An Act to amend the National Defence Act, the Criminal Code, the Sex Offender Information Registration Act and the Criminal Records Act

This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in October 2007.

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the National Defence Act to create a scheme that requires offenders who have committed service offences of a sexual nature to provide information for registration in a national database under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act. The new scheme parallels the one in the Criminal Code, and that Act, the Sex Offender Information Registration Act and the Criminal Records Act are amended accordingly. The amendments to the National Defence Act also establish mechanisms to accommodate military operational requirements when necessary.

The enactment creates a new offence under the National Defence Act for failure to comply with an order or obligation to provide information to a designated registration centre.

It also makes certain amendments to the Criminal Code and the Sex Offender Information Registration Act to enhance the administration and enforcement of the current registration scheme for sex offender information.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Protecting Victims From Sex Offenders Act
Government Orders

June 8th, 2009 / 5:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member made an excellent presentation. He detailed how Bill S-3 was passed back in 2007 and how the government did not get it right at that time. Then there was the recent exposé. The parliamentary committee reviewed and had a draft report within two weeks of being available and then the government introduced legislation.

The member does have a lot of concerns about the bill, but by the sounds of it, he and members of his party will support the legislation at the end of the day, at least as far as getting it into committee. At that point, hopefully some of his good ideas will find their way into the bill.

He pointed out the strong points of the Ontario statute. I was not aware of the fact that people use the Ontario statute roughly 400 times a day, while the federal system is only used 150 times a year. Clearly, there are some advantages to the Ontario system that merit adoption.

He also mentioned the very important point that 77% of children who had been abducted were dead within three hours. That is astounding. I was not aware of that statistic.

I thank him for that information.

However, I want to ask him a question regarding the expansion of the registry to include those convicted of sexual offences outside Canada. I am assuming that would include places like Thailand and other countries that have sex tourism. How are we to know how these people are going to be included? Are we going to have the Thailand government giving us a list of people who have been convicted? Is there some sort of international registry for us to determine who should be coming to us from that list?

April 21st, 2009 / 10:30 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Andrew Kania Brampton West, ON

Would any of you disagree with the following statement, which is that prior to the passage of Bill S-3, on March 29, 2007, the Conservatives were aware of all of the problems that you've gone through today and they left them unanswered?

April 21st, 2009 / 10:30 a.m.
See context

Director General, Corrections and Criminal Justice Directorate, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mary Campbell

As a public servant, I'm not able to reveal advice that I provide to any minister on an ongoing basis, but it's fair comment to say that this is a very serious matter, and, of course, ministers take it very seriously and advice is provided.

If you look at the sequence of amendments to the bill, you will see that Bill S-3 was an endeavour to get the military incorporated and to make a number of other what we might call “technical amendments”, but also some of the amendments along the lines of what we've been talking about today.

There was quite a time gap between Parliament passing that bill and it being proclaimed in force, partly because there were some important regulations on the military side that had to be created. During that time, no one was inactive. Discussions continued at the federal-provincial level, and certainly at the federal level. These issues have been discussed and analyzed and advice provided.

April 21st, 2009 / 10:30 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Andrew Kania Brampton West, ON

This is for all the panellists. Did any of you make representations to Minister Day in terms of what you wanted to fix and the changes you wanted to see before Bill S-3 was actually passed?

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

October 23rd, 2007 / 3:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, I will focus on my new responsibilities as the official opposition's heritage and official languages critic.

I will share my time with the member for Mississauga—Erindale.

I believe that the Conservative government should offer a coherent vision of cultural life in Canada, a vision that does not neglect our cultural industries, our artistic institutions, our museums, our artists or our public broadcaster.

The Conservatives did not do that. In the throne speech there was mention of finally acting on copyright, but there were no details as to content or timing. Legislation had been promised before June 2006 on this matter and then before Christmas 2006. Now, 18 months later, we may get this legislation.

When the minister spoke yesterday, many were hoping to hear a few details on that and her thoughts on a number of other important dossiers in the matters of heritage. Yesterday there was not a word. There was not a word about our public broadcaster, not a word about reassuring Canadians as to whether or not the Reform dissenting opinion of the Lincoln report in 2003 still holds, which would have privatized CBC. There was not a word from the minister on that.

