Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Bloc MP for Bellechasse (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2000, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada Elections Act October 22nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, it is customary in this House not to make reference to the absence of other hon. members, but we can talk about our own. I was not in the House yesterday, but I saw on television that the government House leader and member for Windsor West was back in the House. I wish to join my hon. colleagues and yourself, Mr. Speaker, to say, as you did yesterday, how much he was missed in this House and how happy I am to see him back in good health.

Regarding Bill C-63, on the basic principle of having a permanent electoral list, the official opposition cannot have too many reservations. It can therefore be said that we support the bill in principle.

That said, let us now look at the timing of this legislation. As it enters the last year of its mandate, the government is now proposing to change the rules of the game.

The hon. government House leader referred earlier to discussions among the parties. A very broad consensus will be required, on the government side as well as on the side of the official opposition and the Reform Party, for any changes to be made before the next election, given how close we are to an election. That is why I salute and greatly welcome the government House leader's decision to refer immediately to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs the matter of establishing a permanent electoral list.

But I do have some concerns already, at this stage. Mr. Kingsley, no doubt and other people who have been involved in establishing permanent electoral lists provincially in conjunction with other witnesses and experts will have to shed light on certain problems.

The government House leader mentioned earlier that a list could be established from information collected before an election, therefore making lists available within five days after an election writ has been issued. I would just like to put on record what the chief electoral officer himself, Mr. Kingsley, told the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs at our April 30 meeting.

The chief electoral officer said the following in reference to the first scenario, namely the one mentioned by the solicitor general, and I quote:

The legislative changes to bring about the first scenario are elimination of enumeration within the election calendar and provisions to allow us to build the register outside the electoral period; reduction of the calendar to a minimum of 36 days from the current 47; authority to the chief electoral officer to use lists of electors provided by the provinces and territories; collection of additional information-as I mentioned earlier, date of birth and phone number-from electors; and implementation of a streamlined revision process. Those changes would be required by the end of June 1996.

This was several months ago and the provisions have yet to be passed. It seems somewhat illusory at this point to consider establishing a permanent electoral list for the next election.

Look at what happened in Quebec. The office of Quebec's chief electoral officer, Pierre-F. Côté, has been working for at least 18 months to establish a permanent electoral list, which is still not in effect.

First, statutory authority was granted by Quebec's National Assembly to provide legislative authority to establish a permanent electoral list for Quebec.

And then what happened in Quebec? Last year, when the referendum was held, and even before that, in September if I am not mistaken, Quebec's chief electoral officer held a census. When the referendum writ was made out, some time was spent updating this electoral list, which was used for the referendum.

Of course an important data bank could be set up at the federal level, which would probably help us to act faster. However, the real permanent list would be the one that would help us follow the voters and keep all the needed information thanks to computers, without invading the voters' privacy. We could follow the voters throughout Canada, but that is still not an option in Quebec, even after 18 months of work. People are still working on that project. The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs will have to consider these issues.

I also wonder about something else. On October 3, in the French CBC news program Le Téléjournal , at 11 p.m., I happened to hear the government House leader tell Geneviève Rossier, a CBC reporter, that a permanent list will not be ready for the next election and then Mr. Kingsley, the Chief Electoral Officer, gave a somewhat different version of the facts, to say the least. This will have to be clarified before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Mr. Kingsley was quoted as saying that he had convinced the government to reduce the campaign from 47 to 36 days.

Who convinced whom? These questions will be asked at the appropriate time. But the October 3 news report implied that the government was far from being convinced that a permanent electoral list could be implemented in time for the next election. The government should have acted before now, and we could have supported the initiative, which does not mean that we will not support the study the government wants to embark upon. Let us carry out this study, and if we cannot implement the recommendations in time for the next election, we will be able to do so for the following one.

Given the political situation in Canada, I do not think that the government is heading for a five-year mandate and will remain in office until autumn 1998. Logically, normally, according to our

tradition, this should be an election year. The list is expected to be made in spring. Of course, no definite dates are given. An enumeration could very well be initiated by the returning officer outside of a campaign period and then writs could be made out at some point. What would happen then? Would we go back to the old legislation? Would we go back to a 47 day electoral period? Would we proceed with a new enumeration, a new revision, new training for the enumeration and revision officers?

If that were to be cast in stone, with a 36 day period, the danger is that, under the existing law, we would have the preliminary list of electors not five days after the writs are issued, but ten days before election day. That is the first danger. It would be rather strange to have the preliminary list of electors ten days before election day.

What would be the adverse effects of that? The amount each political party is authorized to spend for the election is based on the preliminary list of electors. Therefore, we would know only ten days before election day what budget is allocated to each of our ridings. It is difficult to plan our election expenses if we do not know what our budget is until the end of the campaign.

Even though everybody agrees that the 47 day period is too long, if it is not compatible with a computerized list available at the beginning of the electoral period, we will have to make sure, at the hearings of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, that it is not reduced to 36 days because we would then be forced to run an election campaign and a door-to-door revision campaign at the same time. For rural Mps like me, this would mean a revision of our 60 or so municipalities, street by street, concession by concession, to see if electors have been forgotten.

These are some of the points I wanted to raise with regard to the dangers. Of course, on the substance of the bill, it is not appropriate to take a stand at this stage since, according to the new Standing Orders of this House, what we are having now is a preliminary debate to clarify the issue and to see where we are headed.

There is another question that could be raised in committee and that the minister forgot to mention when he introduced the bill. I do not know if it is because of a difference in opinion between the government House leader and the Minister of Justice, but about ten days ago, the Minister of Justice told us that he would not contest an Alberta Court of Appeal decision authorizing third parties, including interest groups, corporations and unions, to spend as much money as they want to support one particular political option.

When the Minister of Justice said that he would not appeal to the Supreme Court, we might have thought that he would introduce a bill to control expenses by third parties. Since this is not the case, how can we not feel that the measure is directed at us somewhat?

Since the issue will not be submitted to the Supreme Court or to this House, it will have to be studied in committee. The question must be dealt with. We must know what control measures and limits the political parties may exercise during an election campaign and also the limits of third parties' participation. I can still recall the convincing arguments put forth by the Minister of Finances in support of the limitation of expenses of third parties.

These and other questions will have to be asked during the debate and they are the main themes I wanted to touch upon this morning after the speech made by the government House leader.

