Mr. Speaker, I also rise in support of Bill C-384. We as a party, and I as an individual member of the House, support the rationale behind Bill C-384, which is that Canadians will not tolerate acts motivated by bias, prejudice or hatred.
Bill C-384, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, proposes to amend the Criminal Code by adding a new offence to the existing mischief provisions.
The proposed amendment would make it a specific offence with increased penalties when the mischief is committed against an educational or recreational property, institution or object associated with an institution that is used exclusively or principally by a group identified by colour, race, religion or national or ethnic origin, as well as sexual orientation. The new provision would apply if it could be established that the perpetrator's mischievous act was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on religion, race, colour, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.
When such a hateful event does occur, we need to ensure we have all the tools in place so that our criminal justice system responds in the way that is most appropriate to the circumstances. It is important to have strong Criminal Code provisions. Bill C-384 would add to the existing provisions and respond to harms that affect the foundations of our Canadian society.
As Canada becomes an increasingly diverse population, with peoples arriving here from around the world, it is incredibly important that we maintain the civic traditions our society is based on. I note that over the last number of years Statistics Canada has released data which establishes that one in six Canadians is an identifiable minority and shows that the number is going to increase in the coming decades, such that we could quite quickly see a country where one in four, and possibly even one in three, will be an identifiable visible minority.
In the context of a country that is rapidly changing and whose demographics are rapidly changing due to our high rates of immigration, it is incredibly important that we preserve the traditions on which this country and our society are based.
A key element of that tradition is ensuring that new Canadians integrate into Canadian society and that they integrate economically and socially. That certainly is one part of the equation, but the other part of the equation is ensuring that Canadians as individuals are protected under the law, that they are treated as citizens who are equal to every other citizen in the land, whether their families have been here for hundreds and hundreds of years or whether they have recently arrived.
I think the bill strengthens that second part of our society, the second part of the foundation of our society, which is to ensure that acts of intolerance and hatred perpetrated toward educational institutions and identifiable objects that these groups have erected simply will not be tolerated in this country. I think this bill will send a clear message to that effect and will also equip the criminal justice system with the tools it needs to ensure greater protection of minority groups.
It is incredibly important for all parties to work together in the House to take a unified stand against this sort of intolerance in Canada. I can commit to the House, as do the rest of the members of my party, the Conservative Party, that we will work together to ensure that all Canadians have a justice system that reflects our values as a nation.