October 13, 2011

I hope harvest season was kind to everyone and that you are all getting ready for the new challenges that Autumn will bring. I had a very busy summer in and around the constituency, but am happy to be back in Ottawa representing our community and working for Canadians. Our new majority government is moving quickly to fulfill our commitments made during the last election. I am happy to update you on one issue that is very important to me personally and to many of us here in Central Alberta – protecting families and holding criminals accountable.

In May, 2011 our Government received a strong mandate from Canadians to continue making our streets and communities safe. Canadians want and deserve to be able to feel safe in their homes and communities and that means that criminals need to be off our streets. Our Government is committed to ensuring criminals are held fully accountable for their actions and that the safety and security of law-abiding Canadians and victims comes first in Canada’s justice system. We will continue to fight crime and protect Canadians so that our communities are safe places for people to live and raise their families.

The Safe Streets and Communities Act was introduced in Parliament on September 20, 2011. The Bill (Bill C-10) re-introduces the following reforms which were debated by Parliament during the previous session but never became law:

  • The Protecting Children from Sexual Predators Act, which proposes increased penalties for sexual offences against children as well as creates two new offences aimed at conduct that could facilitate or enable the commission of a sexual offence against a child;
  • The Penalties for Organized Drug Crime Act, which would target organized crime by imposing tougher sentences for the production and possession of illicit drugs for the purposes of trafficking;
  • Sébastien’s Law, which would ensure that violent and repeat young offenders are held accountable for their actions and that the protection of society is a paramount consideration in the treatment of young offenders by the justice system;
  • The Ending House Arrest for Property and Other Serious Crimes by Serious and Violent Offenders Act, which would eliminate the use of conditional sentences or house arrest, for serious and violent crimes;
  • The Increasing Offender Accountability Act, which would enshrine a victims’ right to participate in parole hearings and address inmate accountability, responsibility and management under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act;
  • The Eliminating Pardons for Serious Crimes Act, which would extend the ineligibility periods for applications for a record suspension (currently called a “pardon”) from three to five years for summary conviction offences and from five to ten years for indictable offences;
  • The Keeping Canadians Safe (International Transfer of Offenders) Act, which would add additional criteria that the Minister of Public Safety could consider when deciding whether or not to allow the transfer of a Canadian offender back to Canada to serve their sentence;
  • The Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, which would allow victims of terrorism to sue perpetrators and supporters of terrorism, including listed foreign states, for loss or damage that occurred as a result of an act of terrorism committed anywhere in the world; and
  • The Preventing the Trafficking, Abuse and Exploitation of Vulnerable Immigrants Act, which would authorize immigration officers to refuse work permits to vulnerable foreign nationals when it is determined that they are at risk of humiliating or degrading treatment, including sexual exploitation or human trafficking.

Despite opposition from other parties playing partisan games, our Government firmly believes the justice system must put victims and public safety first. The Bill has passed second reading and is currently before the Justice Committee. We will continue working to pass this legislation on behalf of all Canadians.

Yours Truly,

Earl Dreeshen, MP

Red Deer