Madam Speaker, I want to talk about the things that we support in Bill C-49. I am going to relay to members of the House and people listening across this country some situations that I have been involved with that involve exploitation. They are not situations involving the exploitation of somebody outside the country; it is the exploitation of somebody here in our country.
What I am about to describe happens all the time to young girls and boys in Canada. I am going to tell the House about a young man who was in grade 11 who was approached by a gang of bottom dwelling thugs who sell drugs. These thugs approached him with bats and golf clubs and said that they would not only beat him but they would thoroughly and resoundingly pound his younger brother and sister and grandmother if he did not join them. I am telling this story for the first time and everything is absolutely factual. This young man decided to go with this gang because he did not want his family harmed. He was taken away to a home in the city and tortured. He was deprived of sleep and food and was beaten quite resoundingly.
They said that he was now a member of their gang and that he would be the muscle, meaning he would collect drug bills. It is also the most dangerous job one could get in a gang that sells drugs. Normally the people who owe the gang are delinquent. When someone as the muscle goes to collect from them, that person may be harmed, shot or any other such thing.
This young fellow managed to get away from that group. He went into hiding. He thought he was safe. He went out a little while later and the gang got him again. They beat him resoundingly. I am talking about a 16 year old.
It is said that once people are in a gang in Canada they are in it forever.
The gang assigned to this young fellow a debt owed by another fellow who worked for the gang who had been picked up by the police and lost $3,000 worth of drugs. He was told he must pay this debt. He could not pay it of course. He was not paid for being muscle because he was in fact coerced into going with them.
The young fellow got away from them a second time, but the third time he was not so lucky. They tortured him. They burned his hand thoroughly with a knife blade right through his hand. He is currently in hiding.
Why do I relay this story? This is not about somebody we are shipping out of this country. This is something that is happening to children every day in Canada. This is not an isolated story. This is about what I call bottom dwelling thugs who think they can run our communities by stealing our kids off the street and threatening them and getting them into the drug trade. Once they are into the drug trade, they eventually are wanted by the police or other drug dealers. The police do not know any different. As far as they know the individual is in the drug trade.
This young man was forced into that. He has never done drugs. He has never gotten into trouble at school. He has passed every year. But now he cannot get into school because he poses a risk to the other students should he go back in and the gang tries to get him.
If we talk about exploitation of our children, we had better wake up to the fact that they are being exploited in our communities by people who think they should run our communities their way. This happens a lot in Vancouver. It happens in every city across the country. There are people who do not deserve to be outside; they deserve to be in jail, quite frankly. They are exploiting our children. When children go missing and we cannot understand it, we should not first think that they got into drugs and left home. There could very well be other reasons, such as they have been taken by a gang and coerced into doing what they are doing. In fact, they may even be protecting their families because as far as they know great damage would come to their families and their siblings should they not do what they are told to do. This is serious. This bill on exploitation of people had better cover this.
My question earlier to colleagues on the other side asked whether or not the maximum penalties would be a decent deterrent. My concern is that we will end up like we do on a lot of the drug issues, that these kinds of issues will end up in court and the judge will issue some minor penalty.
One might ask why this young fellow did not go to the police. Well, he did, of course. The comment from the police was that he should leave town and finish grade 12. Why was that comment made? Because if the gang members ended up going to court, they would likely get little or no penalty and would come looking for him. The police suggested that he leave town. That is just unacceptable. What that is saying is that we have lost confidence in the court system to issue adequate penalties to these bottom dwelling thugs who will only go back and make life miserable for this young man and his family. This is unacceptable.
We have lost confidence and the police have lost confidence in our judicial system to administer the justice system, to add deterrents for people like that. That is why I say there is a serious problem. The maximum penalties, if the judges issue minor penalties, we might as well kiss them goodbye when these young people come to us and say they need help. They will not come forward, as this young man does not want to, because they do not believe they can get help.
