Upholding public safety is one of the core responsibilities of serving as a legislator in Parliament. As your Member of Parliament, I’m always looking at how we can improve our laws and keep our residents safe.
The Liberal Bill C-75 on bail modernization came into effect in 2019, which made it easier to receive bail, and in fact requires Judges to release offenders at the earliest opportunity instead of keeping them detained. The Liberal Bill C-5 also removed mandatory minimum sentences for many serious offences. The government overhauled our justice system through these two Bills, and we are now seeing the full suite of their results. Violent random attacks are up, and in British Columbia, the same 40 offenders had 6,000 negative interactions with police in one year.
Conservatives put forth a motion to toughen the country’s bail system and demand the government reform the justice system which is now seeing violent repeat offenders on our streets.
The feeling of our justice system acting as a revolving door is shared widely. It was reported that Kelowna's RCMP superintendent recently stated, "Being compassionate and concerned about mental health and substance use doesn't mean we have to accept repeat criminal behavior."
Yet the Liberals have tied the hands of our justice system, ensuring that repeat offenders have an easier time receiving bail and face less severe sentencing for serious crimes.
One recent example of a repeat offender was a public warning that was issued here in the Central Okanagan about a violent, high-risk repeat offender who escaped from a recovery home.
That individual was recaptured, however, this is one example of how the current bail system is failing public safety when someone with a history of violence and ignoring court orders was granted bail on weapons charges.
I asked the Minister of Justice about this case in the House of Commons. While the Minister said nobody out on bail should threaten Canadians' security, tragically, that has not been the case.
Five police officers in Canada have recently been killed with some of their offenders being out on bail. One example was Ontario Provincial Police Const. Greg Pierzchala who was killed last December by a repeat, violent offender released on bail for assaulting a police officer and possessing a handgun only months prior.
The calls for action to reform our bail system have now come from every Canadian Premier, who jointly wrote to the Liberal government. With a 32% increase in violent crime in one year and a 92% increase in gang-related homicides over the last eight years, Parliament should not wait to reform our bail system.
That's why I was proud to second legislation recently introduced in the House of Commons by a Conservative colleague.
Bill C-313 would put a stop to the worst repeat, violent criminals from being released on bail. This proposed legislation targets offenders who are prohibited from possessing firearms. When such people are charged with a serious gun offense, the hill to climb for bail will be much steeper. In just Toronto, last year, over half the people charged with gun murders were out on bail at the time of the crime.
This serves as a first step in reforming our bail system. Most importantly, it places the burden for bail where it should be: on repeat violent offenders to justify why they should be released back into the communities in which they've harmed innocent victims.
We can still uphold the rights of individuals and the presumption of innocence in our justice system while focusing on repeat offenders and public safety. Bill C-313 and my own Private Members Bill C-283, "the End the Revolving Door Act," strike that balance of ensuring a justice system that protects the public, upholds victims' rights, and provides a path to recovery to those who are faced with addiction.
I hope that members from all parties will join the Conservatives and fast-track these bills into law. People deserve to feel safe in their communities.