Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question is a good one. The bill as it went to the other place reserved preliminary inquiries or the right to preliminary inquiry for only offences that carry the potential of a life sentence. We heard from senators. We heard from criminal defence lawyers and others that perhaps this was too stringent a criterion, that in fact, in many complex cases, a preliminary inquiry actually helped to make the case run in a more efficient manner perhaps by identifying the kinds of evidence and whether or not certain kinds of evidence would be heard.
The other place recommended a change that would have allowed for a preliminary inquiry to be expanded to all sorts of serious offences, but with a discretionary criterion that would have created extra burdens on the system, particularly in the early years as we were sorting out the criteria. I will not go into the detail again, as I mentioned it in my speech.
We have tried to achieve a middle balance, expanding the number of offences by roughly 100, by saying a preliminary inquiry will be automatically possible where the penalty is 14 years or greater, including the life sentence but expanding the number. We feel this is an appropriate and efficient compromise without the discretion. Again, we will monitor the application of the law on the ground to see how the amendment plays out in practice.