Madam Speaker, I was very impressed with the eloquent argument as to why mandatory minimum sentences make this such a bad bill.
Even if it is one-third bad, a bad bill is a bad bill. I assume and hope that the hon. member for Scarborough—Rouge River will be voting against the bill and persuading his brethren to vote against it.
My question to him will build on his metaphor about the king and the neo-feudalism here. We have a Conservative Party which, through NAFTA and softwood lumber and other bad budget decisions, has destroyed much of our industrial base, our economic base, jobs, families and communities. The Conservatives have failed to help those unemployed persons through EI or other support systems and have driven those poor people into using or selling drugs.
Now, rather than investing in prevention, harm reduction or treatment for those unfortunate people, they want to force more of those impoverished desperate people into jails at a cost to the taxpayers of $72,000 to $110,000 per person.
My question to the hon. member for Scarborough—Rouge River is this. Does he have any idea why these Conservatives are so obsessed with punishing the weakest people in our society?