians with whom I have discussed some of these subjects have no problem with it at all. In fact, they applaud efforts to make sure that individuals who cause untold harm in our society and cause pain and suffering through their own criminal acts receive minimum sentences. Canadians are happy, pleased or at least satisfied that justice is done when they see increased minimum sentences for those individuals. That is the part that is missing from the bill.
Members of the government were trumpeting the fact that they are true to Mr. Cadman's legacy. They are not true to Mr. Cadman's legacy. He was very specific, as are we, that the more times one commits these crimes of course the higher one's sentence should be. There is nothing wrong with minimum sentences. However this is typical of the way the Liberals have treated both of these issues.
We also will be debating Bill C-64, another bill inspired by the late Chuck Cadman but not one that is true to his intentions. We will see when we put these two bills together, and we are talking about Bill C-64, that the government only goes so far. It starts talking about an individual who has stolen a car and then decides to scrape off the vehicle identification number. People do this because apparently it is easier to fence the car, sell the car and to get rid of it. The fact that people would do that one would think that would place an onus on them to come up with an explanation but, no. When we look at that legislation, true to the government's intent on this particular legislation, we will see the same thing.
The government then put on extra onus on the Crown to prove that the person was doing something wrong, as if the act of stealing a car and filing off the vehicle identification number was not enough. No, the Crown has to do something above and beyond that to make the point and get a conviction.
It is certainly an approach to the Criminal Code and justice issues that is completely at odds with the Conservative Party. As a matter of fact, when people ask me to define some of the key differences between ourselves and the Liberal Party, I always come back to justice issues because there is a fundamental disagreement.
The difference between the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party is that the Liberals are constantly worried about the individuals who commit the crime and we are constantly worried about the victims of crime, which is why in Bill C-65 the Liberals did not want to increase the mandatory sentences for repeat offenders. They would never want to do that because that would hurt some individual and may give some consequences to what the individual had done. The individual may have to spend a longer time in jail and the Liberals are not in favour of that.
The Crown attorneys, who have enough on their plate to try to prove the elements of a crime in Bill C-64, would be faced with the extra onus that the government wants to place on them. They would have to do extra work to prove that the individual had bad ideas about stealing cars and filing off the vehicle identification numbers. The individual may have had a legitimate reason for taking our car and trying to ship it out of the country without a vehicle identification number but that is the Crown's job, is it not? It is not enough to prove the elements of the offence and prove the individual did it. No, the Crown would now have to go that extra step. Again, part of the philosophy of the Liberal Party is to be soft on crime.
The government has problems with mandatory minimum sentences. We have no problems with that because we know they are directed against the individuals who need to be off the streets and need the time to contemplate what they have done and the hurt they have caused society.
We have a very different approach. We worry about guns and we worry about crimes being committed with guns. The Liberals worry about bureaucracy. Is that not what the gun registry is all about? It has nothing to do with stopping crime but it has everything to do with creating bureaucracy in this country.
I have been told that as happy as the Liberals are about that bureaucracy, they cannot wait to get into day care. They say that we have not seen anything yet. They say that when they get into day care we will see a bureaucracy in this town, the proportions of which we have never seen before. However at this point they are content with what they have done on gun control. Have the people who commit these crimes registered their guns with the federal government? Of course they have not. This, again, is about creating bureaucracy, not about stopping crime.
We look to the Liberals and their friends in the NDP in a number of areas. I cannot wait to see the report from the federal committee studying prostitution in Canada. I love some of the quotes that are already starting to come out. One member of the Liberal Party said that she favoured three person brothels, just for licensing and zoning purposes, not a two person brothel or a four person brothel, but a three person brothel. That is what they are in favour of.
The initial report, as reported in the paper, is that the Liberals want to make sure the streets are safer for individuals who are into the pimping and the prostitution business. We are worried about making it safe for the people who live in those neighbourhoods. The children who have to grow up in those neighbourhoods are our priorities but obviously they are not the priority of the Liberal Party.
We will be watching for that, but again, the same pattern plays itself over and over again. One of the worst crimes and perhaps the worst crime committed in the Niagara Peninsula was the murder of a couple of schoolgirls and the attacks on some other women in southern Ontario by Bernardo and Homolka. After all these years, Ms. Homolka was released and the Province of Ontario made an application to place restrictions on Karla Homolka when she was released from prison.
Most Canadians, all members of the Conservative Party and the people who accept our philosophy and believe it, have no problem whatsoever placing restrictions on that despicable woman. However I made a prediction which played out over a period of several weeks. I predicted that someone in the Liberal Party would crack on this one. I said that someone would not be able to allow restrictions to be placed on Homolka and that the person would break ranks over there and that we should watch for it. Sure enough, a member of the Liberal caucus from the other place came to the defence of Ms. Homolka and said that Ontario's application to place restrictions on Homolka when she was released from prison “was unjustified”. He went on to compare it to something we would see in a dictatorship. He said, “I have to give her a chance. I don't consider her dangerous”.
A lot of Canadians consider her dangerous. I was very surprised by the member of the Liberal caucus. The Liberals could not stand it but they kind of held together. They knew they would be offside with public opinion if they were to come to Homolka's defence but instincts always prove true and in the end somebody had to break. To the credit of my colleague from St. Catharines, he objected to it but, nonetheless, I believe it is symptomatic of the Liberal Party in general.
Mr. Speaker, I should tell you that I am pleased to split my time with the member for Fleetwood—Port Kells.
This bill, as in all these other issues, highlights for Canadians the important differences between the Conservative Party and the Liberal government.