I am sincere when I say this to members on the other side. This is a good bill, but my concern is that if there are no minimum penalties for such disgusting behaviour by these bottom dwelling thugs, nothing is going to happen. They are going to continue to take kids off the street and abuse them.
This young fellow has been in hiding for five or six weeks now. He cannot stay there forever, but he is afraid to come outside. What do these thugs do? They do not wait for him to come and join them, they go get other children. They get another one, and if that does not work out, they will get another one. When does it become our children that they get? At what point do we say they cannot have any of them, that it is they who have to leave the community? This has got to stop.
I hope this bill is a good bill, I sincerely do, but we must give confidence to these young men and girls who are being exploited in their own communities to be muscle or to drive those drug cars. It happens all the time. What I related to members is not an isolated incident. I can tell members about the young girl who was in a crack house being exploited by 30 and 40 year old men. When her mother went to the police and said she had to get her daughter out of there, they said, “The age of sexual consent is 14. She can stay. She is 15 years old”. The mother could not go get her. They went to welfare, who said to send her over and they would give her a cheque. What kind of answer is that?
The problem lies in the confidence, or the lack thereof, in our justice system. I am not trying to make politics out of this. I have been in and out of these courtrooms for 13 years with victims of crime. I know what I am talking about. We do not have confidence in the judicial decisions any more. I have seen it in hundreds of cases related to the growing of marijuana. I have seen it in dozens of cases related to crystal meth. I have seen it with James Armbruster, who had 63 prior convictions before he raped yet another woman in my riding. One of those convictions was for raping his grandmother. Do we have confidence in those judges who should have put that person behind bars after 10, 15, 30, 40, 50 or 60 convictions?
Maximum penalties are not doing the trick. We in this House have an obligation to put an end to the tyranny of these drug gangs and these frequent and consistent repeat offenders.
I think I got my message across. I hope those who are watching outside of this House send e-mails to acknowledge their frustrations with the court system that is not addressing the problem. This young man needs help. So do the young men and women who are being coerced into these drug gangs every day. We have been looking at this wrong.
I spent a lot of time with people involved in drugs. Often people say, “Well, another kid gone bad. He must be doing drugs, breaking the law”. I did not realize the extent to which they are being forced to be involved in these drug gangs, until now. I have run across it a number of times. I know what we are addressing here but what is bothering me and what we must keep in mind is that trafficking of people is going on in our communities as I speak.
I can talk about high schools and their sex clubs. Does everybody know what a sex club is? A sex club is young girls doing tricks in high school. They do a trick and they get a cap or they get a joint laced with meth or whatever they are looking for. They do not see this as prostitution. It is seen as a one on one trade but it is exploitation as its worse. These young kids may think it is trade but they get the worst deal of all: a life of addiction. This kind of stuff is exploitation. It is not just grabbing a child or somebody off the street and sending them to China or some other country. Exploitation is going on in our schools every day.
We have a minority government situation. It really is incumbent upon all of us to quit with the partisan politics. We need to start listening and if this is the case and it is in our communities, and it is, then we need to do something about it. I sincerely hope this bill addresses it but I fear it will not. I am leaving the House of Commons but I hope those left after me will think of this and keep on top of it because this young man today needs our help. He has no confidence, nor do I or the police, that a judge is going to give it to him.
By the way, after the lawyer, who is paid by the known drug gang, gets through defending these thugs that is when the plea bargaining starts, the deals are made and the judge says that he knows the poor little boy kidnapped somebody and forced the person to deal drugs but he had a bad upbringing. We have to forget that kind of story. These people are hauling our kids out of school. One of the conditions these people have is that they cannot go to school.
Who are these people? Who in the name of blue blazes do these people think they are? Do we not run this country? Are we not in charge? Is someone not capable of hauling these people off the streets and doing something with them?
I support the bill but I sincerely hope the government moves away from this business of maximum penalties. I have seen too much for too long to have confidence that it will be applied appropriately. There are too many people counting on us to do better.