Mr. Chair, I want to take issue with the characterization of our system being soft on criminals and so on. This is a frequent refrain that we hear from the Conservative Party in particular.
The incidents that led to the death of these four officers obviously was a tragedy and it is something that needs to be looked at more in the sense of the circumstances that led to this individual being able to have the intimidating effect he apparently had.
I have seen media reports. I am always loathe to make a comment in this place based strictly on media reports but given the media reports it appears that in many of the other criminal charges that the individual faced they were not pursued through to successful prosecutions, mainly because many of the witnesses were so intimidated that they were not coming forth and providing the tribunals with the evidence they needed. I think that is something we need to look at.
The situation we must always be wary of is the one where we have individuals who are in a state where they would almost more properly be dealt with in our mental health system than in the criminal justice system. It seems that this individual, again from media reports, was not the most balanced individual in a lot of ways. Perhaps it is a question of working with the provinces and territories in the area of mental health in being able to deal with these people, even if they have to be incarcerated while we are dealing with them so they would not be a danger to the community.
However one has to deal with particular criminal charges based on the evidence that is available to pursue those prosecutions and, from what I understand, in these instances oftentimes that evidence was not available.