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House of Commons Hansard #111 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was standards.

Topics

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, not only do we need tough laws in Canada but we need tough laws on a worldwide basis, because we do not want to be exporting the problem to another part of the world, whether it is Thailand or another place.

I would like to ask the member if she thinks we are enforcing our own sex tourism laws as toughly as we should? Does she think the government is making any real effort to encourage other jurisdictions that have an identical problem, like Thailand, to bring in their own legislation similar to this?

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has not been very strong on its sex tourism legislation. People probably say they are going on a holiday and if they are found guilty in another country then the extradition should take place.

We need a global approach to legislation that would allow all police forces to enforce the law. There is a gentleman in Canada who looks at what is happening in the Philippines and he makes a point of going there himself to educate the girls and he tells them that they can do better, that they do not have to fall prey to those tourists who come and offer them goodies.

Legislation has to be there. Enforcement has to be there. A global cohesion has to be there if we really want to protect our children and the future of our country.

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, a previous question was about the delay in some of this legislation. I would like to refresh the memories of the hon. members in the House on the way things worked out.

A lot of this legislation was introduced back in late 2007 or 2008. The Prime Minister prorogued Parliament, which meant everything disappeared from the order paper. It was reintroduced and debated and he called an election in violation of the fixed election date act, and that again removed everything from the order paper. About a few weeks or a month after our return, he prorogued Parliament again. Then we were back for another six months, and in January of this year, after this legislation was reintroduced, discussed and debated and some of it sent to committee, he prorogued Parliament again, which meant everything was dropped from the order paper. So we can see the whole sequence of event.

My question to the member is whether this sequence of events, these many, many prorogations and the election that was called, contrary to the fixed election date act, in any way contributed to the delay in the legislation.

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned previously, there were pieces of legislation that the opposition had already agreed to.

The government tries to say it has a tough on crime agenda, or a crime agenda, and we sit here wondering what crime agenda does it really have. If it were really tough on crime, if it really cared about issues, if it really cared about the safety of Canadians, the safety of kids, it would not be proroguing Parliament on a regular basis, because the legislation on the order paper disappears. Private members' bills do not, but those other ones go to zero.

Yes, there has been an impact on Bill C-54 and Bill C-22, and these are the bills that really need to be reinforced and introduced quickly, because we need to protect kids.

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Conservative Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was listening to the member's comments and the questions. I have just a really brief question, because I know time is running out, with respect to prorogation and some of the delays.

I wonder if the hon. member could explain the delay of more than 4,750 days under the previous government to deal with the crime agenda in this country, and the over 13 years and five mandates that Canadians waited to actually have a government, the previous Liberal government, actually talk about crime, and once with the interests of the victims ahead of criminals.

I wonder if, in the context of what she just talked about with respect to elections and prorogation, she could explain why the previous government waited over 4,500 days and five mandates, or were the Liberals just simply waiting to win another election before they would talk about it?

If that is part of the agenda that saw them do nothing about the GST, nothing about child care in this country and nothing about health care, if she could explain that, I would greatly appreciate it. I am sure Canadians would like to have the answer to that question too.

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I go by the statistics, though I know the government and the hon. member do not believe in Stats Canada, but crime had gone down totally and the deterrent of crime was investment in social housing, in literacy, and in education. We had the Kelowna accord. We had Kyoto. We had child care. Come on; the hon. member should give me a break.

All these are crimes against humanity for sure, because it is crime against the environment; it is a crime against anybody's health. Basically the question has no merit.

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government is professing that it is really tough on crime and it wants to get these bills through.

We had the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism on national radio just yesterday, saying that on the immigration and refugee bill, the government is contemplating, as we speak, probably in the backrooms right now, making it a confidence vote; and if it were to fail, we would be into an election right now and all these bills would have to be started over again after an election.

Where is the seriousness on the part of the government to get this legislative agenda through?

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I concur with the hon. member. Another prorogation or another election and these bills will go by the wayside.

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-54 purports to deal with child sexual abuse. To some degree that title is accurate, although significantly overblown.

I know we were hearing some of this in questions and comments in the last member's debate, but there is no question that there is a need for Parliament and the government at the federal level, being responsible for the Criminal Code, criminal legislation, and the whole criminal justice system, to establish reforms in this area. By that I mean legislative reforms. That is Parliament's responsibility.

