Madam Speaker, I thank you for the admonishment. I think it is very important that we realize that this is a very emotional debate. However, as the seconder to the Conservative Party motion, I would reiterate how we hope that the Liberal government will hear the outrage that has been expressed across the country over the transfer of Terri-Lynne McClintic, the killer of eight-year-old Tori Stafford, to a healing lodge in Saskatchewan.
It is incomprehensible to me that the Liberals would merely order a review in response to this travesty of justice. The evidence is pretty clear. McClintic is not eligible for parole until 2031. Since her incarceration, she has not been a model inmate, being convicted of beating up a fellow prisoner and then regretting that she had not caused more severe injuries. That is not exactly a model prisoner, so why is she being given a cushy transfer to a healing lodge with no fence?
Instead of ducking responsibility, this should have been a simple matter of doing what is right. Instead, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety are hiding behind a bureaucratic memo hastily put together by justice officials. They are failing in their duty to Canadians, who are outraged by this transfer. I put it to members that they need to step up and reverse this transfer immediately.
We know that the Prime Minister has fallen to virtue signalling on many issues, but when it comes to standing up for true justice here at home, when it comes to standing up for victims of crime, he chooses instead to mince words or stay silent, and indeed, his public safety minister is parroting the same unacceptable approach.
The decision to conduct a review of this situation makes no sense, considering the authority of the minister's office and the office of the Prime Minister and the authority they can wield when there is the will to wield it. Clearly, what is required is a firm and immediate directive from the minister to Corrections Canada to put McClintic back behind bars where she belongs.
When a minister of the Crown issues a directive to his or her department, and I was there myself and remember well what happens, the wheels are set in motion. Why would the Minister of Public Safety waste time with this review, when there is a clear injustice? He could have clearly called to reverse the transfer. He could have done the right thing, but obviously, the will is absent.
I wonder if the decision not to immediately reverse the McClintic transfer was his alone. I want to know if the Prime Minister's Office weighed in on this. Who is behind this outrageous order not to transfer the inmate? Canadians deserve to know.
I would like to put before the chamber the basic facts of the minister's powers. Under subsection 6(1) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the minister has the authority to direct the commissioner of corrections in all matters. This would include issuing a directive that a broad class of offenders, such as those convicted of the murder of a child, are not eligible for transfer to a minimum security facility, such as this healing lodge. Under section 96 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the cabinet could pass regulations setting out eligibility for minimum security facilities and healing lodges. This could include prohibiting those convicted of murder involving a child.
Even in the face of this evidence, the Liberals claim that they cannot reverse the transfer. However, previous public safety ministers have reversed decisions through directives to Corrections Canada.
When I served as a member of the provincial parliament in the Ontario legislature, the current Liberal agriculture minister, who was then the solicitor general, stopped the transfer of a cop killer after public outrage. That is the precedent that was set in 2000. I was a member of the Ontario legislature. We passed a unanimous resolution very similar to the unanimous resolution the Ontario legislature passed yesterday in the case of McClintic. Back then, when that cop killer was going to be moved to Club Fed, as it was called then, the outrage in Ontario was just the same. A resolution of the Ontario legislature was passed unanimously. The PCs, the NDP, and the Liberals all passed it, and lo and behold, the agriculture minister, who was the solicitor general at the time, found a way to stop the transfer to Club Fed.
In another example, former minister Toews ended prison pizza parties. Former minister Day mandated that first degree murderers had to spend a specified time behind bars in maximum security prisons. Those were both directives taken during the Harper years.
There is clearly a precedent for the current public safety minister's intervention in the McClintic case. However, last Tuesday night, in an interview with CTV, the minister defended his review of the transfer as “the best way to...rectify [McClintic's] bad practices in the past”. Bad practices in the past? Is that how he characterizes this? It is clearly devoid of humanity and reasoning.
As I am sure many in this House will admit, we have employed bad practices from time to time over the course of our lives. Perhaps even the Minister of Public Safety himself would admit to as much, but certainly, luring an eight-year-old Tori while she was walking home from school, then standing as a lookout while she was violated and then killing her with a hammer and dumping her body is not what the vast majority of Canadians define as bad practices. I make no apologies for pointing this fact out.
The Conservative Party was criticized for describing some of the graphic details of young Tori's murder in the House of Commons last week. In fact, for some media, that seemed to be the bigger story than the outrageous transfer itself. However, it is obvious from the Liberals' inaction that they needed to be reminded of the horrific nature of the crimes committed by McClintic.
Governing this great country of Canada is not always paved with sunny ways. There are times when hard truths need to be confronted and addressed, and this Liberal government remains unwilling or incapable of making hard decisions when the inevitable clouds roll in. I hope the horrific nature of this crime and the grave injustice of this transfer will lead the Liberal government to change course in this instance.
I think I speak for many when I say that we ask the Liberals to stand up and do the right thing, and then perhaps the protest being organized for November 2, just outside this chamber, over the transfer can be avoided. If not, I plan to attend that protest. I will continue to call out this transfer, and I will continue to denounce the Liberal government for its failure to act.