Pledge Of Allegiance October 9th, 1996

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak to Motion M-227 presented by my colleague, the hon. member for Carleton-Charlotte.

I have listened to my colleague attentively, and I am not questioning the sincerity of his feelings or the pride he feels in taking the oath he has been so kind as to read to us to close his speech.

The comments I am about to make once again show the difference in perception between a French Canadian, a Quebecer in this House, and the hon. member.

When I was a child, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day was celebrated on June 24 in my village and in the neighbouring communities. There was a parade with the young Saint-Jean-Baptiste and his lamb and flags were flying.

This was a paradox, like many other ones in the history of this country. One could see, flying side by side, the Union Jack and the flag of the Vatican. People loved symbols and cared little that one flag represented the Roman Catholic papacy, while the other one was the symbol of the Church of England and the United Kingdom. People showed a great deal of tolerance.

In Canada, this spirit of tolerance was developed through the respect of various symbols. Occasionally, people would stray from this path, but they would easily come back when things would calm down.

The Union Jack, which still flies over Westminster, the parliament of Great Britain, was ours by default for a long time. It was not until 1945, by order in council, while waiting for a new flag to be designed, that the Government of Canada replaced the Union Jack temporarily with the Red Ensign, which still featured the Union Jack in its upper left hand corner, although on a somewhat smaller scale.

The new Canadian flag was still a while coming. Finally, in 1964, debate began here in the House of Commons and in the Senate, and a resolution was passed requiring a Royal proclamation.

It must be said that there was undoubtedly a certain feeling of identification with this symbol, the Canadian flag, examples of which can be seen to your left and to your right. There were epic battles. I recall speeches by Mr. Diefenbaker at the time, in this House, in which he vehemently objected to the adoption of a Canadian flag. I also recall that some members even tried to stop the process physically on February 15, 1965, when this flag, which had been adopted legitimately by members of this House elected by the Canadian people, was first raised over the Peace Tower.

I think that February 15, 1965 was a momentous day, because it represented, for many, release from a tie that had perhaps been in place too long. Canada, it is true, had acquired symbols.

But though I listened to the eloquent remarks of the member for Carleton-Charlotte and heard the pride in his voice, for me the Canadian flag is symbolic of something else. For me, the Canadian flag is a symbol of the Canadian federal state, somewhat like the flag of the European Union which is a symbol of that union. It represents union, the Canadian economic space, as we might call it, to echo the words so dear to Mr. Bourassa when he was in power, and one which even the federalists in Quebec generally use.

So, it is the flag of union. It is not the flag to which I have first allegiance. My first allegiance is to the Fleur de Lys, the emblem of the nation I represent in this House, and the flag which was adopted as the national flag of Quebec on January 21, 1948, or 17 years before the adoption of the Canadian maple leaf flag.

There are, therefore, two visions, perhaps irreconcilable ones. There are two parallel paths, but there is nothing to stop us from building bridges between them. Yet the text-and a very fine text at that-read by the hon. member for Carleton-Charlotte just now, can hardly be found suitable by a person who owes his first allegiance to the flag of Quebec and the Nation of Quebec. Let me reread it, in order for it to appear in Hansard , and also in order to analyze it. following the quote??

The pledge of allegiance to the Canadian flag:

To my flag and to the country it represents I pledge respect and loyalty. Wave with pride from sea to sea And within your fold keep us ever united. Be for all a symbol of love, freedom and justice. God keep our flag. God protect our Canada.

That is the pledge the hon. member for Carleton-Charlotte read to us a little while ago.

It is hard to have two allegiances. The biblical saying that "No man can serve two masters" applies to me. My first allegiance is that I have promised certain things to the men and women who elected me on a platform aimed at making Quebec a sovereign state which, of course, would maintain links of friendship and fraternity with Canada. I cannot, therefore, swear that I am going to pray daily that Canada remain united. I want constitutional reform.

Most certainly I want economic union, a common currency, a common passport. Everything that we can have in common, let us have, but let us rework political structures so that they will allow us to avoid these quarrels, these wars over symbols.

Basically, both the hon. member for Carleton-Charlotte and the official opposition are right. No one can be wrong, because in this House people make use of the symbols they believe in, and to which they are firmly attached. While bowing to the values he holds dear, I am convinced that, in his heart of hearts, the hon. member for Carleton-Charlotte can understand, and respect-being the gentleman that he is-the values I hold dear.

Yet, they are unfortunately irreconcilable, and that is why I cannot support the motion before us. It is rather unfortunate, but in my opinion it is statement of two irreconcilable visions of Canada, a difference that will one day have to be settled. When it is settled for once and for all, we shall probably be able to find some common symbols which will suit and please us all, and which will, no doubt, give rise to an almost universal allegiance.

The Solicitor General October 8th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, what specific guarantees can the minister give the House that there will never be another case like the Marcel Blanchette incident ever again in the Canadian prison system?

The Solicitor General October 8th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Solicitor General. While on probation, inmate Marcel Blanchette was involved in the horrendous murder of Isabelle Bolduc, committed near Sherbrooke, last July. However, the probation officers in charge of his case had refused to punish him, even if they very well knew that he had broken the conditions of his parole.

Can the Solicitor General tell this House why this offender, who was not abiding by any of his parole conditions, could remain free instead of being sent back to prison?

Criminal Code October 3rd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the hon. member for Prince Albert-Churchill River's speech on Bill C-55. Let me say right off the bat that both his speech and Bill C-55 contain some things I like, other things I do not like at all, and yet other things that are in a grey area.

When the hon. member for Prince Albert-Churchill River talks about improving the law, about protecting society, in some regards I can only agree with his statements of principle. For example, the hon. government member who tabled this bill talks about convicted criminals, especially sexual offenders. The cases that are being raised the most often and that we find particularly troubling are obviously those associated with pedophilia and with sexual assaults against people.

Let us look more closely at the pedophilia cases. Incarceration does not cure pedophilia. Pedophiles are sexually attracted to children. Keeping a pedophile behind bars for five, six or seven years will not cure him. Society will be protected, but once the sentence has been served and the person released, he remains a high-risk offender. Unless we resort to extreme measures like chemical or surgical castration, there is no way to guarantee that he will not reoffend.

Under the new provisions in Bill C-55, after serving their sentences, convicted sexual offenders may be kept under supervision for up to 10 years. So by keeping them under supervision after their release, we can exert a measure of control. I think that is reasonable in a free and democratic society, where a happy medium must be found between individual rights and the right of the community to protection.