There was not a word about a museums policy. There was not a word about the museums assistance program. The Canadian Museums Association had been given a commitment that a policy would be forthcoming before Christmas 2006. Christmas came and went and it did not get that policy. Yesterday there was not a word.

The Prime Minister announced that the Government of Canada would finance the operational costs of the new human rights museum in Winnipeg, which is fine, but there is still a question mark as to whether or not the $22 million will be coming from an existing envelope or whether the envelope overall will be increased. My information is that it is from the existing envelope, therefore choking off the existing museums, so much so that they have to do fundraising, as has been reported, to make acquisitions. There was not a word about all of this.

There was also not a word about increasing the museums assistance program. In the last election the Conservatives promised to actually increase the funding to small museums across the country. Lo and behold, what they did instead was the opposite. They reduced the museums assistance program. There was not a word about that.

There was not a word about the exhibition transportation services for museums and galleries, which is very useful to the smaller galleries and museums. This will expire at the end of March 2008. There was not a word about that.

There was not a word about the portrait gallery. Many people have been asking about that. What is the policy framework within which the government will be making the decision as to where the portrait gallery should be located?

There was not a word about the television fund. Will it ever be A-based? Will it be indexed? What about funding for Telefilm and the National Film Board? Will they be increased? Will they be indexed? There was not a word.

There was not a word about festivals. There was not a word about where the minister is vis-à-vis the CRTC and Canadian content and foreign ownership restrictions.

Right now we have a situation where the government has, by executive fiat, which comes from the industry department and not from the heritage department, directed the CRTC essentially to let market forces dominate. Is the minister's silence consent as to this direction for Canadian cultural industries, Canadian television and film content? If it is, perhaps she should have said so yesterday.

Canada's cultural and artistic communities have not been given enough information. They do not know what to expect from the Conservative government. This is not unlike what happened when the federal government copied the Liberal Party's promise during the last election campaign to double funding for the Council for the Arts. As it turns out, that is not at all what the government has done.

The minister talked exclusively about official languages earlier, and that is fine, but she could have mentioned her other portfolio: Canadian Heritage.

With respect to official languages, she congratulated herself on having signed service and education agreements with all of the provinces. I should hope so, because by the time the government came to power, those agreements had already been negotiated and confirmed. All she had to do was sign them. The Conservatives can go ahead and take all the credit, but they really should give credit where credit is due.

The minister said that she met with the ministers responsible for la Francophonie a month ago. However, she failed to mention that these very ministers issued a press release demanding that the federal government renew the action plan that was introduced by its predecessor in 2003.

Let us talk about this plan. This begs a fundamental question: does the Conservative government intend to renew the plan? It found all manner of ways to avoid this word, avoid this specific commitment. What the linguistic minority communities across the country are asking for, and what the ministers responsible for la Francophonie across the country asked for, is that the action plan be renewed. In the Speech from the Throne, there is not a single occurrence of the word “renewal”. The government has chosen its words carefully.

The minister wanted to focus on the issue of official languages; we were hoping she would, because it is not clear. Would the plan be renewed for one year, two years, five years? It is not clear. How much money would be allocated? Not a word. Are we talking about broadening this action plan? A promise was made after many consultations with the communities. It was a matter of broadening the plan to incorporate programs for young people, women, seniors, culture and international issues. Not a word.

She did not talk about the setbacks we have had under her government either; the cancellation of the court challenges program, for example. As for the Official Languages Secretariat, which was a branch of the Privy Council, the government decided to transfer it to Canadian Heritage, when we know full well that a secretariat located in a central agency has a lot more influence and a greater ability to take action.

Were it not for the existence of this secretariat at the Privy Council when I was minister responsible for official languages, we would not have succeeded in getting language clauses in the early childhood agreements with every province. What did this government do? It relieved the Privy Council of its role in official languages and gave that role to Canadian Heritage. The communities are having a hard time getting their bearings. The minister could have said a few words about this, but she chose not to say a word.

As for the new round of budget cuts just starting, which her department is subject to, would the action plan for official languages be protected from these cuts this time? Not a word.

As for the Department of National Defence in this struggle to promote linguistic duality, and we totally agree that it is the role of the Government of Canada to ensure that the Official Languages Act is respected across the country, there is not a word. National Defence has given up and there is not a word on this from the government.

