Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to rise to speak to Wynn's law as well. I would like to thank the member for St. Albert—Edmonton for bringing the bill forward. He has been a tireless champion on it, and has worked with me in my riding as well to raise awareness of the issue. I would like to thank him for all his efforts.
This issue hit us pretty close to home in northern Alberta. I will start by backing up a bit. We all remember the events that took place in 2005 in Mayerthorpe, where four police officers were gunned down. That was right near my riding. That was something that rocked the nation at the time, so the day that David Wynn was killed brought back all those memories.
I know my own communities were reeling with those memories. We all thought those days were behind us, that we were not going to see another police officer fall in the line of duty in northern Alberta again. However, there we were a few short years later, and another fallen officer. I remember the day well when we heard on the radio that a police officer had been checking licence plates in the parking lot at the casino, and that had led to him being gunned down.
For me, that was an introspective point in my life. I thought about my time as an automotive mechanic. I was working in Barrhead. I thought that guy probably went to work today thinking it was just another day of work, the same as I did. I am sure he kissed his wife goodbye, and said goodbye to his sons, but never thought he would not see them again in the evening, or whenever he got off his shift. That is a powerful feeling. He was of a similar age to what I am now, and I know the feelings I have every evening when I come home and see my kids. David Wynn is a real story of humanity. The fact that he chose the career as a police officer to protect his community is profound.
I would like to thank all those who stand in the line of duty, protecting our communities and working hard every day. Some of my colleagues with whom I sit here have done that as well. I take my hat off to them. Through the process of the bill progressing, I have had an opportunity to chat with the member for Yellowhead, who is a former police officer. He worked in the RCMP for over 25 years. He has some great stories about protecting communities and things like that. He also says there are some more ugly sides to it. The bill we have before us today, termed Wynn's law, elicits those feelings of the times when we really see where our police force members put their lives on the line, quite literally.
I remember just sitting in my vehicle that day. I heard it over the radio on my drive to work in the morning. I remember thinking, what are we going to do next? How do we solve a problem like this? For me, at the time it seemed beyond my grasp to see how we would solve an issue like this. There are people out there for whom there seems to be no solution.
Today, we cannot reverse the actions of this individual. We cannot reverse the life taken, but we can, in honour of his memory, stand up in this place. That is one of the huge privileges we all have as we stand or sit in this place. We have the ability to see wrongs of the past, and issues that have places and areas in law where we can actually make a big difference. I know this is one of the things I continually say whenever anyone asks me why I pursued becoming a member of Parliament, it is to make a difference, to do something good in the world.
Bill S-217, in light of the situation around it, entitled “Wynn's law” is, to me, the whole reason why we are here today. It is to solve some of these problems we see in the world, to make the world a better place, and work to close a loophole.
I am sometimes frustrated by lawyers. The very first time I met the member for St. Albert—Edmonton, I asked him what he did, and he told me he was a lawyer. I said that we need more rule of law and less rule of lawyers. However, there are times when having a keen legal mind on some of these things, and seeing how we can, through the rule of law, solve some of these problems in the world, is much appreciated.
I typically see things from 30,000 feet, in broad strokes. With this particular bill, just a change of the word “may” to “shall” could make all the difference. It could make the difference between someone being out on the street and later killing someone and someone being kept incarcerated so that he or she is not out on the street gunning down police officers. That, to me, is profound.
I take my hat off to the member for St. Albert—Edmonton for even knowing about this in the first place, although I will say that if members need to know anything, the member for St. Albert—Edmonton is a walking encyclopedia. There is no doubt about that, particularly when it comes to this place. If members want to know the name of the riding a member represents and how many votes that person won by, they should ask the member for St. Albert—Edmonton. He will tell them lickety-split. There is no doubt about that. It is no wonder he would come up with such a profound bill in this place. He knows the workings of this place well. He has been at it a long time. I take my hat off to him.
I am fairly emotionally attached to this whole issue, but I was at a bit of a loss as to how to deal with it. At the time, I was not even considering being elected, but now that I am here, I am very happy to be standing in this place and arguing in defence of Wynn's law. It is a concrete action that could be taken to do two things: to recognize the sacrifice of Mr. Wynn and to make sure that it does not happen again.
We know that after the fallen four in Mayerthorpe happened, we all said, “Never again”, and we honoured their memory. There is now a national memorial in the town of Mayerthorpe that I drive by often. However, the passing of David Wynn struck just too close to home.
I plead for everyone to support the bill. I think it is a bill that is long overdue. It is a monument to the hard work of the member for St. Albert—Edmonton but would also be a monument to David Wynn, who lost his life on that fateful day.