Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to support Bill C-66, an act to establish a procedure for expunging certain historically unjust convictions and to make related amendments to other acts.
Today I will be short and sweet, because I believe that in this House we do have consensus, where all parties do agree that it is important to move forward on this.
As I have noted prior, I had the opportunity to speak to Canadians from coast to coast to coast who are part of the LGBTQ2 community. More specifically, I held consultations with several groups of individuals regarding the national apology. From all of the conversations and research that I did, one of the key requests from this community throughout this process was the request to expunge the records of Canadians who had been charged under the Criminal Code. The request to destroy and remove these judicial records would provide individuals the freedom of having their criminal records that have been looming over them for activities gone.
I had the opportunity to review this bill with the members for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles and St. Albert—Edmonton, following its tabling. Like any bill, there will be questions on specific sections but, overall, I support the principle of this bill. When reviewing the bill, section 25 specifically outlines the eligibility for an applicant, including the type of conviction, consent, and age requirements, things that I believe are all very important. I feel that this perfectly in line and safeguards Canadians from being eligible for offences that are outside of this realm.
The proposed schedule of offences would impact all Canadians, including members of the LGBTQ2 community. This is extremely important as it covers the particulars of the offences. For Canadians who do not have a criminal record, it is hard to realize some of the negative impacts that it has on individuals in many different types of circumstances. Criminal records can have an overwhelmingly negative impact on employment opportunities and opportunities for career advancement. For travel to the United States or for immigration purposes, Canadians with a criminal record can be banned from entering many countries.
Now take into consideration the group of Canadians that this legislation is targeting are no longer viewed as guilty of criminal offences. How unfair would it be to allow them to still have a criminal record, when we know that this is not a crime? It is totally life changing, and I believe that this legislation is doing its part.
As I indicated, I have had the opportunity to speak to many Canadians on this issue. From all of my consultations, every group and individual made the request to have the records of these criminal convictions expunged. It is truly obvious what needs to be done here.
As a Parliament, I believe it is extremely important that the legislation we have in front of us is done. It gives Canadians a way to move forward. I fully support Bill C-66 and look forward to seeing this legislation passed in order to see those who do not deserve these criminal records finally have some sort of peace. It is one step at a time, and I believe we are going in the right direction.