Incidents like those witnessed recently in Sherbrooke for instance are the kind of thing we must strive to prevent as much as possible by increasing the level of awareness of the decision makers, be it only regarding parole. If the provisions of the Parole Act had been enforced in Canada, we would not have cases like the one in Sherbrooke and the one involving young Isabelle Bolduc, because the offenders in these cases would not have been released when they were.

Bill C-55 also aims to make it easier for the crown to have a convicted offender found to be a dangerous offender or a long-term offender. This new terminology will have to be incorporated into our criminal law.

Basically, the crown will no longer be required by law to select one or the other immediately after the verdict is rendered and before sentencing. The crown will now have six months to make application for a court hearing to have a person who has been found guilty of a crime declared a dangerous offender or a long-term offender.

This six-month period sounds like a good thing to me in that it will give crown attorneys, who, in most judicial districts in Canada, are already overburdened, the time to assess the case properly, seeking the advice of social workers, police and the community involved on whether or not this person should be declared a dangerous offender or a long-term offender. This will make for a more considered decision.

There will be less chance of the crown's overlooking obvious cases or missing cases on which it should have acted because, at present, if the crown does not make its case immediately after conviction, which means before sentencing, it loses any right to do so. It sounds reasonable to me. I agree that it is an improvement over the existing legislation to give the crown another six months and to ease the crown's burden of proving, with the help of two psychiatrists, that an offender has to be declared a dangerous offender and now a long-term offender, according to the new terminology used in section 752.1 of the Code.

The aim of this bill is to have an individual considered to be a dangerous offender or a long-term offender given an indeterminate sentence. At present, in Canada, there are orders-not many admittedly-that set specific dates. In the future, the rule will be the same for everyone: indeterminate sentence. I think this shift will also foster a more uniform application of the law in Canada.

Finally, one last measure regarding dangerous offenders and long-term offenders. A person who has been declared a dangerous offender or a long-term offender will now have to wait not three years, but seven years to apply for parole to the National Parole Board. We can agree, in essence, with measures like these ones, given the rise in crime in society.

It is true that, in Canada, the trend generally is to say that crime is on the decrease. However, there is a rise in certain types of crimes we have not had to deal with in the past.

The proposed amendments are the new tools to deal with these different forms of crime. Traditionally, murders, theft or armed robberies accounted for some 80 per cent of the crimes brought before the courts.

In order to deal with specific crimes, we must give ourselves specific tools and modernize criminal law.

My comments apply to the bill generally. I also said at the beginning that I am not so happy about some provisions, while I truly dislike other ones, including section 810.2.

Should the bill be passed as it now stands, clause 810.2 and the ones that follow it would allow a judge, who has acquitted an individual, to impose measures to have the individual monitored. This contradicts traditional British criminal law, which is premised on the presumption of innocence and on the weight of an acquittal. How can we sentence someone who was acquitted? If one is guilty of a crime, he must pay for it by going to jail or, if the offence is minor, by paying a fine. However, a person who is acquitted can go home, unless he is being detained for another offence committed under other circumstances. A verdict of acquittal means the person is free to go. There is no grey area between the two possibilities.

The bill introduces the notion whereby someone can be acquitted but still be under probation. It basically says: "You are acquitted, but something about you makes me feel you are a risk to society. Therefore, for a period of some ten years, you will have to regularly report to police authorities, and you will have to stay home between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m.".

We cannot function with such rules in a society where the rule of law prevails. This is a debate that took place almost 320 years ago. In 1679, when the law of habeas corpus was passed under King Charles II, the issue was precisely that some people, whose face or behaviour the prince did not like, were detained in the Tower of London, by virtue of an order bearing the sovereign's seal. Parliament reacted by passing the law of habeas corpus , which gave people, and which still gives them, because it is enshrined in the Canadian Constitution, the right to petition a judge on any scrap of paper available-a piece of toilet paper was once used-to have the jailer bring them before the judge and justify the legality of their detention. That was what habeas corpus meant in 1679, and that is what it still means today. It is not often used in our country, precisely because it is there, a sword of Damocles preventing the violation of citizens' basic rights.

When a writ of habeas corpus is issued, prison authorities must explain why someone is being detained. One justification may be to show that there was a warrant of committal following sentencing by a judge at the conclusion of a duly held trial. But if there was an acquittal, the accused, who is no longer the accused, however, because he was acquitted and told: ``I acquit you'' is also told that now, for ten, three or five years, he will be the object of certain special measures.

In the provinces where it is possible, he could even be electronically monitored. He is told: "You will be required to wear a small bracelet and stay near a telephone line, and when the signal is interrupted or cut off, will come to your home to see if you are there", well, the accused, it would seem to me, is justified, under the Canadian Charter, under the rules of habeas corpus , in saying: ``I require you to justify the legality of my detention''.

This is a 300 year step back in the history of criminal law. Under no circumstances can we support provisions creating sentences for individuals who have been acquitted.

However, we can quite happily support more stringent, more appropriate measures for those found guilty who are at risk of reoffending. That is one thing, and Bill C-55 deals with that problem, but it is another thing to sentence, in a roundabout way, those who have already been acquitted. This is not a concept that belongs in our criminal law.

I taught criminal law for twenty some years and at the end of each session in various groups I invariably put the following question, or something along these lines: "What should be the sentence for someone who has just been acquitted for the third time of murder in the first degree?" I underlined the words "murder in the first degree". Invariably, two thirds of the class would tell me: life imprisonment. In the next class, I always got a kick out of telling them that we were lucky to live in a country where there were no sentences for people who had been acquitted.

If I go back to teaching law, I will have to revise my thinking. I will have to tell my students: now, because of Bill C-55, a person acquitted in our country can be sentenced. There is something fundamentally wrong with this.

Canadians know the rules of criminal law. We are all familiar with the concept of presumption of innocence. We all know that the crown is bound to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. I think people are most familiar with this aspect of the law because it is so often applied by the average person. The jury rule, which essentially goes back to 1215 and the Magna Carta, is a concept that has forged our legal thinking, even that of the average citizen.

When we talk to constituents in our ridings, they are often more familiar with the rules of criminal law than civil law. These are not complicated rules. They are simple rules based on logic and common sense. In this case, the government is no longer using common sense, and when concepts get confused, citizens get confused as well.