Nor was anything said about one of the Prime Minister's first actions when he came to power, informing us that he intended to cancel all early childhood agreements—the very agreements that had been negotiated and that communities were celebrating from one end of the country to the other. It is a major setback for these communities. The minister did not say one word about this.

There is not one word about the fact that, after they were elected, the Conservatives decided that the Commissioner of Official Languages, an officer of this House, would no longer report to the Prime Minister but would report to another minister. Previous governments had indicated the importance they attributed to the issue of linguistic duality and the official languages. They said that, in terms of the government, the Commissioner of Official Languages reported to the Prime Minister. In terms of his mandate, he obviously reports to the House of Commons, as he should.

However, even more disturbing, there is not a word about Bill S-3. When in opposition, his government supported the bill, which dealt with the last amendments to the Official Languages Act made in November 2005, when everyone was celebrating.

Where are the plans that were to come out of the application of Bill S-3? Where is the regulatory framework? Where are the consultations that will result in the regulations? Where is the cabinet committee on official languages, the ad hoc committee that has not met, as far as I know, for 18 months? What is the minister doing about these matters?

All I can do, as did the Commissioner for Official Languages in his first report, is criticize the Prime Minister and his government for not having backed up these lovely words with concrete action.

June 7th, 2007 / 9:55 a.m.
See context

Commissioner of Official Languages, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

I have two points to mention. In our report on the complaints we've received with regard to the government's conduct, we concluded that there was a lack of compliance with the act.

Second, I'm making an effort to stop referring to Bill S-3 because it is as though that amendment to the act were part of the act. The act has been amended. We're talking about compliance with the act. The amendments are not asterisks. It is not beside the act, it's not something separate; it's the act.

June 7th, 2007 / 9:50 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

So it's not a positive measure.

Commissioner, if it isn't a positive measure, do you think that eliminating a program that is a positive measure is double talk? What the government did wasn't a positive measure. At the same time, it is that same party that now forms the government, which voted in favour of Bill S-3. Furthermore, the purpose of part of Bill S-3 was to put positive measures in place for the official language communities. They're talking out of both sides of their mouth.

I ask myself the following question. In that situation, under Bill S-3, which is now an act, the government has an obligation to put positive measures in place. However, it has not taken a positive measure by cancelling the Court Challenges Program. Could we conclude that the government was breaching Bill S-3 in certain respects, that it has not complied with one aspect of Bill S-3, because the measures it took were negative?

June 5th, 2007 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

President, Court Challenges Program of Canada

Guy Matte

I will certainly comment on the issue of legal aid. We need to remember that, when cases are assessed, one of the criteria is that the funding is not used to further individual cases, cases that affect only one person. Test cases that affect groups of people are funded. The point is to establish a right that will be recognized for a particular group of Canadians cited in section 15, or, in some cases, for all Canadians, particularly women, because the issue is gender discrimination. That is my first point.

My second point is on former Bill S-3. You said that we have enough case law, but when we pass a bill and promulgate a new statute, its scope has to be tested. You passed Bill S-3, so testing it is important. However, I should say that the Court Challenges Program could not be used to test Bill S-3 directly, since Bill S-3 amended the Official Languages Act, and we cannot fund cases associated with the Official Languages Act. If there was some accommodation to be made, we would certainly be happy to extend the Court Challenges Program to cover the OLA and establish a whole new area of case law.

I would also like to be more specific on something—I think I understood Mr. Harvey to say that the funding allocation might be unfair, with too much of it going to administration. As a program, we would have no problem in reviewing the distribution of funding with the government and the department. We are merely an instrument. We were an instrument of the federal government for years, as we supported cases. That was our purpose. Thus, if there are any aspects of the program that are not appropriate, or if you believe that some things should be changed, we are bound by a contribution agreement which comes from the federal government. We are always ready to consider changes to the program with the federal government.

June 5th, 2007 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

A few moments ago, I think you clearly explained that, when a case goes to court, it is not to benefit a single individual but rather the community as a whole. In the case of food inspectors from Shippagan who were transferred to Shédiac, people challenged the decision— I believe the case was funded under the Court Challenges Program—and won the case. In the circumstances, the Liberals had nothing to brag about because they were the ones who had to defend their decision in court. There was a battery of Liberal lawyers against ordinary people. If money was spent on lawyers, it is the government we should look to blame. Ms. Lalonde said it very well. In the case I'm talking about, the community as a whole benefited from the decision. The court ruled that services could not be withdrawn from a minority region and transferred elsewhere.

