Mr. Speaker, this government is introducing yet another lousy bill. The government should have done a little more research and consulted experts in the matter to draft a better bill.
However, I do understand this government's intention. It must be said that the members across the way do have a genuine and deep desire to protect victims. All parties in the House can agree on that. There is certainly no disagreement between the government and the official opposition on that.
However, for all their zeal, they still have to do things properly. The government must take into consideration current legislation and even other bills that it has introduced.
It would have made more sense to put some of the provisions of this bill into their bill on the Canadian victims bill of rights. Why did the Conservatives not do that? I do not know.
My colleague from Gatineau, who does an excellent job as our party's justice critic, already mentioned that point. I want to commend her for the excellent job she does. I am honoured to have a colleague like her.
Bill C-48, which the member mentioned, was introduced during the previous Parliament. It amended the Criminal Code and the National Defence Act. Before the 2011 election, the bill had already been passed at third reading on division—not unanimously, as my colleague claimed. That is an important detail.
At the time, Steve Sullivan, who was the first ombudsman for victims of crime and who supports our position, said that the bill was nothing more than smoke and mirrors. If someone is charged with first degree murder, the crown is generally not concerned with less serious offences. When Mr. Olson was found guilty of murdering 11 children, the crown was not concerned with the charges of kidnapping or sexual assault, even though he clearly also committed those crimes. The crown would have had to prove each crime and could have used that to encourage a plea bargain, but it still depends on the judge's willingness to sentence someone to more than 25 years, which Mr. Sullivan thinks is unlikely.
He does not think that many judges would sentence a criminal to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years. He does not think that judges would do this. As a caveat, I want to point out that nearly all modern democratic countries offer the possibility of parole.
In the bill we are examining today, judges retain their discretion, so how is this a solution to the problem the member who introduced this bill is trying to solve?
Mr. Sullivan also went on to say that, when offenders are sentenced to life in prison without parole for 25 years, it is understood that they will not be granted parole if they represent a danger or a risk.
This affects a very small number of offenders, specifically those who abduct, sexually assault and murder someone. These sordid crimes are rather rare. Mr. Olsen and Mr. Bernardo are examples of offenders who fall into this category. This measure would be used, at the most, only a few times a year, but it would not change anything for the families of victims.
We should listen to the opinion of the former federal ombudsman for victims of crime. It is clear that Mr. Sullivan thinks that this bill does not do enough and would be useless. That is unfortunate.