I hope, and the hon. member for Prince Albert-Churchill River might discuss this with his minister, that the idea of giving a sentence to a person who has been found not guilty will be dropped when the bill is considered in committee.

It is not our intention to vote against the bill at the second reading stage. We want this bill to be studied in committee. However, we do not want a replay of what happened in the case of Bill C-45 last June, when the government wanted Parliament to pass all stages of the bill in a matter of days. There should be a thorough study of the bill.

And should the government ever decide to maintain the provisions in section 810.2-a government that is so fond of making references to the Supreme Court-I think that before issuing an order in council for the coming into force of this bill, the bill should be referred to the Supreme Court for an opinion on the constitutionality of section 810.2 and following, in the light of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and, more specifically, sections 11(d) and 11( h ) of the Charter.

I will read these two sections. We read the following:

  1. Any person charged with an offence has the right: d ) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal; h ) if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again;

This principle is clear in the Charter. It is wrong to say that the law is contrary to the Charter. If it is, it is because the Charter recognizes certain fundamental values with which Canadians identify. These fundamental values have been evolved for centuries. The book is red, but when Mr. Trudeau had the Charter adopted in 1982, it did not drop out of the clear blue sky. It is a codification of what has been built up over the centuries in the United Kingdom, here and in other countries with a system based on British criminal law and where there were also comparable civil liberties. Before moving away from that, or running the risk of doing so, a detailed examination needs to be carried out.

I believe that the government is taking considerable risk, perhaps unawares. If it has not seen that risk, probably the questions we are raising today will prompt it to take a second look, or, to use the oft-repeated expression, to go back to the drawing board. No one will hold it against the government if it has to improve its own bill when it comes to the committee stage, after redoing its homework.

If the government is aware, and is doing this knowingly, one may well wonder what its purpose is. Does it really want to change the Criminal Code in order to improve the application and administration of justice, or does it want to make a political statement? Is it courting a certain segment of the electorate who would be delighted to see the innocent detained?

The other day I heard the hon. member for Crowfoot defending some positions similar to mine. In appearing before a parliamentary committee discussing a bill, he said that it is one thing to punish a person who has been found guilty, but it is quite another thing to take away the freedom or fundamental rights of a person who is presumed innocent, or worse yet who has been found innocent of the crime of which he was accused. This is a serious reservation.

If the same bill were to come back to us at third reading with no guarantee of the rights of those who have been acquitted, potentially anyone of us in this House, you, me, anyone, could be the target of section 810.2, where there is a return to guilt by association, guilt by suspicion, like there was under the Mussolini regime in the 1930s. Then anyone could be found guilty on legitimate suspicion.

In Canada, we operate on the principle that proof must be established beyond a reasonable doubt. Other jurisdictions in other countries say that there must be sufficiently convincing proof. Italy in the 30's established the criterion of legitimate suspicion. Why? Among other things, in order to fight organized crime. This did not work, because it constantly lowered the degree of evidence a judge needed to find someone guilty.

What is legitimate suspicion? This can expand to crimes that may be committed, thought crimes, any kind of crime. It is a criterion which does not go into sufficient depth. With section 810.2, the government is going back to the Mussolini laws of 1930, which allowed people to be found guilty based on legitimate suspicion.

On the one hand, using the criterion of proof beyond reasonable doubt, someone is acquitted. On the other hand, using the criterion of legitimate suspicion, someone is acquitted, but subject to certain measures, to supervision for a given number of years. There is something wrong with this.

I believe that, the further this bill moves along in the House and in committee, the more it will be realized that these clauses are privative and need to be taken out of the bill. On these grounds, the official opposition will support second reading of this bill, but will take steps to see that section 810.2 and all those clauses which, to all intents and purposes, are intended to sentence an acquitted person, are deleted.

Canada Labour Code October 2nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to speak to the motion of the hon. member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

The issue of giving RCMP officers the right to unionize is not a new one. In fact, more recently, since my hon. friend went much further back in history, it goes back to the Gingras decision handed down in March 1994 which established that RCMP officers were entitled to the bilingualism bonus. To reach this conclusion, the Federal Court of Canada had to establish that RCMP officers were part of the public service.

It is immediately clear what the consequences are of the ruling in the Gingras case: if RCMP officers are part of the public service, they are also subject to other legislation that governs members of the public service, and more specifically, the Canada Labour Code and part I of the Canada Labour Code, which confers the right to unionize.

Of course the Gingras decision was not about the right to unionize, so the Federal Court of Canada did not have to rule specifically on that right. By inference, one can at least argue, since that is what is being argued today before the Quebec Court of Appeal, that RCMP officers have the right to unionize. An additional ground is based on the Canadian Charter of 1982, namely that the right of association includes the right to unionize. But we should let the courts rule on that issue.

Meanwhile, what did the government do following the Gingras case? It could have very conveniently taken the case to the Supreme Court, something this government seems very fond of doing. But no, it did not. It tabled a bill in the House. This was Bill C-58, at the time, which, after the House was prorogued, was tabled again as Bill C-30.

This bill is a declaratory bill. In other words, the government is acting like a court. It did not go to the Supreme Court to ask

whether RCMP officers are really part of the public service and subject to the Canada Labour Code.

No. The government is handing down the decision the Supreme Court might have handed down or the decision the government would have liked the Supreme Court to hand down.

In the declaratory provision included in Bill C-58, which has become Bill C-30, the government is saying that, for greater certainty, RCMP officers are not part of the public service and therefore that the Canada Labour Code does not apply to them. Nice way to exclude them.

What the member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve said earlier is characteristic of what is going on in Canada. The RCMP operates and does a tremendous job at the federal level and in eight provinces.

As a member of the government operations committee which reviewed Bill C-58, I can tell you however that there is a deep malaise within the RCMP. It seems to me that the present system of representation by divisional representatives is not working or working poorly. There appear to be at least two diverging views. On one hand, we have the RCMP command telling us that everything is working fine, and on the other, we have members and members' representatives telling us that it is not working. There are two sides to the coin.

For my part, I have reasonable doubt that the system is not working; the RCMP commissioner who, to all intents and purposes, is a separate employer can send a dispute to arbitration and chose to abide or not by the adjudicator's decision.

Listen, if I prosecute you in a civil court and win, you will have no choice, I will have the decision enforced. Willy nilly, you will have to abide by it. This is one element that is missing. If, in our society, one party in any civil suit could escape the application of a ruling against it, we would have a pretty strange judicial system.

