Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today to speak about Bill C-77, to enact military justice reforms. They say that imitation is the best form of flattery. The government of the day has taken into account many of the proposals that were in Bill C-71 from the previous government, with the exception of adding a couple of things. It has simply copied and pasted that legislation into Bill C-77.
I want to spend a couple of moments on some issues that have come up lately in the House. Throughout the debate this morning, we heard the government side talk about victims and victims' rights. On this side of the House, and in the previous government, I have strongly advocated for the rights of victims, as we did the previous government with the introduction of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. It is paramount that governments ensure that they put the rights of victims ahead of the rights of criminals.
Over the course of the last couple of weeks, we have seen some highly publicized situations come up that have gained the attention of Canadians, in large part because of the issues brought up in the House. I will note two cases in particular as examples.
There is the Christopher Garnier case in Nova Scotia. Christopher Garnier murdered police officer and volunteer firefighter Christine Campbell. It was a highly publicized case. Ahead of veterans, Mr. Garnier was receiving PTSD benefits from Veterans Affairs.
Of course over the last week, we have also seen the issue around Tori Stafford come up. Her murderer is now sitting in an aboriginal healing centre in northern Saskatchewan when she should be behind bars and razor wire, which is exactly where she was before.
On the issues of victims' rights, we have to ensure we put them ahead of the rights of criminals. We have not seen that, as an example in the case of the government, over the course of the last couple of weeks. Many of us heard the father of Tori Stafford over the weekend, pleading with the Prime Minister of our country to correct that situation.
Fortunately, tomorrow on opposition day, members of the government side will have the opportunity to stand and do what is right with respect to an opposition day motion we will be put forward. It calls on the Government of Canada, the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Public Safety to reverse the decision of Correctional Service Canada and ensure Tori Stafford's killer is put back behind bars and razor wire where she belongs, not surrounded by trees at a healing centre. The government and its members will have the opportunity tomorrow to do the right thing by standing in support of the opposition day motion.
On the issue of Bill C-71, as I said earlier, the Conservatives will always stand for victims and not criminals. Over the weekend, I had a robust discussion about this very issue as it related to criminals. It was more so about the current legislation, Bill C-71 and Bill C-75, as it relates to the new Liberal gun registry and changes to criminal justice acts, and in particular about the list of many otherwise serious criminal activities being reduced to summary convictions.
In some of the discussions I had around my riding this weekend, people were quite concerned not only with the gun registry and that it did little to tackle the real issue of gangs, gang violence and illegal gun activity, but also with the fact that many of these more heinous and serious crimes would be potentially reduced to summary convictions. The reason for that is the government's inability to fill judicial appointments on the bench and cases are getting backlogged. The government would simply rather slap criminals on the wrist with this potential summary conviction rather than looking after victims' rights and victims instead of criminals.
Part of this legislation, one of the important pieces of it, is the Gladue decision. For the most part, this is a copy and paste of the previous bill, Bill C-71, from the previous Conservative government. However, the main difference between the two would be the addition of the Gladue decision into the National Defence Act.
In effect, this addition would mean that aboriginal members of the CAF, who face charges under the National Defence Act, would face lighter punishments if convicted. That causes problems with respect to the fact that the special considerations for indigenous members could result in sentences that would be less harsh than those of other CAF members. In fact, it could undermine the operational discipline, morale and some of the anti-racism policies of the CAF. It is a concern.
We will support this legislation and get it to committee to ensure we hear from those various stakeholders, such as first nations communities and advocates.