Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to be corrected both by you and the hon. member opposite, who is very sensitive to these things, and I appreciate that.
I will, however, continue to say that the reporter said that she had been in the courts in Sherwood Park and on numerous occasions had seen that youngsters who had been found guilty of shoplifting from the local mall or for taking a car for a joyride, and that is the connection I am making, had received penalties that were more onerous than the aforementioned one which I cannot not talk about and I will not. The general principle is that the Liberals just do not believe in having individuals pay some consequences for disobeying the rules in our society. They think there is nothing wrong with it, but a wink-wink, nudge-nudge and do not do it again does not work.
I have said many times in the last 12 years that I have been in this House that there is no law this place can pass that will make people good, but there is something we can do that will help to restrain those who do not have a built in moral compass that prevents them from doing bad things.
When it comes to things like vehicle theft, we are not talking about joyriders. Most joyriders will pick up a vehicle but they are not going to change the vehicle identification number. They will take it for a little ride and then park it some distance away from where they found it and then those youngsters will go home at three o'clock in the morning to their parents who do not know where they have been, which is a whole other issue to talk about. Those youngsters just took the car for a ride.
When we talk about vehicle identification alteration, we are talking about organized crime. We are talking about big business. We are talking about people who wander around the streets at night in closed trucks. They will suck the vehicles into the truck in a matter of minutes, close the doors and away they will go. They will not be caught. They will change the vehicle identification numbers and then ship the vehicles off in containers to other countries. They will make millions and millions of dollars at our expense. Whether we take the loss personally or whether the insurance companies reimburse the person who suffered the loss, it all comes out of the Canadian economy and out of the pockets of individual Canadians. These property crimes need to be addressed.
I was glad that my colleague who spoke just before me mentioned about the deal. We will never know what kind of a deal was struck. Chuck Cadman was a friend of mine and I knew him well. I know he was a man of principle. Following up on what my colleague said, my conjecture is that the Liberals probably said to him something like, “If you vote with us, we will make sure that some of the things you have been pushing for will happen”. That is conjecture but I think that may have happened and I think Chuck Cadman at that stage would have said, “No deal”. If I know Chuck at all, he was not into cutting deals.
I believe that the Prime Minister and the Liberals are bringing in the two pieces of government legislation simply because their consciences are bothering them like crazy with Chuck Cadman having passed away and they now feel an obligation to try to do something that they had implied or promised that they would do.
However, the Liberals cannot bring it upon themselves to actually follow his advice and put in a bill the same wording as what Chuck Cadman had proposed. What the Liberals have added is absolutely ridiculous. It refers to a person who commits an offence under circumstances that give rise to a reasonable inference that the person did so to conceal the identity of the motor vehicle. Huh? What would you say, Mr. Speaker? Hello. Why would someone change the vehicle identification number? Why would someone even bother if the person was not trying to conceal the identity of the vehicle?
We could get into the debate that there are people who sometimes put together one or more vehicles and they have to do this. It is not illegal if they obtained the vehicles they are putting together legally, but the bill covers that. “Lawfully” is in there. That is lawful.
Those other people are doing something that is not lawful and what we are doing is giving them a huge excuse in the courts. There will not be any convictions under this legislation. This is just a feel good measure that was brought in by the Liberals in order to appease their failing consciences, if they have any at all, and I really doubt that they do.
In the 12 years that I have been an MP, some two million vehicles have been stolen. It is time that we addressed this issue in a serious manner. I unfortunately will have to vote against this bill because it goes opposite to what really needs to be done.