Madam Speaker, I was pleased to hear the comments of my colleague and in particular, his comments that the bill is not perfect, but it should be supported. I think a lot of Canadians can identify with that.
One of the things that is particularly appropriate, in my opinion, is that it raises the maximum penalty for intentional cruelty to animals to a maximum of a five year imprisonment up from the current six month penalty. That is a step forward in the right direction. I am sure the hon. member agrees with me.
We have to remember that the Criminal Code in this country, for the most part, was composed and put together at a time when something like cruelty to animals was not an overriding concern. The consolidated Criminal Code was introduced into this country before 1900 and so, as a result, many of the sections that we have and many of the penalties are a reflection of the thinking of that particular time. So it is important that we have a look at sections like this in the Criminal Code.
I am pleased that we are moving forward on this. This is the third attempt by the government, apparently, to bring in a bill with respect to cruelty to animals. This is the first one I have been involved with and I certainly hope it passes. People in my riding of Niagara Falls are calling me, emailing me, and writing me, and asking me to support this legislation. I wonder if he is feeling that groundswell of support for this bill as well.