Safe Streets and Communities Act

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, mandatory minimums, which have been universally condemned by everyone with expertise in public policy and criminology, have now had an additional criticism laid against them from evidence in the United States. The New York Times reported on September 25 that mandatory minimums are now increasing plea bargains, that prosecutors are taking all the powers that judges used to have and it is actually resulting in criminals getting lighter sentences than they would have had, had their cases gone to trial.

I would be grateful for any comments from the member for Edmonton—Strathcona.

Linda Duncan: Mr. Speaker, as my colleagues stated earlier, many in the U.S. government, both at the state and the federal levels, are raising questions about the past policies of the U.S. government and are moving toward the kind of measures we are proposing which are to prevent crime.

Indeed, we need to reconsider the elected members making the decisions on what the appropriate sentence should be and instead rely on the judges and prosecutors who hear the details of each case.