Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by thanking the member for St. Albert—Edmonton for asking me to speak to Bill S-206. It has a personal part in my life and in my family. I also want to thank him for his tenacity. He has a gift of identifying an injustice and also suggesting a solution. He is able to recognize a weakness in our system and offer a very sensible, common sense remedy.
Some people may think this is a very small change, but it is going to make a huge difference in the lives of Canadians who have done their civil duty to serve as a juror, which is the last mandatory civil duty. As was mentioned, conscription was previously the other mandatory civil duty, but it was abolished.
This bill would carve out an exception to the jury secrecy rule and allow the disclosure of the deliberation process by jurors to a health care professional who is bound by confidentiality. I can only imagine these trials and deliberations subject jurors to traumatizing evidence and stress. We heard about Paul Bernardo and some of these other trials, and it has been proven that these can cause post-traumatic stress disorder.
These jurors almost always have mental health challenges, and they need the services they deserve. Sadly, today they do not have access to them. As an advocate for victims' rights, I am so proud to speak to this bill because sometimes these jurors, who are stepping up, become other victims of these crimes. I want to thank my colleagues in the House for speaking positively to the bill, as well as those in the Senate. Senator Boisvenu was acknowledged.
The goal here is to help Canadians who step up to accept the duty of being a juror and perform these essential services to the Canadian public. Our system of justice, sadly, often forgets the victims of these crimes. These jurors become victims because of the jury experience, and it is only right we support them. We can and we must do better.
The member for St. Albert—Edmonton originally introduced this initiative in October of 2018, so it has been going for almost four years now. It is about time, and maybe the third time we will be lucky and we will get this passed. This is an example of a bill supported across party lines. It is a solution brought about from witnesses who were listened to at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Parliamentarians heard first-hand from jurors who had lived through some of the most difficult trials in Canadian history. These are jurors who were exposed to horrific evidence, evidence that in some cases has made permanent changes in their lives.
Imagine someone who sees these horrible pictures. They cannot unsee them. They cannot unhear the screams and the victims' stories. We need to be there to support these people who are so essential to our justice system. There are incessant questions when they go back to their ordinary lives, their work and their families. I ask members to imagine dealing with these incessant questions and repetitions after their duty has been done, as well as the suffering that can occur. There are also the questions from their loved ones who are wondering why they are not the same person they were before jury duty.
Can members imagine being diagnosed with PTSD and not being able to talk to a professional who could make a real difference in their life? This is something that is affecting each and every one of us. As I said earlier, it has affected my family. I have one family member who was asked to be a juror in a child pornography case. That case was only two weeks long, but that was two weeks away from work, family and friends. One cannot not be affected by the things one sees, yet he says he would do it again. He was proud to do it and to step up.
However, we need to make sure they get the support they need. I have another family member who was a juror in a horrible murder trial that was on for two months, and she was in the same situation. She said that it was a horrific case and that one could not go through this case and not be affected after. She realized that Canadians who serve as jurors should not become sick themselves.
With that, I support this bill. I want to thank all members in this House, particularly the member for St. Albert—Edmonton, for allowing this bill to go through.