Mr. Speaker, I have a comment and a question for the member of the Reform Party.
It seems like every time we deal with the issue of crime and justice which is certainly a very difficult issue, I get the impression that they would have us be like the United States of
America with the death penalty and sentences that go into hundreds of years.
The member made a comment about not talking the talk but walking the walk. I wonder if the member is aware of a number of studies that have been done particularly the one by Dr. Anthony Doob, one of the foremost experts in the area of public perception of the judicial system. The points Dr. Doob made in his conclusions were based on the following.
He gave a group of people the transcripts of what actually went on in a court case. Covering the same court case, he had another group of people who got the reports from the printed media. The findings were that people who responded on the appropriateness of the sentences and who used the media as the source of their information in many cases had the same attitude espoused by members of the Reform Party such as the justice system is not working and that judges are being much too lenient.
The other group of people who had transcripts to refer to so they could decide if the sentencing judge had given an appropriate sentence concluded that the system was working quite well and that in some cases the judicial system was more harsh than it needed to be. The public even proposed that things like fine option programs and alternatives to incarceration should be tried.
The question I want to pose is this. Surely the members of the Reform Party recognize that we do not, in Canada, follow the model of the United States in terms of criminology. We happen to be a little bit more enlightened. Surely the member of the Reform Party recognizes that Canada is a much safer society than is the United States. If capital punishment and the kind of justice they are talking about were to work, the United States of America would be a safe place to live. It is not. Compared to it, we are doing very well.
I am really troubled with this pandering to the worst misconceptions that the member and his party seem to cater to.