Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, “this is about politics, not public safety”. That was Steve Sullivan, the first federal ombudsman for victims of crime, speaking on Bill C-26.

This bill would not do those things that would make children safer. It would only do those things that have been proven to be ineffective, such as maximum minimum sentences and so on. The current administration has failed to provide the funding support for Circles of Support and Accountability, a proven program that has 70% to 83% reductions in recidivism among those most likely to reoffend.

I challenge the Minister of Justice. If he cares about our children, to fund that program and stop pursuing failed policies.

Peter MacKay: Mr. Speaker, the member would know that the Department of Justice does much more than just bring forward legislation that toughens penalties. We have many programs in place that are designed specifically at the front end to prevent this type of offence and also to work with offenders and victims.

We are bringing historic legislation in the first Canadian victims bill of rights. We have a very extensive aboriginal justice program that, again, does a great deal to help deter crimes that occur far too often on reserve against aboriginal women and girls.

It does require a comprehensive approach, and that is exactly what the government is doing. Rather than just paying lip service to these offences, the government is treating them seriously and also treating the victims with respect.