Mr. Speaker, as the Liberal critic, the member for Lac-Saint-Louis, has already indicated, we will vote to send this bill to committee to ensure that it makes sense and to hear from experts as to whether it is even constitutional. I have serious concerns as to its constitutionality.
I am really troubled by what has transpired in Parliament since the Conservatives obtained their majority government. As I have said many times in this House, I am amazed by the obsession of the Conservatives with crime. Against all evidence, members of the Conservative government continue to propagate the myth that Canada is a hotbed of criminal activity.
This obsession and fixation with creating and then communicating this erroneous notion of rampant crime is really offensive to many Canadians. I will tell you why it is so offensive: Crime is on the decline in Canada and has been for some time. These facts matter. In any real democracy, laws are based on reality and evidence.
However, that is not the case in the Conservative world. Facts do not matter. Scaring Canadians seems to be their goal, and it is a goal without merit or honour.
However, facts do matter. The truth matters. Evidence matters.
Canadians expect their government to be honest. Canadians expect their elected members of Parliament and senators to enact laws based on facts and evidence. Canadians do not want law founded on feelings or ideology. Canadians do not want their laws to be reduced to a tool to fundraise from a small, narrow right-wing base.
I do find it very troubling that we have a government that essentially says to Canadians, “Facts are just facts and are really a nuisance, because they get in the way of our feeling that deep down, crime is rampant. So let us just proceed on that basis”.
That is the foundation on which the government operates, and by extension, it is how the members of its backbench operate. It is offensive to those of us who value facts and evidence. Yet what we have witnessed since last fall when Parliament got into full swing is a government and its members practically climbing over themselves, looking for any opportunity to look tough on crime.
Since Parliament has returned, over 90% of all private members' bills presented by the Conservative Party have contained some crime initiative or amendment to the Criminal Code. Again, this absurd obsession with manufacturing a crisis is very troubling.
Crime is not rampant in Canada. People are not roaming the streets in large gangs, causing widespread unrest. Police are not, as we speak, in riot gear throughout the country. However, to listen to the Conservatives, one would think there is an armed insurrection in Canada. These notions are false.
I understand that from time to time Parliament does need to make adjustments to our Criminal Code. However, the actions of the government and its members in tinkering with the Criminal Code through private members' bills will have long-term effects on the coherence of our criminal law.
The Conservatives, though, find themselves in a majority. This majority provides them with the opportunity to legislate their ideology, to do as they please, and facts be damned.