We supported that clause. The whole bill was not entirely good enough, so the party may have voted against it, but that particular issue we supported.
Then on Bill C-45 the government introduced more Criminal Code amendments and then in that bill it removed the automatic right of a victim impact statement by deferring it to the year 2012. What kind of justice minister passes into law a victim impact statement automatic and then brings in another piece of legislation that defers it, eliminates it, until the year 2012? Does he really care about the victims? Does he really understand about the victims and the impact that crime, deaths and all these things have on them?
This is an admission of failure because the government passed two laws that contradicted each other on this particular issue. Now it wants to bring in an amendment to rectify the situation.
Somebody caught it. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice in committee caught it. I said perhaps. It has now been clarified. The Reform Party members in the justice committee caught it. They pointed this out and the intelligent Liberals in that committee listened.
Today in question period the justice minister took credit for ordering the committee to do this. We know otherwise.
Now there is an amendment before us that rectifies this and reintroduces the automatic victim impact statements. We believe it is for political reasons. We believe it is because an election is around the corner. If it is not in the next month or so, it will be in the fall. The Liberals will be able to claim they have looked after the interests of victims. So be it. The people will make that decision themselves, but we are glad that it is in here. We are glad that this is now law. I do not care whether it is for election
purposes or not, I am glad it is in here. For that purpose we are supporting the amendments.
Why did the government not bring back Bill C-55? We have a fear in our society by people who are worried that there are dangerous criminals out there, high risk offenders, repeat offenders and how we are going to handle them. That is another issue that came up today in question period when we asked the justice minister what he was going to do for those 200 families that sent letters to the member for Red Deer about this pedophile being let out. This is the ninth time this individual has been let out and repeating the same crime. He goes in, comes back, does the crime, goes back and the answer was "we are going to send him a copy of Bill C-55". Who understands that as a solution?
The real solution is to bring that bill back and let us debate it. I talked to our critic for the solicitor general, the member for Calgary Northeast, and he informed me that the real problem with the bill is that the government, specifically the justice minister, is worried about dangerous offenders, and he is hanging his hat on the word dangerous, and pedophiles are not considered dangerous. They are considered habitual. I am just a businessman and I do not care whether he habitually does dangerous things or does dangerous things once in a while; either one is equally bad, either one should be punished under the law and they should be punished the same. We have to do something about pedophiles in our society because they are becoming dangerous.
If we do not do something about it we are going to put more fear into the lives of average Canadians, our neighbours, people who live beside us with kids.
The solution we recommend is bring back that bill and amend it. It talks about victims and victim rights and what to do about high risk offenders, repeat offenders, dangerous offenders, habitual offenders and we can take care of it. Let us build a prison for them and keep them there for life, those who are certifiably incurable.
If they can be cured and have served their time and are released, that is the law. But if they do it a second time, that is it, they are gone. But nine times is ridiculous. Every expert from psychiatrists to police officers has said he is going to do it again. Is it going to your daughter or my daughter? Whose son will it be? Yours or mine? Do we have to wait? Why can something not be done? Why not build a home for these people and put them away for life? But no, we are not debating that. We have to go on to the other failures of this government.
The justice minister has acted irresponsibly on innuendo. Perhaps the Pearson airport deal was something that came from the Prime Minister, I do not know. But he acted on it and he denied the rights of ordinary citizens to go to court to file a statement of claim for damages, taking away the rights of individuals. Two days ago in question period the defence minister said "we respect the rights of the courts and citizens before the courts". Yes, that was really doing it in the Pearson airport deal.
That fiasco has cost us over $200 million already and we are not finished with it yet and we do not know what is going to happen with it. However, we have a justice minister who claims the contract is going to be cancelled because the developers are going to make too much profit.
Then in discoveries we found out that the government's defence will be that it is denying them the right to go to court because it was going to lose money. That is contradictory.
Then there is Airbus. Allegedly through newspaper reports and from a little tweety bird whispering in his ear he heard that perhaps former Prime Minister Mulroney did something he should not have done. He then conducted an investigation and claims he did not. Somehow it happened and now there has been an out of court settlement. We all know the story. I will not bore the House with the details. That cost us some money.
The government through this amendment is admitting that it has failed to serve the justice needs of the country.
The Criminal Code is confusing. It is almost as bad as the Income Tax Act. When we try to clarify things and make our streets safer, make our citizens feel more comfortable that the law is being applied, what do we get, even with this amendment? We leave it to a judge to decide whether he or she is satisfied that the accused who is serving a sentence in the community would not endanger the safety of its citizens.
The problem with our laws is that they are too discretionary. There is too wide a range for judges to decide. It is too hard for them to pinpoint and they always err on the side of caution. That is why sentences are weaker than they should be. That is why the punishment does not fit the crime in a lot of cases. We should narrow the range.
The Young Offenders Act is a disaster. It is not punishing young offenders the right way. Young kids are still getting away with committing serious crimes.
I submit that these amendments are an admission of failure by the government. We are glad it is finally being admitted. We are glad that government members listened to Reform members in the justice committee and that they are doing the right thing and restoring the automatic right of victims to produce an impact statement should they desire to do so. Nevertheless, they should not be harassed by judges. They should be allowed to give statements freely in a way which would communicate their feelings.
Justice is served only if we do it right. If we just trade words back and forth here in the House of Commons saying that we took action and got legislation it will not be right. We in the opposition are saying that the government does not have it right. It had the
opportunity to do it right, but it is not doing it right. It will not listen. I believe it should. Maybe this is an example where it will.