Mr. Speaker, first I want congratulate my colleague across the way for doing something his government has not done. He actually spoke about the importance of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
As we know, this is the 25th anniversary of the charter which was enacted April 17, 1982.
Having said that, to me the charter is very much a living document, which I think my colleague across the way said as well, but it is a living document to protect human rights. I think there is a differentiation as to how we might regard what human rights are about.
If we look at section 7, it states:
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
It then lays out in the legal section of the charter as to how we protect those rights. We are talking about something that is very much an animate object, which is human beings. Whereas what the member is talking about when he talks about property rights is an inanimate object.
Property rights, to a large extent, are under provincial jurisdiction. They do not rise to the same level as do basic human rights. When one talks about security of the person, one is talking about the security of the individual to not be detained as Mr. Arar was detained and not to be sent to a place of torture the way Mr. Arar was sent to a place of torture.
When we talk about the issue of the security of the person, it is important to focus on all those areas where those rights are still being abused.
I can tell the member across the way what is important to me when we are talking about rights. Let us take something that has been before the House for the past 10 years.
An issue that has been before the House for the last 10 years is something very basic. It is called citizenship rights. Citizenship rights affect deeply each and every Canadian. It is an issue that the citizenship and immigration committee has studied for the last decade and actually beyond the last decade.
In the last Parliament, we tabled an important piece of work from the citizenship and immigration committee which was unanimously approved. It was about upgrading Canada's citizenship law because something as important as citizenship right now is not covered in law. It does not fall under section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In spite of the fact that the Conservatives, when they were in opposition, were unanimous in support of putting citizenship laws under section 7 of the charter, when they became the government they ignored it. They ignored their own previous stance of a decade. What did they do? They decided, even though it is the 25th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the 60th anniversary of the first Citizenship Act which was enacted in 1947 and the 30th anniversary of 1977 Citizenship Act which was enacted in 1977, they did not even see the importance of introducing legislation to update those laws.
The hon. member across the way mentioned a veteran in relationship I believe to the gun laws. We have a great deal of respect in the House for veterans, keeping in mind the soldiers who are now serving abroad, in Afghanistan in particular but in other places as well.
What I find mind-boggling, when we talk about section 7 of the charter, is that we do not respect the citizenship rights of the children of our veterans who fought for this country in the second world war.
When we talk about the whole issue of the charter, the access to justice, it is the government across the way that got rid of the court challenges program which gave people access to justice.
I will cite the example of Mr. Joe Taylor, but his case represents thousands like him. Mr. Joe Taylor is the son of a Canadian veteran who fought for this country in the second world war. Mr. Taylor wanted to assert his Canadian citizenship, which he was ordered to receive by an order in council. What happened is that the government denied Mr. Taylor his citizenship on two grounds: first, he was born out of wedlock; and second, because of an archaic section of the Citizenship Act, when he was 24 years old he did not know that he had to apply to retain his citizenship. Mr. Taylor won his case when Federal Court judge, Mr. Luc Martineau, ruled in September 2006 that the minister--