That is exactly the kind of system that members of the RCMP have to deal with. We do not want to force them into unionization. We want them to have the legal framework required so they may chose freely whether they want a union or not.

Earlier, I heard my colleague, the member for Wetaskiwin, say that in his region, several officers told him they did not want to be unionized, that very few had attended the briefing meeting. This reminds me of Quebec, a long time ago, when unions were not very popular and when, if people were present at information sessions on unionization, a trustee or some other official would take down their names to be sure their contract would not be extended or they would be made to change schools if they were too vocal.

Clearly, there is no legislative framework which governs these things; no one can impose sanctions if an employer hampers the fair and usual process of requesting union certification. It is quite easy to understand why the officers will not go to the meetings.

But the best way to find out is to give them their legal framework, to apply to them Part I of the Canada Labour Code, with one major exception. Contrary to what was said earlier, contrary to what my good friend, the hon. member for Vaudreuil, was saying earlier, the right to strike was never requested in any way for officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; they are not asking it themselves.

In a properly working society, with the exemplary work that RCMP officers do, this right, I believe, must not be recognized. But should we go for mandatory arbitration, a final offer? This is a system that can be discussed for a long time. But the right to strike must not be granted at that level, and neither for the Sûreté du Québec or the OPP in Ontario.

They must have the right to free bargaining, to confronting ideas, to negotiating, to making compromises, to improving a climate. The climate must be improved, otherwise the pressure will build up and things will get out of hand in the RCMP. We will end up with a service in which things are as bad as with CSIS, where just about everything is rotten. We cannot get information, whether it is from the director of the service, or from the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which is supposed to monitor CSIS but rarely reports to us, particularly to the sub-committee on national security, on which I have the honour of sitting, along with the hon. member for Vaudreuil, whose riding may soon be called Vaudreuil-Soulanges. These are the reasons.

The best way to solve the issue is to provide a legislative framework in which officers will be allowed to vote. Let them decide, through a vote, whether they want to unionize or not, whether they want to form an association.

If the vote is negative but takes place within an appropriate legislative framework, it will be respected, just like the no vote was respected in Quebec, on October 30, 1995. If the vote is affirmative, it will be respected because the Canada Labour Code will apply. We do not want to force anyone to join a union, but the reverse should also be true, in that we should not prevent people who want to form a union from doing so.

The best way to proceed-and that is what the hon. member for Vaudreuil is indicating and he would probably like to have another chance to speak to correct a few statements he made earlier, because I think the hon. member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve has seriously shaken him, and when he gets an opportunity to do so he might change his mind. As for me I would be willing to let him change what he said if he wants to-but the best way to proceed would be to let people vote.

As it will be for us in the next elections in the riding of Vaudreuil and in the riding of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, and probably in your riding too, Mr. Speaker, there will be several candidates, people will put an X beside a name and we will count up the votes. Everything is organized. Election officers, returning officers and clerks, are appointed, the system is there and working.

People are not told in advance that they have to select this or that person to represent them. People make their decision. Fundamentally, let us apply to unionizing the electoral system that is applied in Canada.

Let us ask the members of the RCMP if they want the Canada Labour Code applied or not. If they say no, the problem will be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. Some members claim that they do not want to form a trade union. If they say yes, then the Canada Labour Code will of course apply, but without the right to strike. I will not fight for the right to strike for policemen in Canada.

One thing seemed strange to me. When I asked at RCMP headquarters, during consideration of Bill C-58 in committee, the only reason given to me for the opposition there to unionization was that RCMP officers do work not done by any other police force in Canada.

I asked for examples. They said the protection of ambassadors. It is true. For example, here in Ottawa, the RCMP is responsible for the protection of ambassadors. I was told that it is also responsible, or is supposed to be responsible, for the safety of the Prime Minister's residence.

It is also true that, in Toronto and Quebec City, two provincial capitals, the OPP and the Sûreté du Québec are responsible for the protection of the consular corps. The activities of the consulates are exactly the same as those of the embassies. So, if that is the only distinction, let the members of the RCMP be treated just like their colleagues of the Sûreté du Québec, the police of the Montreal Urban Community and the OPP. Let them enjoy the same benefits as their counterparts in the provinces and cities.

I would even go farther. On the government operations committee, my colleague from Surrey-White Rock-South Langley put forward an amendment to Bill C-58 whereby part II of the Canada Labour Code would apply to the RCMP and give its members occupational health and safety protection. I was the only one to support her proposal, which was rejected by the three members of the government on the committee. Why should we refuse to give occupational health and safety protection to the members of the RCMP?

That said, I will take my seat to allow my colleague who moved the motion to make a nice conclusion.

Divorce Act October 1st, 1996

Mr. Speaker, we do not need the delegation of federal powers to the provinces, we do not need the federal government to have its programs administered by the provinces. What we need is a vesting of power. This means that a government gives up a field of jurisdiction to another one, and that such process is enshrined in the Constitution.

There is a major difference between the hon. member's vision, which I respect even though I do not share it, and that of the Bloc Quebecois, to the effect that these powers must be recovered by the provinces.

Divorce Act October 1st, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I wish to reply to the comment made by the hon. member for New Westminster-Burnaby, who asked the right question. However the problem goes back to 1867, when it was decided to have a horse with two heads. It was decided then that some powers, such as the solemnization of marriage, would come under the jurisdiction of the provinces, while others, such as divorce proceedings, would be federal matters.

Couples living in Canada are subject to specific rules. When things go bad between them, should they have to deal with two different sets of laws? Should they have to deal with different courts? The whole system would be a lot simpler if only one level heard all the issues relating to family law, instead of having judges from various courts intervening in the process.

This would be one way of streamlining the process. Even if we take into account the assumptions made by the hon. member and assume that the current federal system will not change and that the issue of sovereignty will be set aside, letting the provinces look after the administration of local justice would still be an improvement.

Who is in a better position than the provinces to implement the policies relating to family law? I submit that this power should be given back to the provinces or, to be more accurate, that it should have been left to the provinces in 1867 and never have become a federal matter.

Divorce Act October 1st, 1996

Mr. Speaker, from here on, official opposition members will be sharing their time.

I am pleased to speak to Bill C-41 now before us. It has two faces: the hon. member for Prince Albert-Churchill River sees it as a panacea, the answer to all ills, while our colleague, the member for Port Moody-Coquitlam, who just spoke, views it as a step backward, not forward.

