Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today and participate in this debate. Unfortunately, the motion before this House today is really a total waste of this House's time and nothing more than what I would say a cheap political trick and a feeble attempt by the Liberal opposition to draw debate where there is no debate.
We therefore oppose this motion today. The motion calls on the government to reaffirm that there is a not a death penalty in Canada. We have said before and we will say again, there is no death penalty in Canada. The Minister of Justice and other members of this government have clearly said that this government is not changing the law in our country with respect to the death penalty.
Since December 10, 1962 no one has been executed in Canada. That is over 45 years. On July 14, 1976 the death penalty was removed from the Criminal Code. The death penalty was then removed from the National Defence Act on December 10, 1998. Since that day there has been no death penalty in Canada in law as well as in fact.
In 1987 a free vote regarding the reinstatement of the death penalty was held in the House of Commons. The result of the vote sent a very strong signal that Canadians were in favour of maintaining the abolition of the death penalty. As the Prime Minister has confirmed, this government is not going to reopen this debate in Canada.
The second part of the motion asks the government to reaffirm its policy to seek clemency on humanitarian grounds for Canadians sentenced to death in foreign countries. As we have said repeatedly, in cases where Canadians face the death penalty abroad the Government of Canada will continue to consider whether to seek clemency on a case-by-case basis based on what is in the best interest of Canada.
According to today's headlines, a majority of Canadians support our case-by-case approach and as we found out last fall, a majority of Canadians support our overall approach to justice, an approach that focuses on tackling violent crime and tackling crime in our communities.
It is an approach that puts victims first rather than the approach of the Liberals in the past, and what frankly continues to be their approach, of putting the rights of criminals ahead of the rights of law-abiding citizens.
The protection of Canadians is a priority for this government. It is the priority of this government and if securing clemency is contingent on a murderer or a multiple murderer being repatriated to this country and let free to roam our streets, this is not a risk that our government is willing to take. Bringing back convicted killers sends the wrong message.
The third part of the motion before this House today calls on the government to continue its leadership role in promoting the abolition of the death penalty internationally. This government has been and will continue to be a leader in speaking up for a principled stand on human rights and the rule of law in all international forums.
For those states that legally retain the death penalty, the government will continue to advocate for full respect for international law including international legal obligations. I might add that it is standing up for humanitarian issues that is the reason why we have men and women from Canada across this world today who are fighting for those very freedoms and those human rights.
Many states do retain the death penalty. International law imposes restrictions on the use of the death penalty and imposes strict safeguards on its imposition. Canada's interventions with other states, whether made at a bilateral level or in a multilateral arena, are made in the context of supporting human rights within the framework of international law.
There has been no death penalty in Canada for 45 years. Our government has indicated that there is no intention to change that. We have also indicated that the decision as to whether or not we will seek clemency will be assessed on a case-by-case basis based on what is in the best interest of Canada.
I also find it very interesting. We are having this debate tonight on this issue and yet in the Senate sits stalled the tackling violent crime act. We have the leader of the official opposition who has absolutely refused to force Liberal senators in the Senate to pass the tackling violent crime act.
The tackling violent crime act would protect Canadians right here in Canada, would make our communities safer, would make our children safer, would take a tough approach on gun crimes, and would tackle the very serious issue of impaired driving.
Just today I got off the phone with a constituent who was concerned with the exploitation of young children by violent sexual offenders. We have in our legislation measures to protect young people, all of these stalled in the Liberal dominated Senate.
We have been calling on the leader of the official opposition for weeks to have the Liberal senators pass Bill C-2. This is legislation that provinces are calling for, parents are calling for and law-abiding citizens are calling for.
Everyone else I have talked to is in favour of getting tougher on crime. They are in favour of protecting children. They are in favour of making our streets and communities safer. They are in favour of tackling impaired driving. They are in favour of having an age of protection of 16 years rather than 14 years so that adult sexual predators cannot prey on Canadian young people. They are in favour of having laws that say if people commit a violent crime with a firearm, then they will do serious time for that crime.
That is what Canadians want. That is what our party wants. That is what this government wants. That is what we have introduced in the tackling violent crime act, and it is time for the Liberals to get the message.
If the Liberals want to stand with the criminal lobby that would prefer that we not pass this kind of legislation, they can continue to do so. We will stand on this side with law-abiding Canadians. We will continue to stand up for their rights. We will continue to make our streets and communities safer for all Canadians.