I want to be very clear, though, that the role we can play at the legislative level in terms of its effectiveness in preventing this type of crime is small in comparison with what our courts, meaning judges, prosecutors and police in particular, could be doing with added resources. The role we are going to be playing in the discussion and debate around this bill, and hopefully, ultimately passing, probably with some significant amendments, will help our police and prosecutors in particular in doing their jobs. There are some provisions in this bill that do that.

On the other hand, the bill is all too typical of the approach by the government to the criminal justice system, to think entirely in terms of punishment and deterrence, even when all of the evidence shows that it does not work in making our society and streets safer, and in particular, in preventing future crime. There is absolutely no evidence.

It is interesting that one of the ministers was asked by a local reporter to provide studies that showed that deterrence works. The minister sent several articles, two of which actually advocated that deterrence did not work and the other one was totally inconclusive. That was the best evidence the minister could come up with.

The government does not drive its legislation, whether in the criminal justice area or elsewhere, by the facts or the evidence but purely by ideology. The government's ideology is very narrow in terms of how it thinks it can make the criminal justice system work better and it all centres on punishment.

We see in the bill a huge number of additional mandatory minimums, which I will come back to, but before I do, we have to set the context with regard to who we are dealing with. As I said earlier, this bill is about the sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children. There is no question that it is going on and has gone on forever in society. What the Conservatives see when they are addressing this type of perpetrator is the classic, stereotypical pedophile, people who do not have the ability to control their violent tactics and sexual urges.

About five years ago we were dealing with another bill under the Liberal administration that dealt with sexual abuse. In the course of those hearings, three witnesses, who by any standards and recognition had the best credentials in the country, gave testimony. They were experts specifically in the field of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, sexual crimes against children.

I want to be very clear. These were not people who are soft on these perpetrators, but they were extremely knowledgeable. All three of them took a quite similar approach in terms of the analysis of who we are dealing with and how best to deal with them.

They broke down the perpetrators into three categories. First is the stereotypical one, and they are there; they are not made up. They are not just figments of the Conservatives' imagination, but they are a very small proportion. These are the ones who we lay people would refer to as being hard-wired. Basically all three of these witnesses, two of whom were psychiatrists and one was a psychologist, said these people are either impossible to deal with in the sense of any treatment or any way of bringing them back from their totally reprehensible conduct, or very difficult to almost impossible. But it was a relatively small percentage of all the perpetrators of the crimes that are committed.

They then said there is a second category that is workable but very difficult.

Then there is the final category. Usually they are young offenders, individuals over 18, so they are in the adult criminal justice system, but still relatively young. Oftentimes it is their first offence of a sexual nature against other children and they are treatable relatively easily. By that I mean counselling, supervision, mentoring, and in some cases, penalties from the criminal justice system, but are treatable.

In fact, what came out in terms of the percentages was that the hard-wired perpetrators account for probably 5% to 7% of all the child sexual abuse crimes that are committed in this country. The middle group is 30% or 35%, or maybe 40%. The balance is as much as 50%, the ones who are treatable.

Having set that context, we then look at the bill and what the government has done here, with a few exceptions, is to take sections of the code where there already are mandatory minimums, but from the government's perspective, they are not tough enough, and it is increasing these.

With regard to those, there are a couple of exceptions and I want to be clear on this, where in fact we may be dealing with hard-wired convicted persons and those mandatory minimums are appropriate. However, the vast majority of the mandatory minimums that the government is introducing here, either as new ones, and there are five or six new ones, or the other 15 or 20, are simply increases.

The people that the government is going to go after, on whom the mandatory minimums are going to be imposed, fit into that larger category, first offenders, people who in fact can be treated. What is going to happen is what is happening already. They are going into the provincial system, because there are no mandatory minimums in here of more than two years. All the mandatory minimums run from 30 days up to one year.

All these people are going to go into provincial institutions, and in most cases, are going to go into local jails and spend their time there after conviction. They are going to get absolutely no treatment. They are going to be exposed to other more serious criminals, some of those serious pedophiles, the hard-wired ones. They are going to learn new techniques to be able to access, for instance, child pornography and the whole pedophile network. So they are actually going to learn how to perpetuate, when they come out, the crimes that they went in for. They are going to get absolutely no treatment, because for the short periods of time that they are there, none of the provinces have programs in place that will provide them with any treatment. They are just not there long enough.

