Mr. Speaker, that is quite acceptable. I know you have your job to do as well. I was glad to hear of the adjournment motion later on this evening and I will be sure to attend.
There is a need for an impartial and non-partisan judiciary. Of course, every judge brings his or her own ideas and experience to the table--we cannot debate that--but a judge certainly should not be involved in partisan activities.
Canada is blessed with a very competent judiciary and we want to keep it that way. One of the things we are not so troubled with in Canada, but it is evident in many countries around the world is a corrupt judiciary. If I might, I would like to tell a little story about the time I was in Nairobi, Kenya.
Daniel arap Moi was president at the time. There was an election and Mr. Kibaki was elected as president of Kenya. He had run on an anti-corruption ticket and the moment he was elected, he fired about 40% of the judges in Kenya. We were quite excited about that, because it was a fairly well-known fact that in Kenya there was a list and if someone wanted to get off a burglary charge, it cost so many Kenyan shillings and if someone wanted to get off another charge, it was so many Kenyan shillings. It was a menu. It was the most astounding egregious thing I had ever seen. When President Kibaki fired 40% of the judges, we all thought it was a very positive development. However, what happened was that about a year later the president ended up being more corrupt than President Daniel arap Moi.
The point is that we do not have a corrupt judiciary in this country and we want to keep it that way. We have to be very careful, therefore, in the way we appoint judges. We need to ensure they are people of the highest calibre and highest personal integrity. How do countries prosecute corrupt elected officials if there is a corrupt judiciary? It just does not happen. People get off and there is a perpetual cycle of corruption.
I have a very good friend who is a Federal Court judge and he tells me stories. He had a very successful career in the private sector as a lawyer. He wanted to be a judge. He loves the law. He loves debating law. He became a Federal Court judge. When I speak to him today, he tells me about how he loves his work, but how the workload at the Federal Court is absolutely incredible. Of course, Federal Court judges travel across the country. He is a very competent lawyer and judge.
We should also be appointing more Federal Court judges. This bill is derelict in that regard, I would submit. It deals with the Superior Court backlog in appointments but it does not deal with the Federal Court.
The Federal Court is very important in our country. It deals with a whole range of things, immigration law, taxation law, aeronautics law. In fact, there was a milestone case recently with respect to Canada Post and pay equity. Issues like that go before the Federal Court. It is very important that we have a full complement of Federal Court judges, as we should also have a full complement of Superior Court judges. The Superior Court is also responsible for many of the specific claims that are brought forward by our first nations people.
This is another issue that needs to be resolved. In fairness to the government, I think it is trying to expedite some of the land claim cases. It is very important because the mining industry and the natural resource sector are trying to move forward and develop opportunities, revenues, create jobs, and the land claim sort of hangs over the whole affair and creates uncertainty. It is not a very positive investment climate.
It is a good thing that the Conservative government is moving aggressively to try to solve those land claims, but there are many other issues for our first nations people. We are not here to debate the Kelowna accord, of course, but I know that my colleague from LaSalle—Émard feels very strongly, as do all of us on this side, that we should help our first nations people with their infrastructure, schooling, housing and water. That is why we need good judges in the superior courts. They should also reflect the diversity of this country. I presume that when we appoint the judges there will be fair opportunity for women and for people who are bilingual, and fair opportunity for first nations people to become judges, because for many it is a very honourable thing to be a judge.
Many judges face great sacrifices. In many instances, they can earn a lot more money in the private sector by being a trial lawyer or a corporate lawyer, for example. However, judges have decided that they want to serve their country and participate in the judicial process. I take my hat off to all those people.
Sometimes we have situations like the one we had in the last Parliament with respect to the DNA lab at the RCMP headquarters. When I went there one day, I was told that the lab was getting only 50% of the DNA samples it was supposed to be getting. We checked it out and found out what had happened. It was a relatively new concept and prosecutors and judges were supposed to make decisions around forwarding DNA samples to the RCMP lab. The more DNA samples the RCMP labs have, the easier it is to solve crimes and prevent crimes. I was perplexed and troubled by the fact that the DNA labs were not getting all the DNA samples that they should have been.
What we discovered was that because it was a relatively new concept, the prosecutors had to make the case to the judge that the DNA samples should be submitted to the lab. In some cases the prosecutors were not doing that. In some cases the judges were neither asking for nor demanding the information on whether the DNA samples should go to the lab.
Therefore, at committee we made some changes to the DNA law. I think they were positive changes, adopted finally by the House and by the Senate, in which we recommended that for those most heinous of crimes, such as murder, rape and crimes of that nature, where there is a convicted person, the judge would have no discretion and the DNA samples would automatically be referred to the DNA lab. This is not to say that judges lack the wisdom to decide whether DNA samples should be sent to the lab. It just made it absolutely crystal clear that when the most heinous of crimes were involved, the court would be prescribed to submit the DNA samples to the RCMP lab.
That tells a story about the importance of quality judges and the role parliamentarians can have in reviewing bills and legislation such as Bill C-31. I am glad to have had the opportunity to speak. I hope the government follows through on some of these appointments. It is fine to have a bill, but even if the bill is passed by Parliament, the government still has to appoint judges. It has to appoint Immigration and Refugee Board judges. It still has to appoint senators. It cannot sit on its hands. The government has to actually do it. It is one thing to have the legislation, but then the legislation has to be implemented.
If the bill does pass, I hope the government will act on it, fill some of the vacancies and appoint the judges who are needed for this country to be governed properly.