Madam Speaker, with the exception of my colleagues who are here today, and as loath as I am to listen to lawyers, there seems to be an important need to address the comments made by those who actually watch the sentencing of the folks accused of crimes.
Community services, addiction treatment centres, and all of the rest of the front line social safety net, are getting torn up day after day. It seems to me that we either pay for it upfront or we pay a lot more in misery and dollars later on.
We see that with the prevention numbers. The government spends almost nothing on prevention or treatment. Almost all of its focus goes toward enforcement and policing, and even there it seems to have screwed up. The government missed its promise to the RCMP in terms of the number of officers it wants to put on the street. The government is having money issues.
In terms of listening to the lawyers, the ones who actually prosecute, when they work out sentences and try to enforce the laws that this place designs, they say that minimum mandatory sentences will not work.
That seems to me very compelling evidence. I do not think any lawyers' association in Canada would come forward and say that if it were not true. I do not see what vested interest they would have in lighter sentencing. They want to see these folks prosecuted as well.
The government has just chosen ideology over fact and it is unfortunate for all of us.