House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was firearms.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Yorkton—Melville (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 69% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Aboriginal Self-Government May 4th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Yesterday the minister said that rank and file aboriginal people in Manitoba want self-government. What I am hearing from more and more aboriginal people is that they have serious concerns about the accountability of self-government. However, many of these people feel too intimidated to publicly speak out.

Can the minister explain how he was able to determine the view of rank and file aboriginal people and how they are directly involved in the negotiation process?

Capital Punishment May 4th, 1994

On Sunday, May 1 in the Ottawa Sun the Canadian Police Association accused the Minister of Justice of using selective use of statistics and disputed his claims that there was no law and order crisis in Canada.

Statistics Canada figures show that in 1961 just before we stopped imposing the death penalty, there were 233 murders for a murder rate of 1.2 murders per 100,000 population. In 1992 there were 732 murders for a rate of 2.6 per 100,000.

Canadians know this is a massive increase in the number of murders despite the justice minister's reassurances to the contrary.

Over 90 per cent of my constituents are telling me they believe in capital punishment. If Canada is a true democracy then our laws should reflect what the majority of Canadians want. I ask this government for a binding referendum on the death penalty.

Income Security April 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the bill that has been put forward by the hon. member for Saskatoon-Clark's Crossing. The tax system does need to be reformed. How can anyone disagree with that broad goal of income security for all Canadians?

The disagreement, however, comes on these two questions: How should the tax system be reformed, and what constitutes social and income security?

Let me deal with the second question first. What is social and income security? In the minds of most Canadians it can only exist in a society in which there are good jobs with good incomes. That is the bottom line. To have good jobs there must exist good investment opportunities and there must be good rates of return or profit. Without that we will not have good jobs in this country. Such a society must also have an environmentally sound, financially viable economy alongside a supportive, responsive public services sector.

How do we get on the right road to achieving this objective for our society? How do we get there from here? There are many areas that need to be reformed. Reforming our tax system would be a major variable in the equation.

What kind of tax reform is needed? Our current system with its unjustifiably high taxes is a wedge, one that is being driven between Canadians eager to be fruitful, prosperous and just and the ultimate goal of achieving a socially and income insecure society. It is a wedge that is being driven between the intentions and the realization of that goal.

What is the real culprit? Why is the current system of high taxes a problem? These unfair high taxes are only a symptom of a bigger inherently related problem. We cannot separate the two.

What is the real problem? The real root that necessitates high taxes and prevents us from achieving the kind of society which we really want is government fiscal irresponsibility. We consistently spend more money than is brought in. These high taxes are detestable and they are a wedge that is coming between the ambitions of Canadians and the realization of their goals.

The driving force that forces up taxes and that fuels the underground economy and that causes unnecessarily high unemployment and makes businesses and jobs pack up and flee the country and creates social unrest and crime and a general loss of confidence in our whole country drives up interest rates and depreciates our currency.

The root cause is the fact that as a country we have lost control of our finances. We spend too much. Let us not blame anybody. We are in this together. High taxes are destroying jobs and they are destroying social programs because they destroy the initiative of the people and their desire to invest and work.

The common sense of the common people could have foretold us our fate. Do we seriously believe we can continually spend more money than we bring in? Can we keep borrowing from our neighbours, from businesses and from other countries? Someone, some time, has to pay.

Many of my hon. colleagues from the other parties in this House will on almost every subject in this House Reformers talk about the same thing, fiscal responsibility. Why are they stuck on that? Let me explain why.

We are focused on the financial matters of this country because we want Canada to decide its own future and not destroy it. We want Canada to have the best social programs and infrastructure, the most beautiful environment, the best jobs and incomes for its people. We are not going to get it the way we are going now. We cannot achieve a socially and income secure society for ourselves and for our families and future generations by continually demanding more.

We cannot withdraw from what will happen. We will eventually deny ourselves and our children everything that we are trying to preserve. We have to decide now how we are going to adjust our lifestyles, that we are going to tighten our belts and that we are going to expect less. It is really a cruel hoax on all our fellow Canadians to let them think that we can continue as we are. It is wrong.

It is a lot of fun to talk about spending, talk about social programs, to talk about women's rights and minority rights and immigrant rights and refugee rights, criminal rights, language rights, universal social programs like health care and day care and many other noble causes which some other group might feel is deserving money. It is fun to talk about those things and plan. The final result is that somebody has to pay.

