Danielle In QP, November 7: Justice System Review

 
Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We continue to ask for an immediate, third-party investigation into the case of the Airdrie girl and several other cases where delayed prosecutions resulted in dropped charges. Even Theoren Fleury, the former Calgary Flame, himself an abuse victim and now an outspoken advocate for victims, says that the Premier is passing the buck, and he’s also called for a full investigation. He says that by the time pedophiles get caught, they typically have over 100 victims, yet the government accuses us of playing politics. Why don’t they shut us up by ordering a full independent investigation right now?

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Justice.

Mr. Denis: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. This has been asked and answered several times through the House, and I’ll answer it one more time. We will and we have undertaken a full and complete independent investigation. If that investigation at its conclusion indicates that we need an external review, we’ll go and look at that. Let’s let this process work itself out. Let’s not politicize what is a very serious and important issue for all Albertans.

The Speaker: The hon. leader.

Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The government claimed the girl from Airdrie was an isolated case, but we are aware of multiple cases where delays in prosecution have forced judges to dismiss charges, denying victims their day in court. Now, judges call these delays egregious and unacceptable, prejudicial, unexplained, and unjustified. The minister wants to spend months having the department investigate itself. That’s another delay. Why not do it properly, completely, and independently right now?

Mr. Denis: Mr. Speaker, again, that is exactly what we are doing. It saddens me deeply that the Leader of the Opposition has no respect whatsoever for our judicial process in this province.

[interjections]

Ms Smith: Mr. Speaker, there’s the little girl from Airdrie we learned about last week: no justice for her. The victim of a Calgary gang rape: no justice for her. A Calgary woman who was sexually assaulted in 2003 never had the case go to trial because of delays: no justice for her. [interjections] How many more cases does this government need to see before it finally acts to restore public confidence in our justice system?

The Speaker: Hon. members, please. May I ask you, particularly those in the front row here, a couple of you: don’t heckle when your own leader is asking a question. Let her get out the question. Okay? Please. It’s recorded, and I have several examples. I’ll be happy to play them for you.

Mr. Denis: Mr. Speaker, for the final time today, Thursday we found out about this issue, and Thursday I ordered the investigation. We are acting. This is a very serious issue, and I thank the member for her concern over this particular issue but also for all sexual assault victims throughout the province.