Yes, in Nunavut and in Newfoundland and Labrador. We should try to replicate that model so we are not just seeing one province lead the way. We should all have an opportunity to lead the way.
I know I have taken up a lot of time in the House and I appreciate the encouragement to continue. I see the government House leader encouraging me with his nods and smiles. I could continue because there is a lot to talk about this legislation, but I know there are other members in the House who may wish to participate in this debate. I did have unlimited time and I was not threatening to use it all, but now that we have time allocation I see that the more time I speak it will actually be taking away from other members. I know some of my colleagues wish to speak and perhaps we will have some questions and comments from the other side.
I know we have another couple of hours today under the time allocation, which is a shame because this seems to be a real opportunity. We know it has gone through the Senate, through the House and the politics of the matter. We had a little dust up about that Wednesday afternoon when the government's plans for the public relations tour on Wednesday was sidetracked. The minister went out with Sheldon Kennedy, who is a fine man, a great hockey player and a great role model for young people. In fact, I think he is a hero to people who are victims of child sexual abuse.
I know very much about that. I spent seven or eight years in the 1990s working with the victims of the Mount Cashel Orphanage sexual abuse scandal. I represented them on the civil side trying to get redress and compensation for what happened to them. In that process, I was very much involved in trying to assess the damage to their lives as a result of being sexually abused as a child. They went through the criminal process and I was there with them. I was an observer and even that process was excruciating because they were testifying. They had to not only testify but be cross-examined by people who were denying that they actually did it. It was very traumatic.
During that period, I came to know what post-traumatic stress disorder was. We all kind of know now because of what we have been hearing about soldiers, so it is now a known quantity, but in the 1990s it was hardly known. It just barely made it into the last edition of what is called the DSM, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders put out by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM-III contained this information and the DSM-IV expanded on PTSD.
Mr. Kennedy had not come out publicly then. The young men who had been at Mount Cashel were at the Hughes Inquiry in late 1989. The people I represented there very bravely talked about what happened to them. I am very familiar with what these victims went through. I met Mr. Kennedy when he testified before our committee. We, along with others, wanted to ensure that victims of child sexual abuse were respected and that perpetrators of these type of crimes were dealt with severely by the courts, and indeed they were. In the case of the perpetrators of the Mount Cashel sexual abuse incidents and crimes, they were treated extremely seriously by the court. In fact, far more seriously than the mandatory minimums that are contained in this legislation.
I want to say again for the record if it needs to be said, which it should not but apparently for the minister it does, the Minister of Justice repeated on Wednesday that somehow or other the members on this side did not want the perpetrators of sexual assault to be treated seriously by our courts. That is the kind of mythology the minister likes to perpetrate, which is why this debate is important. People get a chance to hear where we are coming from on this issue. It allows us to repeat what we did in the House last year.
Let us take the part that deals with child sexual offences, with the new offences of Internet luring, with the new offence that could be called grooming of potential victims out of the bill. Let us deal with the more controversial stuff in committee and see if we can improve it, but let us take that out of the bill, give it a fast track and put it in place.
I say to Mr. Sheldon Kennedy and anybody out there who is sympathetic to Mr. Kennedy and victims of sexual assault, as I am, that we had an opportunity to do that last fall. The government not only failed to take up the offer but it took the position that we were wasting time by even bringing it up, that this was a delaying tactic. It is very amusing when one seeks to fast-track something through a motion in the House, government members say it is a delaying tactic. Did they listen to what I was saying, or are they on a message track of some sort because they think all we do over here is try to delay things?
Instead, we were trying to fast-track that legislation because we believe that as soon as the legislation passed, there would be an opportunity to prevent more serious crimes from taking place. Internet luring was being made easier to prosecute, as well as the so-called grooming of or showing children sexually explicit materials, which is a step we are told takes place as a way to soften a potential victim before a meeting is arranged. We would actually be preventing sexual assaults by passing that. We were anxious to see that happen, but the government saw that as a delaying tactic.
I will leave you, Mr. Speaker, and those watching to judge whether something like that would be considered a delaying tactic or a responsible attempt to try to do what we could to prevent further victimization of potential victims of sexual assault. I know how devastating it can be to a young person and a young person's life. I will not go into all of the consequences, but they are legion, and are hard to fathom and difficult to overcome.
I know there will be an opportunity for some questions and comments, but I would like to end my remarks with an amendment. I move:
That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:
“a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint their Honours that the House disagrees with the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts because relying on the government to list states which support or engage in terrorism risks unnecessarily politicizing the process of obtaining justice for victims of terrorism.”