So the mandatory minimums are going to do nothing in terms of preventing these individual criminals from committing crimes in the future. In fact, in every argument we have made, we will actually be exposing society to a greater number of crimes because of the length of time that they are going to be spending in custody.

I want to go through a number of these sections. Clause 3 of the bill moves the mandatory minimum from six months to one year if it is an indictable offence.

Currently if it is a summary conviction offence, which is the Crown making the decision that the offence is not very serious and will proceed in that way, it is now moving to what is now a mandatory minimum under that section, from 14 days to 90 days. In reality, of the 90 days, the person will get a at least a third of the time off, if not two thirds of the time. So instead of spending 7 days in jail, he or she will spend 30 days in jail.

Other than the Conservative Party saying that it is tough on crime and trotting out victims' groups for photo ops, in those circumstances this bill does nothing to prevent that criminal, who has committed and been convicted of a crime, from re-offending, or in effect build in some real prevention mechanisms to see to it that that person is given the proper counselling, the proper supervision, the proper mentoring so that they do not go back out and re-offend under the same types of circumstances.

Going through clause 4, again an indictable offence, currently an offender would spend 45 days in custody and that is being moved up a year. For a summary conviction it is 14 days to 90 days, and we can just go through section after section.

This is not about being at all serious about dealing with this perversion in terms of adults perpetuating oftentimes quite serious violent acts and at the very least minimally violent acts on children.

How do we properly deal with this? All of the evidence we have shows that these silly mandatory minimums have nothing in the way of a preventive mechanism in them. There is none whatsoever.

As a legislature we are going to be able to say that we think this is bad and we want the judge to give more difficult or harsher penalties. The reality is that if we leave this to the judges, in some cases they will impose even harsher sentences and in other cases it will be less.

However, they will also see to it, if it is a probationary order, that once the offender is out of custody that a probation order in fact has meaningful provisions in it so that the supervision, mentoring, counselling and treatment, psychological and psychiatric, is in fact imposed, and in the vast majority of cases, especially in that 50% of files, is successful in preventing and seeing to it that the person does not commit another crime of this nature.

It is a major problem with this legislation. As we have heard from other members of my party, there are other parts of this bill that we have been pressing both the Liberal administration, when it was in power, and the government for well over a dozen years to push for a real, strong, clear mechanism within the Criminal Code to deal with the luring of children under 16 years of age, over the Internet, by telephone and in any number of ways.

The government is moving on this. Currently the luring provision in the code that it is amending talks about just a computer, and now what it is proposing to do is to expand that into telecommunications, using that terminology. It is still too narrow. There are other ways and there are going to be other ways. Anyone who would stand in this House and suggest that we have gotten all means of technology for communicating under our control and use is being extremely naive or ignorant of where we are going with our technology.

We need broader language. It is kind of interesting. One of the sections in this bill, an amendment to the existing code, is really giving judges more authority to restrict communications. In looking at the way communications is defined, it is a very broad wording. It basically says one cannot communicate with anybody under 16 years of age.

We need that kind of wording. That is what was in the NDP private members' bills, talking about communications by any means if the intent is to lure a child, anyone under the age of 16, into a sexual relationship. We need that kind of broad wording.

The government has been extremely narrow in its expansion and that is one of the reasons we will be looking to amend this bill when it gets to committee, and clearly it is going to get to committee. The government is now moving from just a computer definition to a broader telecommunications definition, but it is still not broad enough. I believe that in the future, and even now with some of the material, we may have any number of instances where people may be charged under this section but come forward with technical defences that it will not fit within the definition of telecommunications.

We need to call expert evidence at committee as to ways we can look at technology as it is now and broaden it beyond just the telecommunications wording. Hopefully we would have someone with vision who can look down the road to the next 10 to 20 years and come up with wording that will catch the future developments in our ability to communicate, especially in this kind of criminal activity. That is one area where I believe we do need amendments.

The other concern we have with this bill is that we think there may be an attempt on the part of the government to get around the Sharpe case. As members will recall, that was the individual from British Columbia who was ultimately able to convince the court that it was not pornography that he had produced. However, the government is moving from the current definition of child pornography to saying that it is an offence to use sexually explicit material in the course of this type of offence under various sections that are in this bill and in the code more generally. In effect, it is a crime.

