Madam Speaker, my Bloc Québécois colleague, the member for Compton—Stanstead, who has been fighting to have this bill passed for three years now, introduced Bill C-343, which would provide assistance for the families of victims of crime or suicide.
As a mother, I am very honoured to speak to this bill. I must mention that this bill has the support of a number of individuals and groups, including the Murdered or Missing Persons' Families' Association, whose current president told me that he supported the bill and wanted to see the Conservatives support it.
I think that when we are talking about human life and suffering, partisanship no longer matters. This bill is based on the recognition of a fundamental human reality, since up until now, families of victims of crime or suicide had to continue to work through their suffering, as though nothing had happened.
In a modern society like ours, workers who are confronted by tragedies like this must be able to have their jobs guaranteed. The federal government must follow Quebec's lead. Two years ago, with the passage of Bill 58, Quebec helped guarantee the jobs of these family members for up to two years. With Bill C-343, workers under federal jurisdiction will be protected, as are workers in Quebec. It is a matter of justice.
The bill does even more than that. As I said, the bill helps guarantee jobs, but it also allows these families to take a leave from work and to receive employment insurance benefits for up to 52 weeks. That would enable these people to deal with their suffering and work through their grief, although that can take a very long time. At least something would be done for them. Accordingly, the bill also proposes changes to the Employment Insurance Act.
On the face of it, this bill is not only important, but absolutely crucial for the families of victims of crime. How could anyone vote against it? I simply do not understand. Who could vote against this kind of bill, which proposes important measures for these families? Who? The so-called champions of law and order, who claim they want to work for victims and help victims? As usual, it is nothing but words, words, words. When the time comes to take real action and support a bill that, logically, should be supported, they do not want to. They do not show up.
Personally, and many Bloc members think the same thing, I would have thought that this bill would get the support of at least one Conservative—not two, one—at least the person who has publicly supported it from its inception and even helped create it. That would be only too logical. But yesterday we learned that the senator, the one Conservative who could have supported this bill, had gone back on his word. Suddenly, the bill was no good and, according to him, it was completely useless. He added that the Conservative solution, mentioned in the throne speech and the budget, is much better and that the Conservatives no longer needed to support this bill, which is completely useless.
But that is not true. What the Conservatives are proposing and what this bill proposes are two completely different things. What they are proposing—or what we think they might propose—is an ombudsman, as my colleague mentioned earlier. So far, he has said the ombudsman position has been created, but upon reading, we learn that it will be created. It has not even been created yet.
I do not know what he is talking about. I am not sure he even knows what he is talking about. There is no ombudsman, and if there is one, I would like to know. We would all like to know.
What are we being offered? $3.3 million. An ombudsman would cost $1.5 million. This would leave $1.8 million for the families of murdered children or other family members. There is nothing, however, for the families of family members who have been kidnapped. Naturally, there is nothing with respect to suicide. There is nothing for children who might have suffered severe injuries. Nothing. Can it be said that our bill and these proposals are one and the same? No. Logic dictates that they are not the same.
Our bill is much more generous. Incidentally, I thank the other two opposition parties for recognizing it outright.
Our bill was drafted with this person. To say that it is completely useless is tantamount to saying that the bill is useless to those having to cope with the disappearance of minor children, the death by suicide of a spouse, common law partner or child, and the families with minor children who have become disabled as a result of a crime, that it is useless and irrelevant to them. To say that this bill is completely useless shows contempt for all the families of victims of crime other than murder. I am sorry to say that I would never have expected such a degree of partisanship in this House.
Let us be clear. The Conservatives' proposal set out in the throne speech and the budget is a clunker, as they are called in the automotive industry. The reality is that we do not want their clunker.
As I said, we have the support of the new president of the AFPAD, the murdered or missing persons' families' association.