In another case, which concerned the RCMP in New Brunswick, once again the Liberals have nothing to brag about because they were in power when the government appealed a ruling in favour of Ms. Marie-Claire Paulin. At the end of the day, the winner will not just be Ms. Paulin, but the entire francophone community in New Brunswick, as well as all francophones who travel to New Brunswick and might be arrested by the RCMP. The lower court stated that the RCMP was required to comply with constitutional linguistic obligations particular to New Brunswick, Canada's only officially bilingual province. The case was won, and once again, the only reason for which they ended up back in court was that the government appealed the ruling. The lower court is not that expensive. But every time you have to go to a higher court, it costs more. And since people don't have the money it takes to go to those higher courts, communities will lose cases.

It's all well and good to boast about Bill S-3. Yesterday again, I heard the minister declare in the House of Commons that the Bloc Québecois had not wanted to vote for the bill. I can tell you that the Conservatives didn't want to vote for it either. But we were on the brink of elections in Quebec, and at the official languages committee I said that I personally would like to see the Conservatives vote against Bill S-3 just before an election. In the end, Bill S-3 passed. But don't we have to test it? Do you think that if we test it, everything will be all right? Section 41 of part VII of the Official Languages Act stipulates that bilingualism will be promoted in federal institutions, in Quebec and across Canada, so that both English and French are recognized in Canadian society. We still have some way to go. Unlike what Mr. Chong was saying, the Court Challenges Program did not serve only individuals and did not represent some sort of legal aid. It's not that at all. He is missing the point entirely.

It might have been good for the government to test the bill before cancelling the program. The government probably did not know what it was doing. Alternatively, it might have known all too well—it was taking away the rights of minorities. I'm not from Quebec, and I'm not part of the French majority. The reason we have French-language schools in New Brunswick, the reason we have our own school boards, the reason we have furthered our cause and preserved our French language, and the reason there are still 250,000 francophones in New Brunswick is that we fought for it.

Aside from that, I don't know whether I have any questions. However, I would like to hear our witnesses' comments.

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08
Business of Supply
Government Orders

May 16th, 2007 / 6:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Chair, in response to the question on the action plan that expires in 2008, I am hearing nothing but empty words.

I would like to know what measures the minister intends to institute to enforce the regular reporting from these federal institutions that have not--I am sorry, I am on the wrong question. I beg your pardon.

The minister voted in favour of Bill S-3, whereby the government is committed to ensuring that positive measures are taken to implement these commitments to enhance the vitality of the English and French minorities and to support their development.

How does the minister reconcile her vote with the fact that she did not oppose the cancellation of the court challenges program?

Official Languages
Oral Questions

May 16th, 2007 / 2:30 p.m.
See context

Louis-Saint-Laurent
Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, for years, the Bloc was indifferent to official language minority communities outside of Quebec.

In the fall of 2005, the Bloc voted against Bill S-3. We, however, have made a strong commitment to promoting linguistic duality, and we will continue to strive toward achieving that goal.

Official Languages
Oral Questions

May 15th, 2007 / 2:25 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill S-3 infringed on the jurisdiction of Quebec and they refused to listen to us. That said, the attitude of the Conservative government toward the Standing Committee on Official Languages also concerns the commissioner. The government decided not to replace the chair of the committee, with the result that the committee has simply disappeared. And what was the reaction of the government whip? “Good riddance”. Those are his words.

Do these scornful words of the whip not support the comments of the commissioner, who criticized this government for being slow to respect—

National Defence Act
Government Orders

March 29th, 2007 / 11:35 a.m.
See context

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

Pursuant to order made on Wednesday, March 28, 2007, Bill S-3 is deemed read a second time and referred to a committee of the whole, deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage and deemed read a third time and passed.

(Bill deemed read the second time, considered in committee of the whole, reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed)

National Defence Act
Government Orders

March 29th, 2007 / 11:25 a.m.
See context

NDP

Penny Priddy Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to support Bill S-3.