The reality probably lies somewhere in between. There are some improvements, undoubtedly, but there are also serious shortcomings. It all depends on how you look at the bill.

Members will recall that the first federal Divorce Act only goes back to 1968. For our younger colleagues, 1968 is a generation ago, it is almost another century. For me, it was the year I was still at the court house and I remember the first times this act was applied.

Before 1968, the provinces had jurisdiction in matters of divorce and only two provinces had no divorce legislation: Newfoundland and Quebec. The legislation was made uniform in 1968. The act was amended in 1985 and we are now living with the 1985 Divorce Act, which, as these things go in Canada, took effect from June 1, 1986. There is always a time lag between the passage of legislation and the date it takes effect.

The wish to now set parameters for determining the amount of support payments, is, in my view, a positive feature in the idea of how things should work presented by the member for Prince Albert-Churchill River. It would be much simpler to have a judge determine the amount to be awarded for a child's needs than to continue with the method that has been in use since 1968 of producing the well known lists of children's needs.

My hon. friend and colleague, the member for Beauport-Montmorency-Orléans, who is himself a lawyer, has probably on a number of occasions in his career submitted lists of children's needs in court. When the lists submitted by the respondents are compared, you find that they add up to almost 238 per cent of the child's real needs.

The language used in the proceedings is inflammatory, something we must try to get away from. We must reduce the involvement of the courts, and this is one of the positive ways we can achieve this, by setting parameters, developing grids, from which we can undoubtedly deviate in exceptional circumstances, but which will at least serve as basic guides. So much the better if we can keep all or some of these problems from reaching court. It is not the ideal place to resolve them.

Those who spoke before me mentioned that the child must be at the center of all decisions made in a divorce. That is a principle on which everyone agrees, except perhaps for those who go before the courts, in many cases, and use the child not as a person to be protected but as a bargaining chip in the divorce if not an instrument of blackmail. One parent says: "If my support payments were not so high, perhaps I could afford to take the child more often" or "I will see her less often in other circumstances", whatever.

It is dramatic when a little boy or a little girl becomes a bargaining tool in court, when they should be protected. In that sense, it was a good thing to establish payment grids, parameters to determine how much should be paid in support.

It is also an improvement over previous legislation, the act of 1968 and the act of 1985, in that those who must pay support can now be located and forced to pay. Society should not have to pay for those who default on their support payments.

It is great that defaulters can be located and forced to pay, that there will be better access to information that can be searched to identify and locate these individuals or their employers and that, in other cases, instalments will have to be paid in guarantee. I do not think that we can disagree with such improvements over the 1968 and the 1985 legislation.

But these acts all have a basic deficiency. This basic deficiency about the Divorce Act, 1968 and the Divorce Act, 1985 was the fact that divorce become commonplace. As divorce became trivial, so did family policy. Under our Divorce Act, solicitors are only required to inform their clients that a mediation system exists. The parties are under no obligation to submit to any form of conciliation or mediation which, in many cases, would preclude the adversarial process and the adrenaline rush it causes on both sides of the barricade, and this is an appropriate word to describe the situation in this case.

If, like in some American states such as California and Michigan for instance, before divorce procedures can proceed further, appointments with social workers and psychologists were mandatory, I think this would be another step in the right direction.

It is clear that we miss the point every time we amend the Divorce Act without taking onto account the fact that there is, first and foremost, a family reality, a family unit to that needs to be protected, and parents find themselves without options.

Help comes their way after the fact, when it is too late to do any good. People seldom reconcile after battling against one another in court in an adversarial process. Experience shows that the doorstep of the court house is not the place where reconciliation takes place.

For all intents and purposes, the divorce decree does not put an end to the marriage. It merely testifies that the marriage is dead, stating that nothing is working between the spouses. Something should be done at a much earlier stage.

In this regard, we are poorly equipped because-it always come back to this-our famous 1867 Constitution, the British North America Act, divided powers between the federal government and the provinces. Thus, under subsection 91(26) of the British North America Act, marriage and divorce matters come under federal jurisdiction while, under subsection 92(12), the solemnization of

marriage and, under subsection 92(13), property and civil rights all come under provincial jurisdiction.

How can we have a standard policy when we have legislators setting their policies in different places? Quebec has long demanded a standard family policy to be set by a single jurisdiction. And it had done so.

Bill 89 passed by the Quebec National Assembly in 1981 even contained divorce provisions, an integrated policy they have never been able to implement because they never got the powers back. The famous 1982 patriation of the Constitution has made it impossible to amend the Canadian Constitution.

Quebec's civil code being one of the criteria for recognizing Quebec as a distinct society, according to the minister, Bill C-110 passed by this House supposedly recognized Quebec as a distinct society and thus it should have recognized Quebec's primacy or its exclusive jurisdiction over marriage and divorce matters whatever the solemnization and background may be. But all these considerations are not mentioned when this bill was introduced, just as they were not mentioned in Bill C-110, which is not worth much more than the paper it is printed on.

This is unfortunate if not regrettable because, under Bill C-41 as it now stands, some provinces will end up with provincial payment grids that will have to be approved by the governor in council, while other provinces will not set their own grids so that the federal grids will rightfully apply. There is no real standard policy. Why should the payment grids now being finalized by Quebec not be recognized?

I simply suggest that the bill should be amended in committee in light of the fact that some provinces already have their own payment grids. In the eyes of the federal legislator, these grids may not be sufficient, but it is not up to the federal legislator to judge what provincial legislators are doing. It is up to the voters in each province.

If the voters in New Brunswick are not happy with what their provincial politicians are doing with regard to family law, they only have to vote for a new government; the same goes for every other province and for us as federal legislators.

Since we are now sharing our time, let me close by saying that we will support Bill C-41 in principle for the reasons listed by my colleagues, the hon. member for Québec and the hon. member for Berthier-Montcalm. We will work on improving this bill in committee.

Criminal Code September 19th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, this is the third time I speak to Bill C-45, not counting what I said to the Standing Committee on Justice.

Right from the beginning, we have been hearing double speak from the hon. member for Prince-Albert-Churchill. On the one hand, he says: "We are not striking down section 745 of the Criminal Code. It should not be struck down, there must be some hope left", and on the other, for all intents and purposes, the provisions of Bill C-45 will make release under section 745 impossible in several areas in Canada.