Occasionally we may sound apocalyptic when we talk about our nation's finances. Perhaps things will turn around. Maybe it will happen some day. Maybe it will happen soon. Perhaps our debt crisis will not become drastically worse. Maybe we will look back in 50 years from now at this session of Parliament and on the continual attention that Reformers gave to the government finances as overkill. Maybe we will look back and see it as that.

I sincerely hope that happens. If it does it means we have done one thing, that we were able to control spending and taxes and bring in real fiscal reform. At the present time we are in a free fall. We are plunging downward. We are skydiving without any intention of opening our parachutes.

I agree with the motion. Let us reform our tax system. Let us reform the GST. Let us slash personal income tax, corporate tax and payroll tax. Let us pretend for a moment that all govern-

ments were able to cut taxes; federal, provincial and property. Would Canadians not love us? We would be heroes. We would go from being one of the highest taxed countries in the developing world to one of the least taxed.

What would Canadians do with all the money that previously went to government? One can only imagine and we should imagine. Canadians want to be freer. Canadians want to be free to decide what to do with all their hard earned money. What if the government kept its greedy, grimy tentacles out of the people's pockets?

Governments often have a philosophy that they have some absolute sense to know what is best for people. It is deceitful, it is dishonest and it is immoral. That ideology has manifested itself in the extreme repression of the former East Germany, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and the Soviet Union, just to name a few. Such regimes were ruled by elites, elites who believed very strongly that they had the ultimate answer for a perfect society, indeed for a perfect world. Because of this elitist attitude they taxed to the max. Poor, hard working citizens had to pay the bills. There was very little regard for them. Their mental skills were seen as inferior.

If Canadians felt that the government was spending their hard earned dollars in a responsible way and that these programs were good for all Canadians, they would jump on board. However, Canadians see governments misspending their money and they feel things are out of control.

Canadians see government responding to policies and programs and funding any group or cause that will keep them in power. Our current system allows a majority government to implement policies to a myriad of controversial programs. Quite frankly, the government simply does not have a mandate for these programs.

One example is the bilingual-multiculturalism notions that the government is inflicting on the nation. We have never had a referendum on official bilingualism or official multiculturalism. We simply have to accept these policies because the elites have told us it is good for us.

When we question them we always get: "If you don't like it, five years down the road you can throw us out". However, if our leaders are accountable only every five years and not every day they end up representing the people only once every five years.

The essence of democracy is that we must be accountable every day. We are usurping individual freedoms, choices and responsibilities in favour of some elitist version of "what is best for them". The guiding hand must come from the bottom not from the top. We need government to promote law and order, but the big disagreement comes over how and what amount of government we have. The Reformers call it the legitimate role of government.

The legitimate role of government is to do for people only what needs to be done for them or they cannot do at all or as well individually or through non-government organizations. That is the legitimate role of government. If we want to have the best tax system in the world we must look at our expenditures. We must finance only those services that Canadians cannot provide for themselves or through non-government agencies.

In order to do that we must also have a different attitude toward government and a different attitude by our government toward ordinary Canadians. That is the only way we are going to have real tax reform.

Unemployment Insurance Act April 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I wish to speak against this bill.

As I understand the bill presented by the hon. member the changes proposed to the Unemployment Insurance Act would revoke the arm's length provision that is used by unemployment insurance adjudicators to determine if spouses employed by their spouses are in fact in a true employer-employee relationship and therefore insurable and eligible to collect UI benefits should they be laid off. This is the intent of this bill.

Therefore, the net effect of the bill would be to allow all spouses employed by their spouses to become eligible to collect UI benefits without giving the government any means of determining if it is an employer-employee relationship and whether that relationship is in fact legitimate.

Unemployment insurance officials predict that this change would result in at least 2,000 illegitimate claims for unemployment insurance each year. Considering that the average benefit paid to each claimant in 1992 was $6,613, we are talking about a minimum annual increase in UI payouts of about $13 million.

If we used the figures from the hon. member's own office the payout could exceed $26 million a year. If we consider the increase in UI claims from spouses when everyone finds out that the government has no means to investigate and control the possible abuse in the system, the number of claims will increase and the number of dollars paid out to illegitimate claimants will also increase.

That is the main point I am trying to make. If we approve this the number of claimants will dramatically increase because spouses will be able to put their own husband or wife on UI and we find this totally unacceptable. Not only will the costs be $13 million or $26 million, they will go way beyond that.

