Madam Speaker, as I was saying when I began speaking, the hon. member for Comox-Alberni had indicated that section 745 allows Clifford Olson to apply for early parole. He said that a few times in his speech but it is absolutely not true. That is the misrepresentation that we are getting from the Reform Party. It is absolutely not true. It allows him to apply so that he can become eligible to apply. There is a big difference. It is not a parole application.
However, that is too much for the members of the Reform Party to comprehend. They have never decided to deal with reason. Of course Reform Party members claim to act on behalf of victims. They claim they deal with the victims. Do they not realize that Clifford Olson after 25 years can still apply for parole? They do not seem to realize that.
There is room to manoeuvre in this whole area of dealing with section 745. Unfortunately it is quite difficult for the members of the Reform Party to deal with this area.
Let me suggest a solution to this whole matter. Unfortunately it appears that many of them will not be listening. That is fine, they can read it in Hansard some other day. Section 745 perhaps should be abolished in the future. It is something we should look at. I suggest that we take a serious look at abolishing section 745. The amendments that were made by the hon. Minister of Justice were good amendments and a good first step that we had to take.
However, getting rid of 745 does not end the whole matter. There has to be a step that takes place at the same time with the abolition of 745, returning discretion to the judges. We have to return discretion to the judges in the sentencing process. If we do not return discretion injustices occur. I will use a couple of examples to illustrate the problems that result.
Most recently there was a case in Saskatchewan, which I am sure hon. members are all aware of, in which a person was convicted of murder for having put his daughter to death because of his belief in her suffering as a result of illness. The judge in the case should have had the discretion to determine whether that individual would be eligible for parole on a second degree charge in 10 years time, for a first degree murder charge in 25 years, or whether he should reduce it. Maybe he should reduce it to two years, three years or four years, but he should have the discretion to vary from those numbers because we could have an injustice occur. All fact situations are not the same in murder cases.
Heaven forbid that they reoccur, but they seem to, in cases like Olson and Bernardo, the judge should have been able to say "I sentence you to life imprisonment with no parole for life". There
is no application for parole and no parole application can ever be made.
Reform members never suggest this. They simply tell us to get rid of section 745. They never mention this second step. That is what we need. We need this second step. They will probably leave the House and try to take credit for such an idea. Unfortunately some of the ideas that come from the other side of the House are only rehashed ideas they get from this side of the House.
Someone like Bernardo should have been dealt with at the trial process by the trial judge. He should have had the discretion to say no parole or no parole for 250 years. Outlive that, Bernardo. Or no parole for 500 years or whatever figure. He should have had that discretion. Unfortunately the Criminal Code does not allow him that discretion.
Another situation similar to this occurred well in excess of 20 years ago in the city of Saskatoon where an individual was convicted of killing four children, David Threinen. He had killed four children and plead guilty to second degree murder. The very well respected judge in the system in Saskatchewan, Justice Ian Hughes, who had to sentence him, subsequently left Saskatchewan and went to British Columbia.
At the sentencing he increased the parole eligibility to the maximum he could at that time which was 20 years for second degree murder. He made a recommendation that this individual never be paroled. That should not have been something he had to do. He should not have been obliged to do this. He should have had the discretion to be able to make that order at the time of sentencing, not left to the parole board, 20 years plus to be dealt with again. He should have been able to deal with it then.
These are the types of cases where there are injustices, when the judges should go lower in ordering parole eligibility or go substantially higher in ordering non-eligibility for parole. It deals with the whole matter. However, the amendments that have been proposed to Bill C-45 are good amendments. They have changed matters. It has been made such that an initial step has to be taken.
Why would the Reform Party ever vote against such a requirement when it makes it tougher for someone who is serving time for first degree murder in excess of 15 years to get parole eligibility? Why would Reform members, who claim to represent victims, vote against the bill? They claim to represent victims and yet they vote against anything that helps victims. That seems strange. Favour victims, vote against victims; favour victims, vote against victims. That is the Reform policy.
Recently I received a document from the Church council on justice and corrections, a coalition of 11 churches, Roman Catholic, Anglican, United, Presbyterian, Batiste, Evangelical, Lutheran, Salvation Army, the Quaker, Mennonite, Christian Reform and Disciplines of Christ. In that document they indicated they favour judicial reviews. They indicate judicial reviews are working reasonably well in the country. More than half the offenders eligible for a judicial review are not even applying for one, they indicated, often because they either know they do not stand a chance or feel they are not ready.
Then they come out with this statement: "None who has been released into the community has murdered again". None. We are getting a lot of fearmongering from the Reform Party, saying that Canadians are terrified that murders will be released into their community. Of those who have been successful in their application under section 745, none released into the community has murdered again. So why this fearmongering by the Reform Party if not to make this a political issue when it is not a political issue?
With that we proceed to other matters. The Reform Party claims that this a joke of the judicial process.
The hon. member for Prince George-Peace River indicated it is a joke of the process. Where is the joke? We have people charged with murder. There is evidence. They are convicted of murder. They are sent to jail for life. The question is one of parole eligibility. Where is the joke in this system?
People are consistently convicted in courts for the offence of murder. Is this a joke? If this is a joke, I cannot understand what the Reform Party would want in its place. Would it prefer trial by ordeal? Would it prefer-
Topic: Government Orders