I have supported the sex offender registry for a very long period of time, going back to before it was initiated and I certainly support this bill as well. The armed forces is a profession, and this would bring the armed forces into line with what we used to see in many other professions.

In our communities the issue of sexual offences is very top of mind for many people, partly because our media provides information to people so quickly. It is a subject which causes fairly high anxiety certainly in the constituency that I represent. Any tools that are available to help provide some level of assuredness to people are very positive steps forward.

What we have seen in the past, probably with the armed forces and certainly with other professions, is that offences have been committed and as there has been no registry there was no registration of the offence on a national registry. Therefore, the individual in practising a particular profession would simply move to another area and commit another offence. Parents and others in the public would ask how it could happen that someone with a history of sexually offences was hired.

The sexual offence registry ensured that there was a national database. Employers do a criminal records check and the police could use the national database registry.

The New Democratic Party has laid out three streams of justice policies, which are prevention, policing and punishment. This change, while simple in text, is really quite profound. It speaks to prevention and provides another tool for policing and ensures there is a database that is indeed complete.

One reason this is so important is that people in the armed forces are seen as being in a position of trust. I do not know if it is idealism, but a special respect is accorded to people in the armed forces or people who previously served in the armed forces. They are even more likely to be offered positions of trust. Given that they may be even more likely to be offered positions of trust, it is even more important that this registry be put into place.

When I talk to parents and other adults in the community, they tell me that they believe that because there is a sexual offender registry or criminal records checks they can relax a bit more. This is a very good tool and I absolutely support it, so it is not about this piece of legislation, but I always tell people that we as adults and parents or grandparents have to remain continuously alert. We must teach our children what they need to do to be safe and to report when they feel uncomfortable. Adults need to know what to do if they are uncomfortable or where they can go for help. When somebody is charged with a sexual offence, it is highly unlikely that it was the first time the person committed a sexual offence.

When a new tool is put in place, I do not want people to think that they can relax or be less alert. It is a very good tool but people still have to be very alert in their communities.

According to DND, within the last six years 20 people have been charged and convicted of sexual offences. It does not really matter to me if the number is 20 or it is two, as one is too many. I consider this small grammatical change to be a change with profound impact and matters as much as any number would matter. As I say, one offence would be too many. Anyone who has ever worked with victims of sexual offenders or have family members who have been victims of sexual offenders, and that would probably include most of us in the House, know that it affects the victim sometimes for the person's lifetime, and indeed the person's family and family dynamics. Any additional tool that will be available to the police is an important one.

The forces will deal with this as they see appropriate within the forces and in concurrence with the regulations in the armed forces. When that occurs, we must know that whatever consequences are handed out within the forces are reflected in a national database to which the police will have access.

I do not know how many times police officers have said that they wished they had known that a specific person had a history of sexually offending because they could have found the person earlier and they could have prevented future attacks and maybe even have done some prevention. This is a regulation that will allow that to happen.

National Defence Act
Government Orders

March 29th, 2007 / 11:15 a.m.
See context

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise today on Bill S-3, which is before us today.

This bill is not very complicated. In December 2004 the House of Commons passed a series of measures requiring sex offenders to be listed in a registry. After this legislation passed and came into force on December 15, 2004, if memory serves, people realized that the military justice system did not have a similar provision.

I think it is important to explain for a few minutes what the difference is between civil justice and military justice. Some people will want to know whether this means that military personnel are treated differently in the military system than we are in the civil system. We have a typical example of this in the bill before us today.

When advances are made in the civil justice system, it is important for them to be incorporated into the military system as well. Some of the people watching us today may well wonder whether military system can be more permissive than the civil system. The answer is no. It is important, though, to have a military justice system and for it to be distinct from the civil system, even though it follows this system and adapts to it. The military environment is very distinctive. It has codes of honour. I have had the opportunity to attend courts martial and can assure the people watching us today that the application of the law in the military system is just as valid as in the civil system.

Everything needed for a valid justice system is there. There is a court, called a court martial. There is a judge, who listens to the case, and there are military defence attorneys and military Crown prosecutors who present the evidence. Then the judge decides. As I said, it is distinctive. It is true that it seems different because we are accustomed to seeing large provincial, federal and even municipal courts, and that is not the case at a court martial. For example, there are regular courts martial at the base in Saint-Jean. The trappings may be a little different, but when it comes to the gist of the matter, justice is done.

