Canada's 41st Parliament has begun, and the government is not wasting time in keeping its pledge to Canadians to get tough on crime.
According to Statistics Canada, Canadians reported 2.1 million crimes in 2010. Since each victim has numerous contacts, it means that very few Canadians are untouched by crime – and no one appreciates the need to reduce it more than those it victimizes.
On May 2nd, Canadians gave the government a strong mandate to do everything possible to keep our streets and communities safe. To that end, on September 20th we tabled the Safe Streets and Communities Act.
Among other things, this comprehensive bundle of law and order legislation ends house arrest for serious and violent criminals, establishes tougher sentences for sexual offences against children and strengthens how violent and repeat young offenders are handled. The omnibus bill also calls for decisive action on the matter of organized drug crime.
Reducing crime has long been one of our Conservative government's top priorities. During our time in office, we've already improved sentencing, added extra police officers on our streets, and given our justice system more effective crime-fighting tools.
We have also re-introduced and passed some important laws to help keep Canadians and their families safer. One of those is the Fair and Efficient Criminal Trials Act – also known as mega-trials legislation. The new law reduces waste and delays during mega-trials, where numerous charges are laid against multiple people and many witnesses must be called.
On August 18 of this year, the government publicized the names of 32 individuals living in Canada who are associated with war crimes and crimes against humanity. After requesting help from the public, Canada Border Services Agency`s (CBSA) watch line received many tips. Five individuals have been apprehended, and as of September 14, one has been removed from Canada.
The illegal smuggling of migrants into our country is another area of concern. To ensure that this stops, we have re-introduced the Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act to deal firmly with those who flout our immigration process and endanger vulnerable lives.
Crime is not just a big-city problem. Many of these measures are as needed in the Yorkton-Melville riding as in Canada's urban centres.
It's long past time to make sure our justice system puts the safety and security of law-abiding Canadians and victims above the rights of criminals.