We oppose this bill because it opens up the Unemployment Insurance Act to more abuse and the wasting of more taxpayers' dollars when we should be tightening up the loopholes and saving employer and employee UI premiums for legitimate UI claims.

It would be helpful for everyone to have a bit of a history lesson on how this issue has developed.

Prior to August 1988 all those employed by their spouses were not insurable under the UI act. In August 1988 the Federal Court of Appeal confirmed a decision by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that this section of the UI act was discriminatory on the grounds of family status.

In order to provide a test to ensure the validity of the employer-employee relationship the government included in Bill C-21 an arm's length relationship clause. Pursuant to section 3(2)(c) the employment of a person that is not at arm's length is not insurable employment unless the terms and conditions of employment are substantially similar to a non-arm's length employment contract. We feel that is sufficient. The possibility is there that if the claimant wishes to insure his or her spouse, they have the availability to do so.

Unemployment insurance relies on Revenue Canada to make the determination of the arm's length relationships between employers and their employee spouses. Between 80 per cent and 90 per cent of Revenue Canada's decisions rule that an arm's length relationship does exist.

This favours the husband, wife, or spouse relationship and the spouse is therefore insurable in most cases. It would seem to be a very reasonable approach to handling these cases. Senior officials at the unemployment insurance office agree with this.

It is clear to all of us if this bill is approved it would result in the federal government having no control over UI claims filed by spouses. That control would virtually disappear. It would open up a loophole so wide that thousands of people could walk through it.

The likelihood is that when the general public realized the last element of benefit control had been removed from the UI act in regard to spousal employment, the number of illegitimate UI claims would increase. That is the point I am trying to make. Probably they would increase dramatically.

The potential for abuse is a greater concern for Canadian taxpayers than any other consideration. We are constantly receiving complaints about the raid on the public purse by UI abusers and fraud artists.

We believe the unemployment insurance program should be returned to a true insurance program based on sound financial principles. This private member's bill does nothing to move in this direction.

A broader concern we would like to raise is whether there can ever be a true arm's length working relationship between husbands and wives.

An employer who employs their spouse already has an added tax benefit because the income of the business is split by two wage earners living in the same household. Should an employer

also be allowed to lay off their spouse whenever they want and then have that spouse collect unemployment insurance? We think not. I think it is obvious as to why that would not work.

We believe we should be looking for ways of tightening up the system rather than opening it up for more abuse.

The hon. member makes the point that this is discriminatory against women. I would like to remind the House that a spouse can be either a man or a woman.

Canadians want the UI system to be fair. The current system of having Revenue Canada determine if employers and their employee spouses are legitimate employer-employee relationships is fair. This section of the UI act is more than fair and for this reason we oppose it.

Budget Implementation Act, 1994 April 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to bring our concerns before the House.

I would like to focus my remarks on the government's proposed changes to the unemployment insurance program. In the budget tabled on February 22 the government proposed the following changes to the UI program, some of which are included in Bill C-17.

The government is rolling back UI premiums for 1995 and 1996 to $3 for every $100 in insurable earnings, down from $3.07. It is reducing the benefits to 55 per cent of insurable earnings, down from 57 per cent. It is increasing the benefits for those UI claimants with low earnings and dependants to 60 per cent of insurable earnings. That is up from 57 per cent.

The government is increasing the minimum amount of time a person needs to work to qualify for UI from 10 weeks to 12 weeks. It is allowing more workers who voluntarily quit their jobs or are fired with just cause to collect benefits. Also, the length of time a worker can collect UI in regions with high unemployment has been reduced from a maximum of 32 weeks to a maximum of 26 weeks.

Finally, the length of time a worker can remain on a claim has been reduced. For example, workers who work 20 weeks used to

be able to collect benefits for 17 weeks. Under the new schedule, they will only be able to collect 10 weeks of benefits.

Those are some of the changes. The Reform Party is generally supportive of the changes proposed by the government. However we maintain that the government did not go far enough.

On Tuesday of this week the leader of the Reform Party asked the Prime Minister if there would be additional spending cuts to those outlined in the recent budget and the Prime Minister answered yes. Yesterday in the House of Commons the Prime Minister and a number of his ministers, despite repeated questions from the Reform Party, refused to identify which programs would be cut.

We maintain there are billions of dollars to be saved by returning unemployment insurance to a true insurance program. This means to protect workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own. That is what we mean.

