On 4th October, Frank Caputo, Conservative Shadow Minister for Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister for National Defence, tabled Bill C-299, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (maximum penalties).
Bill C-299 raises the maximum sentence for nearly all sexual offences to life imprisonment.
“Sexual offences in Canada are not treated with the seriousness that they deserve,” stated MP Caputo. “We need to change the way sexual offences, especially those against children, are prosecuted and thought about.”
“Robbery is the taking of property by force and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Yet sexual assault, the taking of consent and dignity by force, carries only a 10-year maximum sentence and a 14-year maximum sentence when the offence is committed against a child,” said Caputo. “This must change. Victims of sexual violence carry trauma are often subjected to a psychological life sentence and deeply rooted impacts. Sentences must recognize this.”
“In my time as a Crown Prosecutor, I often worked directly with victims of sexual violence and saw firsthand the devastation that sexual violence can cause,” continued Caputo. “Only recently have we learned the true extent of the impact of sexual violence on a person, especially when the victim is a child. This change to increase maximum sentences to life imprisonment will clearly demonstrate to victims that the government understands the seriousness of the offence and will allow perpetrators to be punished accordingly.”
“I am hopeful that all parties will support this initiative along with Bill C-291 (changing the name of ‘child pornography’ to ‘child sexual abuse material’) and demonstrate clearly that they will stand on the side of victims of sexual violence,” Caputo concluded.