We made a commitment to Canadians to restore faith in our justice system and to better protect them.
And this week in the House of Commons, our Conservative Government moved aggressively to advance our crime-tackling agenda.
First, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson introduced legislation to crack down on white-collar crime. This is a serious issue affecting the lives of Canadian families who have been swindled out of their hard-earned savings at the hands of fraudsters and criminals.
If passed, the legislation will make jail time mandatory for fraud over $1-million by setting a new mandatory sentence of two years for white collar crimes. The impact on the victim and the magnitude of the fraud will also be considered as factors to toughen sentences.
Judges will be required to consider forcing offenders to make restitution to victims in all fraud cases. And affected groups will be allowed to submit Community Impact Statements to the Court.
This isn’t the first time we’ve tried to crack down on white collar crime, but the Liberals gutted our previous legislation, introduced in 2006, that would have denied house arrest for serious crimes such as fraud and theft over $5,000.
Someone convicted of these crimes should not be allowed to serve their sentences in the comfort of their own home while many of their victims can no longer afford a roof over their head!
We could not allow loopholes for ‘house arrest’ to stand and therefore, in June of this year we again introduced legislation to limit the use of conditional sentencing legislation to minor crimes.
Bill C-42, which was debated this week by MPs at second reading, will amend the Criminal Code so that conditional sentences will no longer be available for offences such as: street racing causing bodily harm, trafficking in persons, criminal negligence causing bodily harm, criminal negligence causing death, forgery of a passport, incest, perjury, arson, counselling/aiding suicide, airgun/pistol causing bodily harm.
We took another positive step forward this week when our Identity Theft legislation, Bill S-4, passed into law. This Bill creates the new offences of identity theft, trafficking in identity information and unlawful possession of trafficking in certain government-issued identity documents. Among other measures, this legislation can make an offender provide restitution to a victim for the expenses they incurred in rehabilitating their identity.
In order to fight crime in the 21st Centurym, our laws must keep pace with the technology that makes crimes, such as identity theft and the distribution of child pornography, easier to commit.
That’s why our Conservative Government has also introduced legislation to give law enforcement agencies additional tools they need to investigate a crime. While careful to respect privacy rights and freedoms, Bill C-47 will expand the existing ability to obtain a warrant to intercept communications over traditional telephones to include cell phones, other wireless technologies and the Internet as well.
Now that Michael Ignatieff has stepped-back from his threat to immediately attempt to bring down our Government, I am hopeful we can continue to enact legislation to better protect Canadians!