I would like to comment specifically on each of the measures proposed by the government and then put forward some constructive alternatives for the government to consider. We do not just try to criticize, but we also give positive alternatives.

The government is to be commended for reducing premiums to employers and employees. UI premiums are simply payroll taxes and payroll taxes are job killers. This is probably the only thing I have ever heard all economists agree on.

The government is to be commended for reducing these job killing taxes and restoring some confidence in the business community by assuring the rates will not increase for 1995 and 1996. The government says this will create 40,000 more jobs than if it had let the rates rise, proving once again that lowering taxes creates jobs.

In fact the government's own reports show that reducing UI premiums is a cheaper way of creating jobs than its own $6 billion infrastructure program, most of which will be financed by borrowed money. That again will increase the deficit and the national debt and undermine confidence in the economy.

I remind the House this is the same government that increased UI premiums by 7 per cent on January 1, 1994 and less than two months later announced a premium reduction for 1995. Talk about being confused. This also shows the government can and will change the rules anytime it wishes.

The government reports that reducing UI benefits will save $725 million this year and $2.4 billion in each of the next two fiscal years. Again the government is moving in the right direction but not quite fast enough. The government's own budget documents show that the cumulative deficit of the UI account as of December 31 is $6 billion.

The Prime Minister was silent a few weeks ago when asked by some angry fishermen in Atlantic Canada where it was written in the red book that the government would cut UI benefits. At least the Reform Party campaigned on cutting spending on unemployment insurance. The Liberal Party did not campaign on that. The government is finding out how hard it is to say one thing during an election and then to do the exact opposite once elected. Canadians will remember.

Increasing benefits to UI claimants with low earnings and dependants is commendable. It is a recognition of the Reform Party principle that assistance should be targeted to those who need it most.

The Reform Party was vigorously attacked during the election campaign for suggesting that universality was not financially sustainable. Now the government has contravened the sacred principle of universality. Will the government finally admit that universality is dead?

As a final comment, the reduction in the length of time a worker can collect UI benefits in regions with high unemployment is a small admission that the current UI system creates disincentives to work. It reduces worker mobility, discourages self-employment, undermines personal and community initiatives and impedes productivity for employers.

The Reform Party says it is time to use the government's initiative to phase out regionally extended benefits altogether. I would like to put the government's UI reforms to a simple test. I am going to call it the taxpayers' test.

Question No. 1: Do the government's proposals make the UI program financially sustainable? Look at it. No.

Question No. 2: Do the government's proposals help people become less dependent on the system? A little, but how many will return to welfare? The entire income security system is sick and it needs to be fixed.

Question No. 3: Do the government's proposals reduce abuse of the UI system? No. Abuse is still rampant. For example, there are now 43 just cause reasons which will allow job quitters to collect UI. There are 43 different ways.

Question No. 4: Are the government's proposals fair and do they treat all Canadians the same regardless of where they live? No. The UI program still allows people who live in uneconomic regions of the country to become permanent wards of the state.

Question No. 5: Do the employers and employees who pay for the UI program with their premiums have a real say in how their money is spent? Do they have any say in that? No. The government should democratize unemployment insurance. Let the people who pay for it run it. That is the essence of democracy, not this top down bureaucracy.

Question No. 6: Is the UI program a true insurance program? No. Unemployment insurance rewards repeaters and seasonal workers at the expense of permanent full time workers.

In closing, I reiterate that the unemployment insurance program is still being used as a vehicle for social engineering. The UI program still breeds dependence. The UI program is overly generous when compared to other OECD countries.

The Minister of Human Resources Development will soon put forward an action plan for the reform of social programs. This review provides us with a remarkable opportunity to revamp our unemployment insurance program.

I encourage the government to consider the principles the Reform Party has put forward to ensure that any future changes will pass the taxpayers' test.

The Economy April 12th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my supplemental is also for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

The Prime Minister suggested yesterday that the infrastructure program should receive some credit for the drop in unemployment in March. The fact is that not one dollar of infrastructure spending has yet been spent. It should be no surprise that financial markets are confused by the contradictory statements made by the ministers of this government.

At this time when credit rating agencies are reconsidering Canadian issues and no level of government has any spare cash, will the minister cancel the infrastructure program and save$6 billion in borrowed money for Canadians?

