Mr. Speaker, before I begin, let me give you my best wishes. I am sure that you will come out swinging in your struggle for your health.
It is my pleasure to speak to Bill C-65, an act to amend the Criminal Code in reference to street racing and to make amendments to another act, which would bring in a stronger punishment, as the government would like to say. We all know about the consequences of street racing. We have seen people lose their lives. Those who do street racing have a complete and total disregard for the safety and interests of others on the streets. All they are concerned about is their own interests.
My dear friend and colleague, Chuck Cadman, who is no longer with us, worked very hard to ensure that the bill was passed. One could say that Chuck Cadman's support of the Liberal government in May prompted the government to come up with the bill. We will accept that. I know Chuck wanted the bill passed and because the bill is before us, we will support it. Even though there is a political reason why this bill is before us, we will support it, but we do have a lot of concerns.
It is a typical Liberal approach to addressing issues that Canadians are always concerned about, specifically on crime. Every time a bill comes before Parliament from the Liberal side, we find that the bill is compassionate. The Liberals are always compassionate for those who have committed the crime. The Liberals say that a mistake was made and there should be rehabilitation and they try to put a face of compassion on all the bills that come before us to show that the Liberal Party is compassionate. The problem with that approach, which time after time Canadians have brought to our attention, is that the tendency of people is to ignore it, when there is no significant punishment.
I have introduced in Parliament three bills on three occasions. My private member's bill on repeat break and enter offenders, asking for a minimum two year sentence, has been defeated by the Liberals because they do not believe in mandatory sentencing. Why did I bring that bill forward? The concern with break and enter is such that repeat offenders find it profitable as a business because the punishment is so low and the rewards are so high. Offenders disregard it and they go do it again. So, what, if they have to go to court? They will get a suspended sentence or a small sentence and they are back doing the same thing. They continue on and as they become more efficient, there are more and more crimes.
The Liberal government will come along and tell us there have been no break and enters. They have declined across the nation. That is not the issue. The issue is that the crime of break and enter may have declined because of higher security or something.
The fundamental issue is when does punishment fit the crime? That is the key point. The bill that is before us has a similar consensus as that of Chuck Cadman. His bill had an escalating scale of punishment clauses to ensure that there was some kind of mandatory punishment for repeat offenders.
Mr. Speaker, you are from British Columbia. There have been recent cases in British Columbia where people have lost their lives and even police officers have lost their lives to street racing. These guys street race because they can get away with it, for the little fun that they get at that given time, with absolute disregard to the consequences it could have. They do not take into account the results and terrible consequences for others.
We talk about the people who have done this crime, but it is only recently, after pressure by the Reform Party of which I was a member, that we started looking at the victims, the terrible tragedy, the terrible consequences of these actions which are not thought of by these street racers, and what happens to the families.
A good example of that is what happened to me with the Ethics Commissioner. These actions and subsequent damage to my family are so severe that today, as I speak to you, Mr. Speaker, he is in front of the procedure and House affairs committee explaining these consequences. He probably never thought of it because he was so blind to the facts. He thought he had to do these things and he never thought of the consequences and what would happen to the family if he did what he did. Now he is in front of the committee to explain that.
I told the committee how these consequences have had an impact, on my sister-in-law, who has absolutely nothing to do with being a member of Parliament, and why her and her son's lives have become a public spectacle. Because Mr. Shapiro decided he wanted to go public and talk about something that was frivolous, this whole issue became public and the next minute everybody was talking.
I am talking about consequences, which are in this bill. The consequences of actions is what I am talking about. I want to tell Mr. Shapiro that the actions can be severe for those who have to pay the price. In the case of street racing, we know that people have lost lives. What about their families? They have voids that will be forever in their lives.
If we want a bill to address an issue, we cannot address issues in small parts. We cannot address a bill by saying one part is wrong and then think about another part. No, we need to understand and give a strong message. This Parliament has to give a strong message to anybody out there that their actions will have consequences, not that their actions will be taken lightly and we will look into the issue.
That is why the Conservative Party is proposing amendments to this bill, to make it tighter, to make it stronger, with the message going out that if street racing carries on and if somebody gets hurt there are consequences.
A couple of days ago, there were newspaper stories about a bus driver in Toronto who was shot in the face and there is the likelihood of losing an eye. He was an innocent bystander. Canadians want their streets safe. That is the issue everywhere, whether it is street racing, whether it is gun violence or any other form out there.
