Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak to Cassie and Molly's law, Bill C-225.
Canadians want fairness. Canadians want justice. This is a prime example of an opportunity to provide that justice in Canada.
A piece of legislation called the unborn victims of crime act was presented to a previous Parliament, and that Parliament decided that it was an issue worthy of debate. The bill was about to go to committee at second reading, but unfortunately time ran out and that Parliament ended. That piece of legislation was put forward by former member of Parliament Ken Epp. We now have a new piece of legislation. It is similar, but it has been refined to clarify that this is not about abortion but about justice. I strongly believe that Canadians would like this legislation to at least be sent to justice committee.
For clarity, in the House, it is a rarity for a member of Parliament to be given a number at the beginning of Parliament. That number stands for the order of precedence for presenting a private member's bill. The member who introduced this legislation was given the unique opportunity of getting a low number. There is a connection too. She respected Ken Epp, and she remembered the time when his bill was almost sent to committee. She now finds herself representing her community and being given the honour and privilege of presenting her private member's bill. It was laid on her heart. She heard the story about Jeff Durham and the tragic loss of his partner, who was carrying their preborn child Molly. They were excited. For him to lose both his partner and his little girl who was yet to be born was tragic. Molly would have been born just a couple of months later.
Jeff wants justice. Canadians want justice. I believe strongly that the majority of us here in Parliament would agree that Jeff Durham deserves the opportunity to go to justice committee and tell his story and why he believes we need changes in the Criminal Code of Canada. At this point in time, the Criminal Code does not recognize the loss of Molly, but it does recognize the loss of Cassie.
The government has said that it is opposed to all forms of gender violence. This is its opportunity to allow the bill to go to committee. The vote will be happening shortly on second reading. Traditionally, a private member's bill is a free vote. I would hope that the Prime Minister would allow justice, would allow fairness, would allow transparency, and would allow victims of crime in Canada the opportunity to have a voice in this Parliament. That will only happen if members of the Liberal majority government give Mr. Jeff Durham and others the opportunity to come to committee and speak. If the Liberals vote against Bill C-225, it will end. The bill will die, and justice and fairness will not be served.
I cannot dream what it would be like to experience the loss that Jeff Durham and his family have experienced. He has the moral right to stand before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. This Parliament has been set up exactly for examples like this. To cut the process short would be a travesty of justice.
If, after hearing from a victim at committee, the government still considers that C-225 should not be supported, that would be their opportunity to vote against it. However, to cut it short before victims have a chance to speak about their losses and why they strongly believe that the Criminal Code needs to be changed and improved is not transparent, is not open, and is not inclusive.
This is a test for this Parliament. This Parliament is a majority Parliament. The Liberal Party of Canada and the Prime Minister have a majority in this House. This is their opportunity to do the right thing. I trust that they will. They have said that they will not support this. I believe they should have an opportunity to reconsider and allow Jeff Durham and others to come to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Removing that opportunity would leave a very unfortunate message, which is that only certain people and certain issues will have an opportunity for justice, and only certain issues will the government listen to and consider.
Is this an opportunity to listen and allow victims to have a voice? I believe so. This is a prime example. I ask the government, and particularly every member in this House, to allow Jeff Durham and his family to have a voice, a voice to call for justice, a voice to call for an amendment. I ask the House to please allow justice to prevail in this land.
Canada is known as a country where one is treated fairly. One can accomplish whatever he or she wants with hard work and commitment. This is an opportunity for the House to show its true colours, its true colours of justice, fairness, and respect for the law. The world watches things like this, as do our children.
This is a political House, yet it is a partisan House at times. This is also an opportunity to lay aside partisan issues and do the right thing. Each of us is here for a short period of time. We will look back at our time here and do some soul-searching and wonder if we did the right thing. Maybe we do not always do the right thing.
This is an issue of conscience. It has been made very clear that this would not reopen the issue of abortion. It is whether the victims should have the right to share their experience, the travesty they went through. Would that be part of a healing process? I hope so. Hopefully this House will not deny justice being done.