The Economy April 12th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Ministers of this government continue to send out mixed signals on important economic issues. Yesterday the Prime Minister suggested that the drop in last month's official unemployment rate was the result of successful Liberal economic policies. On the same issue the Minister of Finance admitted that much of the drop was due to 28,000 young Canadians giving up their job search.

Does the Minister of Human Resources Development regard driving young Canadians out of the job market as successful economic policy?

Supply March 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am not saying that we should be charging parents. Do not get me wrong. My constituents are telling me that very often parents have the attitude that it is someone else's problem. I think it is that attitude we are trying to get at. If they were required to make some compensation in that regard and if they were held accountable for what their children are doing, they might take a greater interest in what they are doing. This is the kind of attitude we need to foster. It all ties in with the erosion of family living that we have in Canada and I think we need to address that whole area. It is not going to be done in just one minute.

Supply March 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pick up on a couple of things the hon. member has mentioned. One is the people who spend their weekends in prison. Very often we sentence people to sentences that may not be appropriate. I would like to put this idea forth.

Many times when we send people to prison, instead of improving on their attitude and their lot and so on, they in fact deteriorate because they get to mix with other people who may be of more disrepute than they are.

With regard to non-violent offenders, possibly the courts could have the option of putting them into work programs rather than sending them to prison. The prisons could be reserved for the worst offenders, the most violent offenders in society. This ties in with the second matter that was raised, how would these people be compensated.

That is where work programs need to be put in place in the prisons. A percentage of the wages these people earn could then be used to compensate their victims. A problem we have is that a victim has to go through the civil courts, through the whole legal and justice system to try to get back some of that money. It is a great inconvenience and very often unsuccessful because the criminal has no income to be able to pay the victim.

If there were a work program this would help solve that problem. Work would also give these people a better feeling about themselves. It is no different for them than for us. When someone meets someone else for the first time, the one thing they ask is: "What work do you do, what job?". It does something for us and I think it would do the same for many of these people in society.

Supply March 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak in support of this motion. This House has been in session for two months now. Finally we are dealing with an issue which many of my constituents have told me is very important to them.

I am in the process of drafting a private member's bill on victims' rights. I welcome this opportunity to address an important dimension of victims' rights, namely restitution and compensation.

One hon. member mentioned we should not look at individual cases. Too often we speak in general terms and we lose touch with real events and real persons.

One of the first inquiries I received in my office was from a man in Sturgis, Saskatchewan who had his vehicle trashed by a group of teenagers in June 1992. The car was totally written off by the insurance company for a total cost of $6,500. The victim was required to pay the $500 deductible and the cost of a rental car so he could get to work. Total out of pocket expenses for the victim were $817.45.

The owner applied for restitution to the RCMP in August 1992. In September the victim wrote to the Saskatchewan minister of justice expressing his disappointment that charges had not been laid against the teenagers who had destroyed his car. In December 1992 the RCMP advised the victim that charges were being laid against a number of individuals.

In May 1993 the crown prosecutor and the defence council negotiated for four hours. Charges were dropped against the six young offenders and one adult and charges proceeded against three others.

It appeared to the victim that the main consideration of the courts during the sentencing was that there would be no hardship imposed on the accused. What about the victim being out of pocket over $800? What about the $6,000 paid out by Saskatchewan Government Insurance? What about the inconvenience of losing the use of his car until he got another one?

The three convicted teenagers were ordered to pay $500 restitution and two were fined for assault. The fines and restitution were to be paid by August 31, 1993. At the end of September after numerous phone calls to the provincial officials, the victim again wrote the Saskatchewan minister of justice complaining that he had not yet received the $500 restitution. In November the minister responded saying the criminals had paid $50 to the court and that he should be in receipt of it. After many phone calls to the RCMP, the provincial court wrote a cheque for $50 which arrived on November 25. The victim wrote another letter of complaint to the courts and asked for the remaining $450.

I remind this House it is now a year and a half since the victim's car was demolished. The victim, by this time in a total state of exasperation, wrote to me, his member of Parliament. We wrote the federal Minister of Justice on behalf of the victim.

In January the victim wrote informing us that the balance of the restitution order had been received. In February 1994 the minister responded saying there was nothing he could do and suggested the victim file the restitution order with the courts and have it enforced as a civil judgment in accordance with section 725 of the Criminal Code.