This bill just ensures, therefore, that Bill C-16 will apply and the military justice system will reflect the goals and objectives of that legislation.

The current Minister of National Defence, who was formerly the Conservative defence critic, stated something that was a bit different, though, back in 2005. He slightly criticized the forerunner of this bill, that is to say Bill C-16, saying that military personnel found guilty of sex offences should be taken out of the Canadian armed forces because the military is set up so that everyone can be replaced in every operation.

We must not confuse the sentence with the registry. The problem now is that the sentences are carried out. For example, someone from the Canadian Forces who was sentenced for a sexual offence before the implementation of Bill S-3 could receive a sentence, could actually be discharged from the armed forces for a serious offence, but they did not have to enter their name in a registry that already exists for civilians.

The bill before us simply opens up the possibility that, from now on, a convicted member of the military who has received a sentence, whether or not they are discharged from the armed forces, will have to register their name. As several of my colleagues have said, there will be registration offices here and there throughout Canada for people to register and the measures will be pretty strict. I think that is a good thing. In fact, I get the impression that is why Bill S-3 before us is being fast-tracked, that is, that one representative for each political party will speak to the bill and then it will be deemed to have been adopted at all stages. We must not think that the matter is extremely complicated. It is simply an adjustment.

I also said a while ago that military justice is just as valid as civil justice, but it must be recalled that it operates in a very different context.

There are some exceptions in the bill. For example, someone could be sentenced in a sensitive theatre of operations. The example is often given of the special forces, whose numbers are not known and who operate in a theatre in an unknown location. If someone is convicted of a sexual offence in a court martial, obviously the event cannot be given a lot of coverage. The chief of staff can even say that, although there are time limits in the act for registering, he will have to exceed these limits because he is in a specific theatre of operations and national security requires him not to reveal where he is. We must understand that this is an exception. We acknowledge this.

Furthermore in the bill before us there are provisions that ensure that this is not a loophole. Not only will the person convicted of a sexual offence be sentenced, but they will also have to register their name. It was said earlier: these are tools that will help the police forces carry out their investigations. The person must register their name in any case. There are even provisions for revisiting a case every 15 days and determining whether the exemption on grounds of national security is still valid. I think that this is something important in the bill.

People must not get the idea that anyone is trying to get away with something or that someone in the military who is charged with a sexual offence, and convicted, is to be exempt from the law. We do not want people to get the idea someone can get away with something, or avoid their obligations. That is not the purpose of the law, or of this provision. It is not to allow someone to evade the law. In circumstances in which military operations are underway, it is important that there be allowance for taking the theatre of operations into account, and for sentencing the guilty person when it is over. The person will have to serve a sentence, and may even be expelled from the army, but in any event will have to register. The law did not provide for that, and now it does.

We are pleased to support this bill. We believe that this is simply a matter of consistency with Bill C-16. There will no longer be any exceptions in society. Even though we have a military justice system parallel to the civilian justice system, there must still be some logic in how they apply, and previously there was not.

In fact I believe that the Senate realized this. I should say, rather, that the other house realized there was a problem. That is why it decided to send the bill to the House of Commons.

I think they have done a good job. I do not believe that we need an exhaustive study of this matter. We may have made mistakes at certain times, for example on the question of the Veterans Charter. At the time, we thought that an election was coming and that the bill had to be passed at top speed, skipping some stages. We may have made mistakes, because not only was the bill longer, but it also had more impact on veterans as a group.

This bill, however, is not particularly long, and it really does not have many consequences, apart, as I said, from updating the law to be consistent with what was done in Bill C-16.

I do not think that there will be any national outcry if we say today that we go along with Bill C-16, that we will fast-track it through the stages, as we have decided to do and as the House leaders have also decided to do.

In conclusion, I would like to reassure the public. The military justice system will now be as effective and as stringent, in dealing with sexual offenders, as the civilian justice system is. Those people will not be able to avoid their obligations. They will have to be registered in the database like everyone else.

I therefore believe that there will be unanimous agreement in this House, at least from the Bloc Québécois. I have heard my colleagues say that they support the bill. The Bloc Québécois also supports Bill S-3.