Madam Speaker, let me first echo the comments of the Leader of the Opposition in response to the news earlier today and offer my sincerest condolences to the family of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was murdered near my home in Surrey.
Crime, chaos and disorder is the Prime Minister's legacy after eight years. This is the direct result of his dangerous soft-on-crime policies. Canadians' lives and sense of security are being destroyed in record numbers by criminals who should never have been out roaming the streets in the first place. Canadians are not feeling safe in their communities, on public transit, at public events or in coffee shops. They are rightly worried that they may be the next victim of the Prime Minister's crime wave.
The government's own statistics illustrate a stark reality. Violent crime has gone up 39%. Gang-related homicides are up 108%. Sex crimes against children are up 126%. Gun crime has increased every year and is up over 100% since 2015. The Prime Minister's response is to go after law-abiding hunters.
Across the country, murders are up 43%, the highest rate in 30 years. In Vancouver alone, murders have gone up 55%, and firearms-related offences are up 22%. In the last seven months alone, eight police officers were killed in the line of duty. There were eight in seven months. These statistics are alarming. We in the federal government, charged with national security, can never forget that they are more than statistics. These are real crimes happening to real people, with devastating consequences.
There are commuters carjacked at gunpoint, students lit on fire on the bus, teenagers stabbed at the subway and executions in the street, parking lots and driveways. This crime wave is a direct result of Liberal legislation passed, which was sponsored by the most radical minister of justice in Canadian history, the member for LaSalle—Émard—Verdun. His bill broke the bail system. Where is he now? He is no longer in cabinet. Under his bill, Bill C-75, the catch-and-release act, violent offenders are arrested, then released on a promise that they will appear in court. They then commit another offence within hours. They have time and opportunity to commit crimes literally morning, afternoon and evening.
Take Vancouver, for example. As my colleague just mentioned, the same 40 offenders were arrested 6,000 times in a single year. That is 150 arrests each. Last year in Toronto, there were 17 gun-related murders committed by violent criminals out on bail. This summer in Edmonton, a father of seven children was stabbed in the chest, murdered at a transit station. Again, the accused was out on bail. The crime wave is evident in B.C. as it is elsewhere. In Surrey last April, a 17-year-old boy named Ethan Bespflug was stabbed and killed on a bus. A few days later, a young man was stabbed on the SkyTrain. In August, a man was shot in the face at a Surrey bus stop.
Recently, at Vancouver's Light Up Chinatown! festival, meant to bring the community together, a man who previously had murdered his teenage daughter by stabbing her stabbed three people. Last Thursday, Vancouver police arrested a man for four assaults committed in the span of 45 minutes. He used a chain and a concrete block.
One of the most horrific incidents in downtown Vancouver was last March. It was videotaped and shown on social media. A man standing outside a Starbucks was brutally and senselessly attacked, stabbed to death in front of his wife and daughter in broad daylight. We are talking about mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbours.
Sadly, the urgency of this crime wave seems to be lost on the new Minister of Justice. Just days after he was sworn in, he said, “'I think that empirically it's unlikely” Canada is becoming less safe. He is in complete denial of the dangerous reality on the streets. He is telling victims of crime and Canadians who are rightly concerned, many living every day in fear, that it is all in their heads. Even by Liberal standards this was a ridiculous statement. Frankly, he should apologize for it.
For Liberal elites in their ivory towers, understanding the reality Canadians are facing in our communities is a difficult concept. I am pleased to see that the Liberals have finally woken up and are paying some attention to the heinous violence committed by criminals on bail. They should be listening to the experience of frontline law enforcement officers.
Constable Shaelyn Yang was tragically and senselessly stabbed to death while on duty by a man who was arrested for assault and out on bail on the condition that he would appear in court. He failed to appear. A warrant was issued for his rearrest, and when Constable Yang found him living in a park in Burnaby, he murdered her.
The case of Constable Yang is sadly not isolated. Last December, Constable Greg Pierzchala was shot and killed in the line of duty. The accused was out on bail, had a lengthy criminal record, including assaulting a peace officer, and was the subject of a lifetime firearm prohibition. Did I mention that he was shot?
Following this despicable murder, all 13 premiers wrote a joint letter to the Prime Minister demanding urgent action. Finally, after public blowback, the united call for change from the premiers and fierce criticism in the House from the Conservatives, the Liberals have admitted that they broke the bail system.
Today the Liberals have brought forward Bill C-48. We should all support this bill because it imposes a reverse onus on certain firearms offences and requires courts to consider the violent history of an accused. This is the reason the Conservatives asked for unanimous consent to pass this bill today. The NDP initially denied consent but has since agreed with the Conservatives that this bill should be passed today at all stages.
It is our view that Bill C-48 is a good start but still falls short, and a Conservative government will take steps to strengthen it. The legislation in its current form ignores several key recommendations put forward by the premiers, including the creation of a definition within the Criminal Code for serious prolific offenders and to initiate a thorough review of Canada's bail system.
Under Bill C-48, the accused killer of OPP Constable Pierzchala and countless other repeat violent offenders would have still been released back into the community. Under pressure from the Conservatives, the Liberals have now proposed a partial fix to an obviously broken bail system. The Conservatives can be counted on to fight for common-sense, thorough and meaningful improvements when we form government. It remains doubtful that the dangerous NDP-Liberal coalition will ever put the rights of victims ahead of the rights of criminals.
Last year, this coalition passed Bill C-5, removing mandatory prison time for serious crimes, including robbery with a firearm, extortion with a firearm, discharging a firearm with intent, drug trafficking and the production of heroin, crystal meth or fentanyl. Bill C-5 also expanded the use of house arrest for several offences, including criminal harassment, kidnapping and sexual assault.
Thanks to NDP and Liberal MPs, those who commit sexual assault can serve their sentence at home in the same community as their victim. Think about that. The Liberals and the NDP would rather be on the side of violent men than their female victims. There is perhaps no greater example of this than the case of Paul Bernardo, a notorious serial rapist and killer of teenage girls. The Liberals allowed that monster to be transferred out of maximum security and into medium security over the objections of the victims' families. We brought a motion to the House calling for Bernardo to be returned to maximum security but Liberal members denied consent.
All of this is proof that the Liberal Party and its partners in the NDP cannot be counted on to protect victims or to restore safe streets. For that, we need a change in government. A common-sense Conservative government will bring home desperately needed safety to our streets, and we will do it by ensuring that prolific offenders remain behind bars while awaiting trial. The days of catch and release will be over.
After eight years, crime, chaos and disorder in our streets is the new normal. It should never be normal. Conservatives know we have a lot of work ahead, but we will fix our broken bail system and bring back safety to our communities.