Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by thanking all members of Parliament for engaging in this debate. It has been a great opportunity to bring the intentions of Bill C-583 to the forefront.
I will talk briefly about the impetus for the bill and my belief in it. However, before I get to that, there are a few people in my community in the Yukon I would like to thank for all the work they have done to support this legislation getting this far.
I would particularly like to thank Rod Snow and Heather MacFadgen; the great people at FASSY and Mike McCann; and a good friend and former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Gina Nagano, who provided some fantastic insight into the merits of Bill C-583 on a recent visit here in Ottawa.
My staff, of course, as members can imagine the evolution of this bill, have done a tremendous amount of work with the broad stakeholders across Canada, and for that I thank them.
I thank the great stakeholders in our nation who have done so much work that we have been able to get the bill to this point.
I want to touch on one thing, so that those across the community realize. Unfortunately, in the life of a private member's bill, time is not always our friend. We know that it is not immediate, but as we near the end of the 41st Parliament, I am being very realistic about the chances of my bill now getting through all the phases a bill needs to go through, including three readings in the Senate. It is important to me that we do not just have a symbolic victory for this bill, but that we actually have concrete, measurable, and tangible things.
On that note, I was proud to support the government's initiative to expedite the subject matter of this bill, move it into committee, break down the silos, and go across departments to study this bill from a broader range than the focus I had under Bill C-583. From that, I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that we are going to achieve outcomes and recommendations that will provide a broader benefit for the entire community of FASD. I very much look forward to seeing the results of that study and hearing expert testimony right across Canada, particularly from my home territory in the Yukon, which I know are leading the way in FASD research. I am looking forward to that.
I know the recommendations are going to be concrete. I know they are going to be solid and beneficial to the entire community. I know, without exception, that we are going to build on the great work we are already doing as a government, take those recommendations, and come out with an action plan that will invariably improve the lives of people living with FASD in Canada. I am very excited about that.
I cannot help but notice that, in the world of social media, already the NDP has tweeted out that I have agreed to kill my own bill. Let me correct the record on that point before those members get on their tweeter storm.
This is an important step for people living with FASD and an important step for the community. I urge NDP members, before they launch out into their social media hack job on this, to understand that this is critical for the community and important for the people across this country. Their opportunity to study and research this is going to be the most significant step forward that we have had on FASD in a long time in the Canadian Parliament. For that I am proud, and for their previous support of my bill, I am thankful. However, I ask them, I urge them, to not play politics with this issue, get on board, support the committee, provide witnesses, participate wholeheartedly and fulsomely, provide recommendations that are going to help this community, avoid the social media attack campaign that they have already started less than a minute and a half ago, and get on side with this community. That is what I am asking as we move forward, and I look forward it.
Fundamentally, as a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and as a deputy superintendent of the Whitehorse correctional facility, I know and I have seen first-hand the impact of the criminal justice system on people living with FASD who involve themselves or get mixed up in it. I believe fundamentally that the merits of my bill are sound and I stand behind the tenets of that piece of legislation. Were it not for the time I had left, this bill would still be going forward, and I know with a good amount of support from the House of Commons.
I will leave members with this note.
I know that our government stands behind victims, and victims first, and people with FASD are victims first. Long before they ever become offenders in the criminal justice system, they are victims. There is no other population in our country who, when they take their very first breath, are on a crash course with the criminal justice system, and that is true for people with FASD.
I look forward to bringing this issue to committee, getting great results with the subject matter experts who exist in our nation, and finding concrete and real results.
I look forward to everyone in this place participating wholeheartedly in that study so that we can improve the lives of Canadians. I thank the government for its efforts on this.