“Conservative Government Continues to Push Justice Reforms”
As many constituents may recall, I have been fighting to end “House Arrest” for violent offenders since the former Liberal Government introduced the legal loophole in 1995.
In fact, it was 11 years ago this month that I introduced for the first time a Private Member’s Bill to address the frequent misuse of conditional sentencing by proposing to restrict the use of Section 742.1 of the Criminal Code so that violent criminals could not serve their sentences in the comfort of their homes.
I continued to re-introduce this legislation in subsequent Parliaments until our Conservative Government, when we took power in 2006, introduced legislation to restrict conditional sentencing. However, the opposition parties gutted that Bill as it wound through the Parliamentary process so that many violent offenders, including those convicted of aggravated assault, human trafficking, luring a child and arson, among other offences, remain eligible for conditional sentencing.
Now, our Government has re-introduced legislation to end the use of house arrest for these crimes. If passed, Bill C-16 would give clear instructions to the courts that those who commit serious violent and property offences will go to jail!
And in our ongoing efforts to utilize the time and resources available in both Houses of Parliament, our Government has also introduced legislation in the Senate to ensure “serious time for the most serious crime”. Bill S-6 would repeal the ‘faint-hope clause’ that allows murderers to obtain early parole.
This Bill would ensure that criminals who commit first-degree murder would not be eligible for parole until they serve the full 25 years of their sentence. Similarly, second-degree murder convicts serving life sentences wouldn’t get parole until their parole eligibility period is served.
Not only will this legislation keep killers off our streets longer and make them fully serve their punishment, the families of murder victims will no longer have to suffer the anguish of attending repeated early parole eligibility hearings.
In another step to protect Canadians, their property and their communities, our Government has also introduced in the Senate our proposals to tackle auto theft and property crime.
Auto theft is highly lucrative for organized crime and costs Canadians approximately $1-Billion each year. Bill S-9 proposes to give law enforcement and the courts better tools to tackle auto theft, as well as the trafficking of all types of stolen or fraudulently obtained property.
And most recently this week, our Government introduced legislation to crack down on organized drug crime. Bill S-10 proposes mandatory jail time for drug trafficking carried out for organized crime purposes or when a weapon or violence is involved. Prison time will also be mandatory if drugs are sold to youth or the trafficking takes place near a school or an area normally frequented by youth (a measure contained in another Private Members’ Bill I repeatedly introduced in Parliaments past).
We have also introduced legislation to strengthen the sex offender registry and to strengthen measures against online child predators.
For more information on our Conservative Government’s justice reform agenda and all of our legislation, go to www.parl.gc.ca.