Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of things I want to talk about this morning with respect to the motion for concurrence.
First, the hon. member for Trinity—Spadina and her party have spoken for months about President Obama and the new administration. While the election was happening, they spoke about the change the man would bring to the country, how much his administration would mean to a change leadership in the United States and how important it was for him to be elected. Once he was elected, on a daily basis, the NDP quoted, spoke and referred to him. Yet the hon. member had two opportunities to respond to a question from me and from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence.
Today we have heard that the NDP and the hon. member for Trinity—Spadina have no faith whatsoever in the justice system of the United States, in the administration of the new President and the President himself. It is unacceptable that the NDP would use that. In fact, the hon. member did not say anything to support him. That needs to be put on the record.
I speak passionately about this for a number of reasons. The hon. member for Trinity—Spadina mentioned Patrick Hart and what he had faced when he saw a young girl get shot in Iraq.
I want to read from a story about a young girl in Toronto on Boxing Day, who was also shot and killed:
The Boxing Day shooting took place December 26, 2005 on Toronto's Yonge Street when a shootout between two youth gangs resulted in the death of a 15-year-old student. Six other bystanders—four men and two women—were wounded. The incident took place on one of Toronto's most crowded streets on the very busy shopping day, just a few blocks north of the Toronto Eaton Centre.
The story generated coverage across not only our country, but around the world. The story goes on:
Jane Creba...a student in Grade 10 at Riverdale Collegiate Institute, was killed in the incident. While shopping with her sister, she crossed the road to go to find a public washroom on the west side of the street, when the gunfight erupted. One bullet passed through her upper torso, lodging in her clothing; it was later recovered in hospital. She was rushed to hospital and died during emergency surgery.
What does that have to do with the hon. member's comments this morning? I can tell the House exactly what it has to do with them. Prior to this motion for concurrence, the Minister of Justice introduced two specific pieces of legislation that would deal with issues of gun and gang violence. These would specifically deal with a young girl who was murdered on the streets of downtown Toronto.
I know the hon. member for Trinity—Spadina has a compassionate commitment and an ideological perspective on American war deserters, but I and the Conservative Party disagree with it fundamentally. However, that is her perspective and she has a right to hold that view.
At the same time, why does she take away from the very justice legislation that would deal with issues she and her party believe are important and very close to her riding in downtown Toronto?
The member for Windsor—Tecumseh sits on the justice committee and is the justice critic for the NDP. He stated clearly that he believed, on behalf of his party, that we should fast track the legislation that would be before the House today.
At the very same time, we are now delaying what I believe is some of the most important legislation we will deal with in the 40th Parliament. If passed by Parliament, the proposed act to amend the Criminal Code will automatically impose a first degree murder charge on murders connected to organized crime activity. First degree murder is subject to a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for 25 years.
The proposed bill will also create a new offence to address drive-by and other reckless shootings. This offence will carry a mandatory minimum sentence of four years imprisonment with a maximum of fourteen years. The minimum sentence will increase if the offence is committed for a criminal organization and with a prohibited or restricted firearm such as a hand gun. It will also create two new offences of aggravated assault against a peace or public officer and assault with a weapon on a peace or public officer. This will be punishable by maximum penalties of 14 and 10 years respectively.
The Minister of Justice is passionate about these issues. He cares about them as does this government. In fact, we have an opposition party that believes in this, and while we may criticize at times its belief in the need for stronger justice legislation, it is committed to this legislation.
Apparently the NDP is committed to moving this legislation forward, but if it is 100% committed to this, why do we stand here today to deal with an issue that has been dealt with already and has been voted on in the House? We have a democratically elected new President in the United States who, according to the very party that she represents, will treat those who are sent back to their country in a fair and democratic way under its justice system, which we all agree is a fair justice system.
We can continue this debate on another day, there is no question. Right now two important justice bills are before the House, which aim to deal with gang violence.
Therefore, I move:
That the debate be now adjourned.