The police forces are asking us to do something. Even in the case of pornography with child predators. We need to send a very strong message about the consequences. When we have bills that have loopholes, or are watered down with the whole Liberal philosophy that they have to be compassionate, it is not sending the right message. The concern of what is happening on our streets, to our homes, is becoming louder and louder for Canadians.
Like me, all my colleagues listen to their constituents. I hope many of them will speak on behalf of the bill to strengthen it. The purpose of strengthening it is not to look as though we are cruel or that we have no compassion. That is not the point. We are all compassionate. The point is that the consequences for one's actions must be stated in the bill. People must know that they will face the consequences.
A bill is passed in the House and the independent judiciary implements the law. I am not saying there is anything wrong with an independent judiciary. I strongly support having an independent judiciary. It is the strongest foundation of a democracy. However, many times we have seen the judiciary send the wrong message. One decision is subsequently picked up by others and it goes on.
On many occasions many members of the judiciary have said that we in this place are the ones who propose the laws. Members of Parliament are the ones who give the directions. There is nothing wrong in sending the judiciary a message about mandatory sentencing. We are telling the judiciary that Canadians want safe streets. We are telling the judiciary that Canadians want people to pay for the their actions. We as lawmakers have to make strong statements, and we should do so in proposed legislation. Bill C-65 is a watered down version of Mr. Cadman's desire.
I was at Mr. Cadman's funeral and I know, Mr. Speaker, that you were at his memorial service. We heard many tributes made to Chuck by politicians and people who knew him very well in his riding. What came out very strong was Chuck's compassionate nature and how hurt he was after losing his son. He galvanized himself into working to ensure that the punishment fit the crime.
Chuck was not interested in throwing people in jail. He was interested in making people understand that there would be consequences for their actions. If we do not do that, then people will not understand, and that is the problem with this bill.
Chuck would go to victim's homes. He understood their pain because of the pain he himself felt. A compassionate man like Chuck would like to see a stronger bill. He would like us to send a stronger message. Bill C-65 does not propose that. While addressing Chuck's concerns, the bill still is a watered down version of what he wanted.
We want to bring in amendments that will leave a legacy for Chuck so people across Canada will get the message and, most important, the judiciary will get the message that the Parliament of Canada is very serious about addressing crime, about making our homes safe and our streets safe.
I again intend to bring my private member's bill on break and enter forward in the House. My bill would ensure a two year minimum mandatory sentence. The purpose is to break the cycle of people repeating these things.
I again intend to bring my private member's bill on break and enter forward in the House. My bill would ensure a two year minimum mandatory sentence. The purpose is to break the cycle of people repeating these things. We talk about compassion. Mandatory sentencing is not being cruel. We are being compassionate by taking repeat offenders off the streets and making them realize this is not a profitable issue.
Grow ops have become a major problem in our cities. In my riding grow ops have become a major issue because housing is cheap. Why? Because we have a problem with legislation. Hence the law enforcement agencies are weak when it comes to this issue.
I have met with law enforcement agencies in my riding. I have met with the local alderman, the local MLA and with local associations to address the issue of grow ops. Grow ops subsequently get into the drug trade and into prostitution. We have discussed how to address this issue. One solution is to put more police officers on the street. That has been our experience when police officers talk to us. They say that if they have more resources, they can put more police officers on the street which is a major deterrent, but we are not doing that. The police officers in my riding in Calgary have identified that there is no strong legislation to help the police to do this.
While the Liberals on the other side will say that this bill will address in the strongest possible terms those issues, another independent body will make the final judgment on how this is done.
Our experience has been that this independent body tends to go in a different direction. We are then doing a disservice to the independent body, the judiciary. We are not taking anything away from it. We are telling it what I want it to do. That is our responsibility. The Parliament of Canada carries the responsibility to make sound laws, laws that protect Canadians. We are elected to do that. We are not elected to create vague bills and then leave it to an independent body to decide what it wants to do.
We are giving our responsibility to it. We have said time after time that on many issues the government refuses to make law. It runs to the Supreme Court of Canada and asks it to make the decision.
It is this Parliament that will make the decisions. We make the laws. Let us give direction. This way Canadians feel confident that we are doing our jobs. The judiciary feels confident that a clear direction has come from Parliament. In this way we follow the direction that Canadians want us to follow. They have elected us to be their voices and their consciences.
We will be proposing amendments to the bill to ensure that people understand the consequences for their actions.