Protecting Our Children

November 29, 2021
Ottawa Journal (November 29 – December 03, 2021)
David Tilson, M.P. (Dufferin-Caledon)

It’s natural for parents to worry about the safety and security of their children.  We worry that maybe the tree-fort is a little too high or that it’s too dark for a bike ride.  While these kinds of concerns are expected, parents shouldn’t have to worry about serious threats like child sexual abuse and exploitation. Canadians expect governments to help protect our children as much as possible and our Government has delivered.

We’ve already taken action for young Canadians by helping strengthen the National Sex Offender Registry – an important improvement which makes it mandatory for sex offenders to be registered. We’ve strengthened the National DNA Data Bank by requiring all convicted sex offenders to provide a DNA sample. We’ve also introduced legislation that would require suppliers of Internet services to report online child pornography; stiff fines will be levied for those who ignore the rules.
Canadians know that the Harper Government is serious about the safety of our most vulnerable – our children. Whether online or outdoors, children should be able to play freely in their communities. 

This fall, we have delivered on our commitment to help make Canadian communities safer for families like yours and mine. As part of our action to protect children from sexual predators, our Government has asked Craigslist – a network of online communities – to remove the erotic services ads from their Canadian websites.  These kinds of ads may help criminal organizations profit from child prostitution and human trafficking.

We’re also ensuring that when it comes to the sexual exploitation of children – the punishment fits the crime. Our Government is proposing improvements to the Criminal Code that would make certain that punishments better reflect the extremely serious nature and brutality of these kinds of crimes. They provide tougher mandatory prison sentences for those who commit sexual offences against children and youth. 

Governments also have a responsibility to provide authorities with the tools necessary to bring to justice those who break the law. Unfortunately, today’s complex computer and telecommunications environment provides countless new ways of committing crimes, making it harder to investigate.  This is why we’ve introduced legislation that would provide law enforcement and national security professionals with up-to-date tools to fight crimes related to gangs, terrorism, and child sexual exploitation.

While our Government is taking action to prevent these horrible crimes, unfortunately some children still suffer from abuse. This is why our Government is establishing and upgrading Child Advocacy Centres across Canada.  These centres will be a strong support system for young victims and witnesses of crime, making it easier for children’s voices to be heard throughout our criminal justice system. They will help reduce trauma so that young victims and witnesses feel comfortable and are better equipped to provide strong evidence that can lead to more convictions and appropriate sentences.