Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Madam Speaker, I am so grateful to be acknowledged at this moment, because it allows me to follow up on the question from the hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke and clarify for the hon. member for Fundy Royal that no one voting for Bill C-5 thinks that guilty parties should have no jail time.
What we are arguing for, based on the evidence, is that we do not put an additional cost burden on the provinces by putting more people in jail. The provinces have to pay the costs of what was an omnibus crime bill in a previous Parliament, Bill C-10. We do not want to see people who are innocent get so worried about a mandatory minimum that they take their lawyer’s advice and take a plea deal because they do not really want to take the chance of letting the judge use his or her discretion, having heard all the evidence, and we do not want people to get lesser sentences because they did not go through the process where a judge had the discretion to decide how they should go to jail.
The punishment must fit the crime, and the cookie-cutter approach of mandatory minimums is a failure.
Hon. Rob Moore (Fundy Royal)
Madam Speaker, I wish all Canadians could have been watching when we saw the Green Party move amendments at our committee to remove every single mandatory penalty from the Criminal Code, including sexual offences against children. It was appalling. They moved the amendments, but then they did not want to speak about them.
I am happy to speak about them. We, the Conservatives, believe that Parliament needs to send a message that individuals who victimize young people and Canadians, cause fear in our communities and engage in drive-by shootings, weapons trafficking, the importing and exporting of firearms illegally, robberies with a firearm, extortion with a firearm and the discharging of a firearm with intent, as in a drive-by shooting, need to be off the streets and there need to be serious consequences for those types of crimes.