I have taken the time to explain this case because I want members of this House to get a feeling for what it is like to be a victim of a senseless crime. I want members of this House to put themselves in the victim's shoes and try to feel how this victim felt as he was being jacked around by the system.

Our goal as Reformers in this House is to make sure that laws are passed that put the rights of the victim first, ahead of all other considerations, especially the rights of criminals.

When we researched this particular case we proposed a number of possible improvements to the existing laws with respect to restitution and compensation for the victims of crime. The Minister of Justice in his reply to our letter also suggested some improvements which should be enacted.

Following are some suggested improvements which we will be including in our victims' rights bill. The rights of the victim and compensation for the victim's losses should be the top priority of the courts.

Restitution orders should be mandatory and not at the discretion of the courts. Restitution orders should compensate the full costs incurred by the victim, including losses resulting from personal injury and/or loss or damage to property, including insurance claims. Restitution orders should be enforceable.

Why should the only recourse be for the victim to pursue the matter in civil court? We send people to jail if they do not pay their fines. Why not garnishee a portion of the criminal's wages until the restitution order is paid in full? I believe there is far too much emphasis on rights and we forget that we also have responsibilities. In fact, we should not be entitled to our rights until we first discharge our responsibilities.

The province of Saskatchewan places a surcharge on every $100 paid in fines. These are set aside in a victim services fund, but there is no legal obligation on the part of the province to spend the revenue collected exclusively on victims. Nor is there any compulsory requirement for the victims to be financially compensated for their losses.

In some provinces criminal injury compensation has been combined with workers compensation providing quicker response to the victim. This may be a solution for compensating victims of crime where convictions are not obtained.

What about the responsibility of the convicted criminals to pay for their crimes? Are they only responsible to the state after they are convicted? Are criminals not also responsible for repairing the damage they have done? I and many other Canadians feel they are not only responsible but should also be totally accountable for their actions and compensate their victims in full.

The charges against the young offenders in the case I reported earlier should never have been dropped. The very least the court should have done was make the young offenders pay their share of the damages. They had the fun of wrecking the victim's car; let them at least learn a lesson by having to pay their share of the damages out of their own pockets.

How many of these young offenders who are let go have gone on to commit other crimes? If young offenders are unable to compensate the victims of their crimes, then the parents of the young offenders should be held totally responsible for compensating the victim. This will ensure that parents take a greater interest in what their children are doing outside the home.

When criminals are serving time-and I am talking about low risk offenders now, those who do not pose a risk of physical violence-they should be involved in work programs. They should not be granted the luxury of lounging around at taxpayer funded correctional centres. Convicted criminals involved in work programs should have a portion of their wages deducted. This revenue should be used to repay the victims of the crime. Another portion of the wages should be used to help pay for the cost of the correctional services, including guards, food, accommodation and so on.

I have outlined nine ways in which the government could act to place the rights of the victim ahead of those of the criminal specifically as they relate to restitution and compensation. As a now famous politician once said, we have a lot of work to do. For far too long victims' rights have had to take a back seat to the rights of criminals. It is time to bring some real justice to the justice system.

The man who had his car trashed by the teenagers did not get justice. He lost the use of his car for days. To get to work he had to rent a car for which he was not compensated. He had to wait 20 months to get the partial compensation the courts awarded. He had to make many phone calls and write many letters at his own expense to get the restitution ordered by the court. Add to that 20 months of worry and frustration.

The criminals in that case got away with one more thing: They have not made restitution for the $6,000 paid out by Saskatchewan Government Insurance. Every policyholder in Saskatchewan will have to pay higher premiums as a result.

The government can take action which would improve the situation for victims immediately and would not require any change in legislation. As an interim measure victims must be better informed of the limited rights they now have.

Much of the frustration suffered by my constituent could have been avoided if he had not been forced to fight for his rights with bureaucrats and politicians for over a year and a half to get back just some of the money owed to him.

If the victims of crime were a real priority of the justice system this travesty of justice would not have occurred. Why should honest, law-abiding citizens have to pay for the misdeeds of criminals? It is cash out of their own pockets in higher premiums paid to insurance companies.

In closing, as a member of this House I vow to support common sense criminal justice reforms regardless of the party or member initiating them. That is why this morning I was pleased to second a private member's bill introduced by the hon. member for York South-Weston calling for the repeal of section 745 of the Criminal Code which would put an end to early parole for first degree murderers who have been sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole.

I look forward to the continued debate on this. We need to work together.