One of the first terms I became familiar with, when I was elected as a Member of Parliament, was the term “Ottawa bubble”.
So what exactly is the “Ottawa bubble”?
It can have a variety of different meanings .
From my own view, it describes how the culture and perspectives on Parliament Hill is often very different from what exists in many Canadian communities.
One example of this is the current record high gas prices.
For many Canadians who are forced to commute for a variety of different reasons, the added costs are in some case adding hundreds of extra dollars to the monthly fuel bill.
For families already struggling with higher grocery bills and other inflationary cost increases, along with the rise of interest rates, I have heard reports of some households being out over an extra $500 a month that they cannot afford.
When our Conservative Opposition noted that the federal government was cashing in with GST on gas and diesel, as fuel prices rise, we proposed to temporarily suspend the GST on fuel sales.
Our motion was defeated as the Liberal/NDP partnership literally laughed at us while voting against this motion.
There is little recognition from this Prime Minister on the effects that rising gas prices are having on families and commuters.
Another example of the “Ottawa Bubble” in action pertains to crime.
I hear immense frustration from many communities who are upset by chronic offenders who continue to commit crimes only to be released back into communities where they re-offend.
This is one of the reasons why we have mandatory minimum penalties (MMP) for crimes at the federal level to ensure that, for certain types of crimes, there is a mandatory penalty that must be applied.
However recently the Trudeau Liberal Government introduced Bill C-5 that proposes to repeal fourteen different mandatory minimum penalties under the Criminal Code.
What are some of these offences proposed to be repealed?
Some examples include using a firearm or imitation firearm in commission of offence, possession of firearm or weapon knowing its possession is unauthorized, possession of prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition.
It is also proposed to repeal mandatory minimum sentences on discharging firearm with intent, discharging firearm — recklessness, robbery with a firearm and extortion with a firearm (if not part of a criminal organization).
To be clear, Bill C-5 does not suggest there should not be penalties for these offences but that penalties for these offences should be entirely at the discretion of the judge, to allow for more “flexibility”.
The Liberals are pointing to the fact that:
“Between 2007-2008 and 2016-2017, Indigenous and Black offenders were more likely to be admitted to federal custody for an offence punishable by an MMP. In 2020, despite representing 5% of the Canadian adult population, Indigenous adults accounted for 30% of federally incarcerated inmates. The proportion of Indigenous offenders admitted with an offence punishable by an MMP has almost doubled between 2007-2008 and 2016-2017, from 14% to 26%”.
The Liberals have stated the intent of this bill is to “target” the data the shows the higher level of these incarceration rates.
My question this week:
Do you support repealing mandatory minimum sentences in favour of more judicial discretion in sentencing?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
Subscribe to the MP Report
Sign up now to get Dan's weekly MP report emailed directly to you!
Sign up now to get a monthly MP Report mailed directly to your home.
Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.