Let us start at the beginning. When did article 745 appear in our criminal law? Twenty years ago this year, in July 1976, as a result of a compromise negotiated by the then Solicitor General, the present member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, amendments to the bill abolishing the death penalty in Canada were tabled. These amendments were referred to as the Prud'homme-Fleming amendments, after the names of their movers.

Why? What happened? Nobody had to toe the party line, it was to be a free vote in the House of Commons, and those in favour of abolishing the death penalty simply could not count on enough votes; the numbers were not there. If the vote had been on the initial bill introduced by the Trudeau government, it would have been defeated by 4, 5 or 6 votes. Negotiations conducted by the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and the Prud'homme-Fleming amendments made it possible to secure another 6 votes, and I

believe that the death penalty was abolished on the strength of these 6 votes. But when you negotiate, you make compromises.

Some kind of compromise had to be reached at that point with the people who were inclined to favour the death penalty but still had some doubts, and the members who took part in the negotiations at the time were able to tell them: "Look, the basic decision to make here is not to choose between 25, 10 or 15 years, but to determine if we want to abolish the death penalty". This is how they were able to convince some individuals who were against a firm sentence of 25 years in prison to support the 25-year sentence; otherwise, the death penalty would have been maintained. The government back then made it very clear. I remember hearing Mr. Trudeau say in this House: "If the bill is not passed, do not rely on cabinet to systematically use the royal prerogative to commute sentences. People will be executed in Canada, and scaffolds will be built". The message was quite clear. Members who wanted to take it into account did just that.

The hon. member for Prince Albert-Churchill River would have us believe that section 745, as amended today, is a measure of clemency, but that is not so. In 1976, the law was made tougher. Until July of 1976, anyone under sentence of death, whose sentence was commuted to life in prison or anyone found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison was eligible for parole after 10 years. They did not have to appear before a jury; they only had to go to the National Parole Board and, based on the circumstances, apply for parole. In fact, convicted murderers sentenced to life imprisonment spent an average of 13.2 years in prison. That is far from the minimum of 25 years stipulated in section 745.

All these negotiations made the law tougher; it was not improved for the inmates. Section 745 provides that anyone convicted of first or second degree murder and sentenced to more than 15 years in prison may, after 15 years, apply to the chief justice of the province's superior court or supreme court, who would then empanel a jury. The chief justice has no discretion in this; he must empanel a jury and it is up to the jury to make the determination.

After the evidence is introduced, after the sociologists, psychologists, social workers and correctional officers have presented their arguments and reports, sometimes after the victims' families have provided relevant information, the jury will determine whether or not it should recommend that the inmate be paroled, since the inmate will always have his life sentence hanging over him. The procedure outlined in section 745 is not a lottery.

Under the current provisions in section 745, the jury must make a decision based on a two-third majority, or 8 out of 12 members, which, I think, is quite reasonable since, according to criteria that were set centuries ago, their cedision does not have to be based on something beyond a reasonable doubt. All they have to do is make a determination based on a preponderance of evidence.

In the circumstances, does the inmate deserve to be paroled earlier? Do you need unanimity for this? I think not.

I think that, back in 1976, the legislator had the good sense to determine that a two-third majority was sufficient. Maintaining the two-third rule will result in the standard application of the law throughout Canada. Regardless of the province where we live, we will all be subject to the same laws and regulations not only in theory but also in practice.

The comments made by the Reform Party reflect a Canadian reality that cannot be ignored. These members represent a significant number of Canadians, who want tougher sentences and are asking that section 745 be repealed or Bill C-45, with its tougher sentences, be passed. In certain regions of Canada, western Canada in particular, juries will certainly be less lenient.

If the hon. members representing western Canadian ridings have been calling for the repeal of section 745 of the Criminal Code with such vigour, I assume that judges and juries in western Canada will reflect the same social reality.

These members must not be out of touch with the reality in their region. This means there will be one reality for western Canada, one for Ontario, another one for Quebec and yet another one for Atlantic Canada. I submit that, since criminal law comes under federal jurisdiction, there must be a single standard applicable from coast to coast to coast. This standard should allow for a bit of leeway-a margin of error, so to speak, i.e. four members in the jury. That sounds like an excellent idea to me.

As I said earlier, under the current legislation, after 15 years, inmates are fully entitled to ask the chief justice to empanel a jury. The point was made during the debate that only a minority of individuals actually make an application. They realize, in many cases, that it may be rejected.

The chief justice then empanels the jury and the jury makes a recommendation. If it is recommended that the individual be allowed to apply for parole, the individual can go before the National Parole Board. This means that, at the end of the 15 years, several more months may elapse before a decision is made.

We have heard of individuals who applied for parole but were not released until much later. If the jury is not convinced by the

arguments presented, it sets a date when the person may reapply for parole or release before serving the full 25 years of their sentence.

The hon. member for Crowfoot asked an excellent question of most of the witnesses at the hearings, both on Bill C-226 and on Bill C-45. The question he asked was the following, and he may correct me if I do not get it right. He asked the witnesses what was the appropriate sentence for a person found guilty of murder. It is a fundamental question, the crux of the whole debate.

Once the answer is that a person found guilty of murder should not be sentenced to death, once the possibility of the death penalty has been eliminated, what is the appropriate sentence? Nothing can replace a life, we have been taught this from an early age. This is a value-I was going to say an almost universal one-that would benefit from more universal exposure. In the world in which we live, it is one of the supreme values we have.

There is no way to replace the life of a person lost in such circumstances. And then the Canadian Parliament decided that taking someone's life because he had killed another person was not a good way of showing that it was wrong to kill.

We are in a difficult position. We cannot just let people go free. There has to be a penalty.

Twenty years? Twenty-five years? Life? Something along those lines, without being more specific. Twenty-five years seems like a sensible proposal. Life imprisonment with the possibility of review later on, yes. People must have something to hope for. We must not remove hope. That is what helps a person to survive. To sentence a person without holding out the hope that some day he may be released is at least as bad as a death sentence.

On the other hand, the sentence must be exemplary, since murder is, in my opinion, the most serious crime that exists in the Criminal Code. We cannot give a suspended sentence for first degree or second degree murder. So we need something that is severe enough to set an example, to protect society, so that the person who is found guilty is punished and the family, the community feels safe. People have the right to be protected.

