Mr. Speaker, it is a real honour to speak to the bill.
I want to share with the House how the bill came about. About two years ago, a constituent visited me in my office. She was a mom and she told me the story about her daughter who had been sexually assaulted by the neighbour right across the street. That was a horrific experience for the whole family. Then the horror continued as the courts permitted the offender to serve a large portion of the sentence at home.
The family lived in terror, keeping its blinds closed. The members of the family were afraid to go out because they might have seen the offender. Every time they would return to their neighbourhood and home, a home that should be safe in a neighbourhood they loved, from work or school, the whole family, the mother, the father, the siblings would have this horrible feeling in their gut of whether they would see this person and how would they respond to the person.
It was a very friendly, close-knit neighbourhood, with neighbourhood barbecues on the street, and that all ended when the courts provided the offender the opportunity to serve the sentence at home, which was right across the street from the victim.
I appreciate my colleagues across the way expressing concern that this may be a knee-jerk reaction. I can assure them this is not. Shortly after reviewing this horrific story, I contacted other members, including the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca. I knew of his legal experience. Through the consultation process, even talking to members across the way, Bill C-489 was developed.
I thank all members of the House for indicating support for the bill to go to the next step, the justice committee. It is important we develop something that will consider the victims and the impact of sentencing on the victims, and I believe the bill does that.
I thank the legal experts from private members' business. I thank the Minister of Justice and the minister's staff, particularly Dominic. I thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and the member for Okanagan—Coquihalla, the member for Brampton West, the member for Kildonan—St. Paul, the opposition members and the critics. I would not have been able to move forward without their help.
The duty of each of us is to make Parliament work. We are doing that with Bill C-489. I look forward to critiquing it, amending it, so it makes it even safer.
On behalf of all Canadians, I thank all members of Parliament as we work to make all Canadian homes safer.