Mr. Speaker, I have a feeling that in the years to come a certain amount of courage will be needed to stand up to demagoguery. It is possible that nobody in the United States has found themselves in this situation, even those that were re-elected.
I have come to this point in my life after spending all my career dealing with crime in one way or another, whether it be as crown prosecutor, as defence attorney, as public safety minister, as justice minister or in today's role as federal MP. This means that my vision of crime is more complete than what we see from the member for Wild Rose, for example, or from just about anyone whose knowledge of crime is based solely on what they read in the papers.
Here is another piece of legislation brought to us by the current government which is based on the American model. I will have the honesty to tell the truth here, as will be the case throughout my remarks: it is not as terrible as the American model. It does not go as far. Nevertheless, it is a step in the wrong direction.
To fully understand how we are going in the wrong direction, we must make a few comparisons. The homicide rate is one comparison we can make. In the United States, that rate is three times higher than in Canada.
Ask any educated and reasonable American to explain why that is. He will say that it is because it is so easy to get firearms in the United States. There is a contradiction in the United States, and the government wants to import into Canada: let us be harsher on criminals, but more lax with firearms. Let us put more people in jail, let us have more guns around, and the situation will improve.
I have never understood this logic. Yet, this is what some people want to do here. The homicide rate in the United States is three times higher than in Canada. I want to be absolutely transparent here: I know that, contrary to what many people think, the crime rate in the United States is generally comparable to our rate in Canada. Our crime rates generally compare with those of countries where economic development is similar.
Do we want to follow the U.S. model? That model has led to an increasing number of people being incarcerated. While our two countries had similar incarceration rates 15 or 20 years ago, that rate is now seven times higher in the United States than in Canada. Is there anyone here who thinks he is safer when he travels to the United States than when he is in Canada? The rate is roughly the same for crime in general, but not for very serious crimes.
The connection with firearms is very clear when one considers that, in the United States, there are five times more spouses killed by guns than in Canada. This clearly shows that it is not real criminals who kill in these cases, even though these crimes are the most dramatic ones.
There is also a clear connection here. Out of all the people killed in the United States, eight times more are killed by guns there than in Canada.
Of course, there will always be people who kill. Regardless of the legislation that we pass, there will always be people who commit crimes.
The question is, how do we fight crime effectively? I will talk about it after oral question period.