Conservatives Supporting Victims of Crime

In response to David Neufeld's letter, "Government Failing To Protect Our Children" (June 3), I would like to thank my friend for his comments and his interest in keeping our children safe.

As a father and as a grandfather, I can think of no greater public policy issue than keeping our communities safe and standing up for victims of crime. Our government's ultimate responsibility is to ensure that we have a society where honest, hard-working Canadians can live, work and play safely in their communities. And that is what we are doing.

To this end, I was pleased our government is investing in the services provided by child advocacy centres across our country. They support children and youth victims of crime to minimize system-induced trauma by providing a child-friendly setting for young victims and their families.

We're also supporting families to ensure their children excel at school and remain active in sports and arts. And most of all, our government has passed legislation to strengthen the Criminal Code and make sure our police have the proper tools to fight crime.

We have toughened laws to deter crime, to protect Canadians and to change the system to treat victims with greater compassion and respect, particularly with the Victims Bill of Rights, which just received royal assent, to really make victims the heart of the criminal justice system.

We have increased penalties for sexual offences against children and created two new offences aimed at conduct that could facilitate or enable a sexual offence against a child. We have strengthened the sex offender registry and increased the age of protection, also known as the age of consent to sexual activity, from 14 to 16 years.We have eliminated house arrest for offenders who commit serious and violent offences and enacted legislation to make the reporting of child pornography by Internet service providers mandatory. Furthermore, we have toughened sentencing and monitoring for dangerous offenders.

While much work has been done, more remains. I remain dedicated to supporting victims and keeping dangerous offenders off of our streets. These are values most Westman residents share: we want a country where justice, real justice, is at the heart of our legal system.

Larry Maguire
Conservative MP?for Brandon-Souris


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