Before I go to the member, once again, I do not know how many times I have reminded members that they must direct their comments directly to the Chair rather than to their colleagues. I want to be specific. This includes saying “Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the member “what are you going to do?” That is not acceptable. Members cannot do indirectly what they cannot do directly. I would remind all hon. members to please direct all of their comments directly to the Chair.
The hon. member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges.
The hon. member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges is rising on a point of order.
Mr. Speaker, I am humbled to rise today to wrap up this debate on Bill C-444, my private member's bill.
It is not often we get to work specifically on behalf of a constituent in such a significant way, by making a change to the Criminal Code of Canada. First and foremost, I want to thank the brave young woman and her mother who inspired me to table this bill. There are also many folks on the Hill I would like to thank for the support and encouragement they have extended to me along the way, as well as for the personal work they have put into our debates on this bill. This also includes my wonderful staff, here in Ottawa as well as back in Red Deer.
As I have said, this bill is about sentencing. It speaks to the need for tougher penalties for personating peace officers and public officers, and it is in line with the fundamental sentencing principle of proportionality, which is stated in section 718 of the Criminal Code. We must preserve the trust and respect that citizens have for police officers. When citizens see a police uniform, they trust the authority that comes with it. We are giving the tools that they need to deliver harsher sentences to criminals who breach this trust to cause harm.
Within the parameters of the maximum sentence for this particular offence, the decision of what sentences are appropriate will still rest with sentencing courts. We know that a number of factors come into play in a sentencing decision, such as the criminal record of the offender or the severity of harm caused to a victim.
Aggravating circumstances are just one more factor that sentencing judges are required to consider when the Crown is successful in a conviction. Sentencing achieves a number of results, and one of them is support for victims. The rights of victims need to be protected. They must know that there are serious consequences for criminals who have hurt them.
I extend my heartfelt condolences to any Canadian who has been a victim of someone maliciously personating a police officer to do further harm. I dedicate this work to those victims.
I thank my colleagues for their support. If I still have a moment, I would like to thank the following members for their contribution to debate: the Minister of Justice; the members of the Standing Committee on Justice for their thoughtful study and debate, and their support; the seconders, the members for Sault Ste. Marie and Oxford; the members who contributed their time in speaking here in the House, the members for Gatineau, Mount Royal, Montcalm, Brome—Missisquoi, Charlottetown, Beauport—Limoilou, British Columbia Southern Interior, Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Louis-Hébert, Nanaimo—Cowichan, Chambly—Borduas, Northumberland—Quinte West, Edmonton—St. Albert, Windsor—Tecumseh, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, as well as the Associate Minister of National Defence.
There is a special symbolism of having every member present in this House stand to show their support, not just for a bill but for victims and police officers throughout this great nation.
However, because of the uncertainty that surrounds the closing days of any session, I would be proud to use this opportunity to stand on behalf of all members and to accept unanimous consent if the House so chooses.
Order, please. The member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges.
Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the comments of the member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges. He is a very eloquent new member of the House and does a very effective job in the House of Commons.
I appreciate his remarks particularly when it comes to the difference between what legislation purports to do and what it actually does. What goes beyond just looking at the legislation is what resources are being allocated by the federal government—in other words, what is it doing to provide the resources to support victims and support this legislation?
Throughout the evening, we have been asking questions. The member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges has been asking questions. We have not got answers back from the government about how it will provide resources for this legislation. It seems apparent that it will be put on the backs of the provinces.
When we look at the cutbacks the government is making in health transfers, we see it is basically cutting back 50% of health care transfers over the next few years. In this context, we have concerns about whether this legislation is being adequately funded.
Does the member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges share the concern about the government not providing the funding to support the legislation?
Order, please. Just a word to hon. members. I do not want to take time away from the debate, but members realize that the questions and responses need to be proportionate in time. That said, for a five second question that compels a complex response, the respondent needs the time to explain that as well. Therefore, we are going to have a healthy debate here. A question that actually compels a rather intricate response, time needs to be permitted to do so.
On the other side of the coin, we compel the respondents to do everything they can to make the responses concise and make them as close to that time as they practically can. All of this is an effort to try and make the debate informative and flow in a way that it helps inform Canadians on the question that is before the committee this evening.
The hon. member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges.
The electoral district of Vaudreuil-Soulanges (Quebec) has a population of 120,395 with 97,618 registered voters and 248 polling divisions.
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