We said at the second reading stage that we wanted a review of the legislation, which is now 20 years old. We had a day and a half, two days at the most to do this review, practically sitting around the clock. We expected a review process from coast to coast. Like the unemployment insurance scenario, it seems everything was agreed upon beforehand. We heard witnesses, with very little time to spare. It was impossible to do parliamentary committee work worthy of the name, but the vast majority of witnesses who appeared, the John Howard Society, the Elizabeth Fry Society and even people representing victims told us: "Do not tamper with section 745."

What was the rush? Where were the public demonstrations demanding amendments that affect about 75 or 76 people who have filed requests in the past 20 years? There are other problems that are far more acute and require immediate attention. We would have had time for a thorough review.

Now that 20 years have passed, would it not be better to go back to the situation that existed before 1976 and judge each case on its merits before the Parole Board? That was an option.

Is there a case for keeping the section as it is now or should we consider all other avenues? That is what we wanted to do and what we were not allowed to do, and now we are faced with legislation that is fundamentally reactionary, since it will now require the jury to be unanimous, with the consequences I mentioned earlier. It will also force prisoners who want to apply for parole to first go through a judge to whom they will give evidence, not in person in an adversarial hearing where each party can argue its case, but in writing. In common law, while the judge could decide to hear the parties, the prisoners have no statutory right to be heard, they cannot demand a hearing. Depending on what school of sentencing he belongs to, the judge may decide: "There is no probability of a jury granting you parole; your application is denied."

Individuals will not be judged twice, but the facts will be heard twice. In criminal cases in general and, by way of comparison, in trials by jury, the jury is master of the facts, while the judge is master of the law. But in this case, the judge will be master of the facts. He will first examine the facts of the matter. If he does not find the evidence probative enough, he will not allow the prisoner to go before a jury. Should the prisoner be allowed to proceed, he will then have to make his case again.

The burden of proof is on the prisoner. Do not mislead us into thinking that this measure is designed to protect the system and to extend the traditional jury process to the system under section 745. The prisoner who goes before 12 jurors to be allowed to apply for parole after 15 years has to convince those 12 jurors. The Crown is not there to say: "In objecting, I must convince the 12 of them to vote unanimously against his release."

The burden of proof is on the prisoner. It seems to us that it is too heavy a burden, with the consequences we enumerated earlier.

Reference was made to Bill C-226, which I opposed, in which the issue was set in much clearer terms by simply calling for the repeal of section 745.

There was at least a clear question and no double talk. Now people in the West can be told: "See, criminals will no longer be paroled under section 745 because the law was tightened up", while people in Ontario and Quebec will hear: "See, social workers, psychologists, we believe in rehabilitation because we have amended the provisions in section 745 to make them even more attractive". That is what they will say. As one of my professors used to say in law school: "The best thing to do when one wants to win a case but does not have one is to confuse the judge".

During elections, it is the people who are the judge. When one wants to win a case but does not have one, the thing to do is to confuse the people so there is a chance that, on election day, they will be confused and put their Xs in the wrong spot. The chance to vote in an election comes only every four or five years so one must be careful not to make a mistake. That is what the government is doing.

At least, those who argue in favour of simply abolishing section 745 are being honest. I do not share their views, but their arguments were clear. By contrast, the government's convoluted reasoning is anything but. I wish to commend the courage shown by the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands, who held his ground throughout the debate and who, at report stage yesterday, put forward an amendment and voted against the bill, as did the former Solicitor General, the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, along with a few other colleagues on the Liberal side.

One can live with double talk for a while. According to the old saying, you can fool some of the people all of the time, you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. This is what the Liberal government has tried to do since the beginning of its term, believing that it would improve the plight of the unemployed, the Canadian prison system, the transportation system by privatizing it, in spite of all the comments and interventions of the hon. member for Beauport-Montmorency-Orléans. As you know, his comments were right on throughout this whole issue.

Some day, the dust will settle and voters, who are not stupid, will render their judgment. The hon. member for Prince Albert-Churchill River also said that section 745 would be improved, since a serial killer, a person who has committed more than one crime, at the same time or consecutively, will no longer be allowed to invoke this section. This is a step backward. One can easily think of cases where a person may commit more than one crime in a given situation but still deserve to be released.

Take the case of someone who decides to rob a bank with a gun. Criminal intent may not be present at the beginning, but the person ends up killing two people during the hold-up, according to the rules of interpretation of murder. This is a regrettable and reprehensible act, and the person will be sentenced. However, if this person has not committed any other offence, should he be prohibited from invoking section 745, in the same manner as a murderer such as the one to whom the hon. member for Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead referred, who savagely killed and raped Isabelle Bolduc in such a sordid manner that it cannot be described in this House? There are people who seem beyond redemption for society. Committing one sordid murder is often worse than killing more than one person.

The bill also attempts to establish levels of murders. Is it less serious to kill two people, than one? Is it less serious to kill one person, than three or four? The particular circumstances of each case must be taken into account. We cannot rely on a general rule, as the government wants to do.

The government wants to pave everything over. This used to be a popular thing to do. The City of Quebec did it about 20 years ago. It put concrete everywhere in the city. Today, all that concrete has to come down in order to restore the beautiful architecture of this city. Today, the government is putting another layer of asphalt on parking lot 745, hoping that the spring thaw will not do too much damage. But we will begin to see the perverse effects of this legislation in a year or two. We will see these results in the prisons, because, as I said earlier, if we remove any hope for these people, we will force them to do desperate things.

Will prison guards and law enforcement officers be safer? Will an inmate who knows that he will never get out of prison have no qualms about killing a guard or two, because he has no hope left? I think that the way we are going about addressing this issue is all wrong and that the status quo would have been much better.

Not one of the opposition amendments has been accepted. Even the amendments put forward by the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands were not approved by the government. Was the bill so good? It was introduced on June 11, then there was a time allocation motion at second reading when the bill was rammed through and sent to committee for a day and a half or two days, forcing its members to sit night and day almost. Do we have all the information we need to say: Yes, we are sure that, beyond a reasonable doubt, this bill will improve the situation in Canada? I do not think so. This is a bad piece of legislation that will only undermine the judicial process in Canada.

In conclusion, after indicating that the official opposition will be voting against this bill, I want to move an amendment, which reads as follows:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word "that" and substituting the following therefor: Bill C-45, an act to amend the Criminal Code

(judicial review of parole ineligibility) and another Act, be not now read a third time but that it be read a third time this day six months hence.