April 20, 2016

I have used this space the past few weeks to speak about the deeply concerning Federal Budget. Last week I rose to bring forward those thoughts and the thoughts I have heard from the community in the House of Commons. If you are interested in watching the video, you can do so at my facebook page

This week I would like to turn my attention to some criminal justice issues that have been in the news lately. 

Assisted Dying

Last week the Liberal’s tabled their legislation to deal with assisted dying. This issue is highly complex and deeply sensitive. Of course, this discussion has come about more recently because the Supreme Court struck down existing legislation and has rendered a decision that Parliament must pass legislation that allows physician assisted dying for those who are suffering to the highest degree. 

That said, our party’s priority has been to ensure any legislation developed to conform with the Supreme Court decision includes safeguards for the most vulnerable in our society, as well as for the conscience rights of physicians and allied health professionals. The dissenting report from the Special Joint Committee that studied this subject included recommendations to exclude minors; include stringent safeguards to protect those with underlying mental health challenges; and recognize the risks involved with advanced directives. We worked hard to ensure that these recommendations were included in the bill.

I believe that a focus on improving palliative care is also in integral part of end of life care. There was unanimous agreement from the Special Joint Committee, and stakeholders, including the CMA, of the need for a pan-Canadian strategy on palliative care with dedicated funding. The Liberals agreed during the election and promised to invest $3-billion in long-term care – as we have found with many of their election promises, they broke it once they actually formed government.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Truth in Sentencing Act

Canadians are concerned about crime, which is why our government introduced and passed over 30 measures aimed at strengthening our justice system, standing up for victims and keeping our streets safe. Last week, two more of these measures were struck down by the Supreme Court including our Truth in Sentencing Act which eliminated enhanced credits for convicted offenders who are denied bail because of a prior conviction 

Canadians lose faith in the criminal justice system when they feel that the punishment does not fit the crime. Elected representatives can and should provide guidance on sentencing, to reflect the views of all Canadians. This is precisely why we moved to put an end to the practice of judges giving 2 for 1 and sometimes 3 for 1 credit to convicted offenders for the time they served during the course of their trial.

Conservatives make no apologies for strengthening penalties for crimes. The Liberal government must ensure that their response to these rulings still reflects Canadians’ desire to get tough on drug dealers and other criminals.

Mobile Office Update

The next mobile office is in Delburne at the Municipal Building on April 20th from 10-2. If you are in the area, please feel free to stop in and bring any questions or concerns.

Sincerely your Member of Parliament,

Earl Dreeshen