The worry I have is that we may be exposing a number of defences here that are not needed. We will probably need to look to constitutional experts under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and other people from the arts and culture community on whether this would expose us to a long run of litigation, perhaps all the way to the Supreme Court. We need to determine whether this is an end-run around the Sharpe case, and I do not think there is any reason to do that. We are trying to get at the perpetrators of these crimes. I think this is dangerous as it may refocus attempts to seriously get at those hard-wired perpetrators. They are the ones we really have to be after.

Also, and I do not see the bill addressing this at all, a good deal of child pornography is produced by organized crime. There does not seem to be anything in this bill that is really addressing that in terms of the production of that material.

There are a couple of sections in here specifically on the age of consent, and this goes back to other bills that we have worked on. We supported raising the age of consent; however, the Conservatives at one point were prepared to criminalize as many as 800,000 of our youth in this country, by raising the age of consent. If the sexual act was between people who were within five years of each other, it would be a criminal act. We built in that defence, but there are a couple of sections in here where I think we may be faced with the same problem. We would be criminalizing sexual activity between people who are within four or five years of each other, who may be about the same maturity age, but one is chronologically younger than the other. I think we have to take a look at that and build that defence into a couple of these sections as well.

I see my time is up and I will be happy to take questions.

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

1 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very concerned about the victims of crime. In a Winnipeg Free Press article by Mia Rabson, she quoted Sheldon Kennedy as saying, “...child victims spend the rest of their lives trying to handle the psychological trauma of their abuse...”.

What sort of avenues and compensation are available for victims of crime?

In Manitoba, under the Ed Schreyer government, which was the first NDP government in Canada, in 1969 or 1970, we introduced legislation to set up the criminal injuries compensation fund. This has been operating in Manitoba for 40 years now. I understand there is a similar type of fund in Ontario. However, there is no fund for Canada.

For a government that pretends it is supportive of victims, why would there not be a criminal injuries compensation fund on a national basis? What would be the scope of that fund? Would there be any help for victims of this type of crime?

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

1 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, the bill in fact does not address compensation for victims of child sexual abuse at all. The attitude of the government has generally been to leave that to the provinces. Ontario has the most extensive compensatory program in the country, but it has an absolute maximum of $25,000 that could be paid out for victims.

I have done a lot of work on this. When I was in law school, I wrote a major paper on child abuse including child sexual abuse, and I have done a lot of work on this particularly in the early part of my career as a lawyer. The figure of $25,000 would not even cover the counselling for children who have been seriously sexually abused, especially if there was extensive violence and over an extended period of time.

With the number of cases province-wide, we do not have enough people, child psychiatrists or child psychologists in particular, to be able to provide them with treatment. There is a whole bunch of areas where we could be doing much more work to assist victims and to deal with both monetary compensation and also trying to get children reinstated into society as full functioning human beings.

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

1 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I greatly appreciated my colleague's speech on this. He talked about the fact that often what we see in some of the legislation that is being brought forward by the government is regurgitated laws that are currently in place, and it tries to add something else that we have to be very mindful of. We need to make sure that the bill goes to committee to look at the safeguarding of charter rights and the important common law concept of judicial discretion.

Could my colleague talk about the potential unintended consequences of creating additional mandatory minimums?

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

1 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing for the question, because I did want to spend more time on this in my speech, but I ran out of time. There are potentials here, and I have said this in the House before, but this is another example of it. We are increasing mandatory minimums and in a number of cases introducing a few new ones. The risk, especially with judges who are upset with the number of mandatory minimums both the current government and the Liberals before it introduced to restrict them, as the judiciary in this country sees it, comes where we have a serious offence for which there is a mandatory minimum. Let me use the example where there is no mandatory minimum and now one is being imposed.

The tendency on the part of members of the judiciary, both because they are upset with mandatory minimums that are taking that discretion away from them and on the other hand, being deferential to the legislature in our decision making to do this, is that they might say if that is the mandatory minimum and this is a first offence, that is all they are going to impose. If this had been up to the judge, he or she would have imposed a sentence much greater, on the basis that this is a much more serious offence than six months or one year calls for. That is the real risk that we have, especially with the detail of the number of sections we have gone into here where we are increasing sentences from very small amounts in some cases to not much larger amounts in others.

As much as the Conservatives want us to believe otherwise, members of our judiciary are very deferential to the legislature when we make these kind of decisions. I actually wish they were less so and would simply say they were going to impose a more severe penalty because of the facts and scenario in front of them and the limited ability of the person to rehabilitate himself or herself, so they would impose a more severe penalty in order to protect society. They may in fact not do that.

