Madam Speaker, I would like to thank all members of Parliament for considering this bill, Bill C-234.
To provide the House some background, this came from town hall meetings we held back in my riding, where 300 or 400 people would show up, all talking about the seriousness of rural crime and crime in general. They talked about being broken into, not just once, but twice or three times. They talked about how they are no longer able to get insurance.
At these meetings, it was interesting that we would bring in members of the RCMP, who would talk about repeat offenders, crime watch and things they could do to protect them and their families. They talked about the tools they needed in order to get the appropriate prosecution and to arrest these individuals who, most times, were repeat offenders, attached to gangs, and in and out of the criminal system.
One of the things that came out of these meetings was this bill. It was not a Conservative plan to create a boutique tax credit and take care of the rich, as my colleague from the Liberal Party mentioned today. That is not true at all. Rather, it is to say that we need to do something at the federal level to address the issue. This was one way of doing it. When I introduced the bill, I said that it was not the be-all and end-all, but part of a package of measures we need to address the crime issue, especially in rural Canada.
I talked about how I would be more than willing to let the committee massage it, make it better and actually have the conversation on crime. That is why I was so disappointed today when I sat here and listened to my colleagues across the aisle and other parties. When I listened to the member from the Liberal Party, he did not mention crime. He did not understand the intent of the bill. The intent of the bill is to get us talking about a very serious issue that is going on in rural Canada and across Canada. He talked about taxation, unfairness, boutiques and partisanship. I am not an overly partisan person. Members know that and he knows that, too. I was looking for results.
I will give credit to the members from the Bloc and the NDP. At least they talked about the issue I was trying to address. If I have success with this legislation, even if it does not pass, it would be the fact that we brought the subject, put it on the benches in the aisles here in the House of Commons and started the debate on it. If the government is going to be deaf to the debate, it will do so at its own peril. This is something that rural Canadians and Canadians in general want to talk about.
What I find interesting about these crime watch meetings is that we get a lot of people who come out. The RCMP showed up, and even a prosecutor showed up and talked about the frustrations with respect to prosecuting these people, but we never see a judge show up. We never see the minister talk about these issues. The minister or the parliamentary secretary has never looked at the issue and phoned me to say that I was addressing an issue that maybe we need to address. There has been total silence. The response from the government with respect to crime is total silence and denial. This is a huge problem. It is a problem that Canadians want us to talk about in the House of Commons. It is a serious issue. This is an issue that if we did it right would actually benefit people right across this country and make people feel safer. It would address the crime issue.
Unfortunately, we are probably not going to see this bill move forward. I am hoping my colleagues in the Bloc and NDP will maybe have second thoughts, because there are dairy farmers in Quebec who want this bill; there are cattlemen in Saskatchewan who want this bill; there are unionized workers who live in the rural areas who want this bill. Hopefully, they will reach out to those parties and ask them to change their minds and at least get it to committee to debate it, maybe make some good suggestions and make it better.
If a boutique tax credit is not the right way to go, they should tell us what the right way to go is, but at least address the reality that this is a real issue. Let us put forward some solutions to address the issue. Unfortunately, if this bill does not pass, I do not know when the issue of rural crime or crime will ever come up again in the House of Commons in this session, unless we see another private member's bill from a member who understands how important this issue is.
I thank everybody in the House for considering the bill. I hope members will reflect upon it before the vote and maybe we will see it go to committee, because that would be the right place to address the issues and maybe see a really good piece of legislation come out of the House of Commons.