Safe Streets and Communities Act (F)

Mr. Colin Carrie: Madam Speaker, the member said that she has issues with the mandatory minimums. Does the member realize that they are minimums and that in the case of violent repeat offenders, rapists or murderers, a judge could hand down a greater sentence?

As well, could the member let the House know which of the mandatory minimum sentences she is against or feels is too long for some of these violent repeat offenders?

Ms. Elizabeth May: Madam Speaker, the problem with mandatory minimums is not personal to me. Rather, it is a universal problem among the people who have seen how they operate. There could be higher sentences. I was giving an example from the United States. Former judge Paul Cassell said that what is happening, in which case it is not theoretical, is it gives greater discretion to the prosecutors. As these are not cases that get to court, there is a plea bargaining process that can provide lighter sentences for people who could have had their sentences increased had they appeared before a judge.

In summary, my amendments propose to delete all of the mandatory minimums for all of the offences, not because people should not go to jail, but because in each case a judge should decide how long each convicted person should go to jail.