Safe Streets and Communities Act (G)

Ms. Elizabeth May: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Mount Royal for a very thoughtful address and for focusing on his amendment.


However, I was taken by one thing he said as a, shall we say, newer member of Parliament in this place. Although it has been often repeated that the bill has been debated and debated in this place, he put forward that this is the first time the bill has come before the House of Commons.

I would be very grateful if he would expand on that because it is so often repeated that it is hard not to believe it is true. However, I also recognize that this is new legislation and we have not had adequate time to study it.

Hon. Irwin Cotler: Madam Speaker, this is the first time that it is being discussed and debated in this House. A similar piece of legislation was introduced in the other House and debated in the other House, but it was never introduced and debated in this House. The last I looked, we still have two chambers. In this chamber, in the House of Commons, this legislation was only tabled for the first time and debated for the first time in the House and at committee.

It is, as I said, such a piece of transformative legislation that it would have warranted debate, even if it were not for the first time, and extended debate both in the House and in committee.

However, this is the first time that we are debating it and it is bundled together with eight other pieces of legislation. I would say that each of the eight other pieces of legislation, individually and collectively, warrant their own differentiated discussion and debate. Regrettably, we do not have that. We are at least fortunate to be able to address this, albeit for the first time in this House.