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Conservative Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have to admit that I have always been somewhat nervous because the NDP members talk a lot in the House, but after last week's byelection results, I became a little less nervous. I would like them to speak a heck of a lot more because, quite clearly, they are not on the side of Canadians and Canadians are starting to judge them that way.

In Vaughan the NDP barely eked out a victory over Elvis Priestley. The massive number of 600 votes that party received in Vaughan is more of a testament to the fact that the NDP is not on the same side as Canadians and that Canadians want their government to do what it is doing with its focus on crime. The NDP is suggesting that it is too tough on criminals when they are asked to double-bunk, and heaven forbid there would be deterrence in the system, go figure. That is what the NDP is advocating. That is why that party lost in Winnipeg and it is why the NDP barely eked out 600 votes in Vaughan. After the next election, I am sure Elvis Priestley will actually do better than the NDP in Vaughan.

Canadians have said once and for all that they want a government to do what this government is doing.

Would the member agree that being consistently on the opposite side of Canadians is what has really hurt the NDP and it is why the NDP is not connecting with Canadians and it is why Canadians, in massive numbers, are turning their backs on the NDP?

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have to say to my colleague that his ignorance of the outcome of the byelection in Winnipeg is about as equal to his ignorance on the level of how effective deterrence is.

In the byelection in Winnipeg, that party's candidate dropped from second to third, a distant third. She tried to make crime the principal issue in that game and it all just went downhill. Certainly there is nothing to learn from that in terms of what we are talking about here.

In terms of the issue itself, I challenge my colleague and any minister over there to give me one study that shows deterrence works, just one. If the Conservatives are really serious about their position, let them put some evidence behind it. There is not any. There is not one study that shows that deterrence works.

I have to mention a story that came up at that same committee. We were dealing with child pornography. The police told us about this case where they had tracked down a chain of child pornographers. They were going in systematically and arresting them. Those people knew the police were coming. Yet the final person the police got to was so hard-wired that he was watching child pornography on his computer when the police broke down the door and arrested him. That is the kind of person we are dealing with. Deterrence would mean absolutely nothing to those people whatsoever.

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Is the House ready for the question?

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators ActGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

The House resumed from November 26 consideration of the motion that Bill C-41, An Act to amend the National Defence Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I will begin by seeking unanimous consent to split my time with the hon. member for Markham—Unionville.

Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent to split his time?

Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, they are the fans of my colleague, the member for Markham—Unionville. I get the impression they are more anxious to hear from him than from me. That is understandable, I suppose. He is an excellent member.

I am pleased to rise in debate today on Bill C-41.

We will vote in favour of this bill at second reading. Military justice must absolutely be updated. However, there are some clauses of the bill that, at first glance, are cause for concern. We would like to take the time to study the bill properly in committee.

In 1998, the Liberal government at the time passed Bill C-25. The purpose of that bill was to update the military justice system, and it included a clause that required the operation of the bill to be reviewed after five years.

The former chief justice of the Supreme Court, the Right Hon. Antonio Lamer, drafted a report containing 88 recommendations, which are the reason why we are debating this bill today.

Unfortunately, since the Conservatives have been in government, there has been little action to address Judge Lamer's recommendations.

In April 2006, the Conservatives introduced Bill C-7 to amend the National Defence Act. However, it was never brought to the House of Commons for debate. A year and a half later, the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament, which would, as we all know, become a recurring theme. The Prime Minister's actions in fact killed the bill. The Conservatives introduced it once and the Prime Minister killed the bill by proroguing Parliament.

It took the government approximately five months before reintroducing the bill as Bill C-45 on March 3 of that year. Once again, this bill was never brought forward for second reading debate, and a few months later the Prime Minister broke his own fixed election law, thereby killing the bill again.

It is difficult to believe that the Conservatives give any attention to military justice when we see them introduce bills with absolutely no intention of ever debating them. Therefore, I am pleased we are debating this today and hope we will see more of this bill, but that remains to be seen.

What this shows once again, unfortunately, is that we cannot trust the government, just as we cannot trust it when it comes to military procurement. We have seen what the Conservatives have been saying about the joint strike fighter project, the F-35s, the stealth fighters that they want to purchase. They have said for months in the House that a competition is not required because Canada was part of one back in 1999-2000.