Mr. Speaker, I tried to answer that, but apparently it is very difficult for some people to understand why we bring in mandatory minimum sentences. It is to send a message to those who would break the law. It is not reducing the discretion of judges.
For the edification of my friend across the way, we have had mandatory minimum sentences in our country for upwards of 15 years. Previous governments brought them in specifically to say that certain crimes, certain actions taken by individuals, require a minimum amount of sentencing. We call those mandatory because we want to impress upon those who would break the law that this is more serious than other crimes. In this case, we brought in some very minimal mandatory sentences.
When my friend says our government has done it, we have actually had mandatory minimum sentences for some time. As a former police officer, I can remember the judgment of several courts saying that the Criminal Code is a living document. It changes. Circumstances change. Societal norms and circumstances change.
It is unfortunate that some people are stuck in a rut somewhere thinking we should not continue along a path of that living document, showing that Canada as a society is changing and we must meet that. I believe our citizens want these mandatory minimum sentences.