moved for leave to introduce Bill C-424, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sexual exploitation).
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak at first reading of my private member's bill, an act to amend the Criminal Code, regarding sexual exploitation. I thank the member for Oxford for seconding this motion.
I am also pleased to be the first member to move a private member's bill in this new West Block House of Commons. This bill addresses the very real concerns of the people of Perth—Wellington, particularly those in Stratford. Our community was angered when we learned last year that an individual who was employed to work with children and people living with disabilities was found to have sexually exploited a person with a disability in our community. This individual pleaded guilty to obtaining sexual services for consideration but was sentenced to a mere monetary fine and probation. This lenient sentence sparked outrage in my community.
The bill would prevent such situations from occurring again by adding a provision to the Criminal Code to make it an aggravating circumstance in sentencing when the victim of the crime is a person with a mental or physical disability. Further, it would ensure that the sentencing guidelines for those who sexually exploit children or people living with disabilities are consistent and appropriate for these terrible crimes.
In short, the bill would provide stricter sentences for those who take advantage of the most vulnerable in our society: young people and persons living with a disability.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)