moved for leave to introduce Bill C-447, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (aggravating circumstance—evacuation order or emergency).
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise on behalf of the good people of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.
Over the past few weeks in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, we have seen the very best of Canadians, as people volunteer to help their neighbours struggling with terrible flooding. In my home province of British Columbia, I have seen the same thing when people fleeing high water or wildfires are welcomed with open arms into the homes and communities of their fellow Canadians.
However, some people use disasters as an opportunity to abuse the trust and prey on the vulnerable through theft and looting. This bill that I am introducing today would help give peace of mind to those fleeing natural disasters or emergencies by including an aggravating factor for sentencing when people commit crimes when an evacuation order is in place. When experiencing the most vulnerable time in one's life, people need to be concerned about their families' health and safety, not worried about their home being looted when they are away.
This bill would help Canadians experiencing natural disasters feel that the criminal justice system has their back. This is a common-sense change that I hope every party will support, so that we can give crucial peace of mind to Canadians in their time of need.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)