moved for leave to introduce Bill C-304, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (grooming).
Madam Speaker, it is a great honour to introduce an act to amend the Criminal Code. I would like to thank my colleague, the hon. member for Lakeland, for seconding this proposed legislation and for her great advocacy in protecting children and the vulnerable from predators.
This Conservative bill would make grooming an aggravating factor that the courts would take into account when handing down a sentence for individuals convicted of sexual offences toward young persons. If a court decides not to give effect to the presence of this aggravating factor in any case, it must give a reason for its decision.
For the purpose of the bill, grooming would include communication with victims or conduct in relation to them by a predator such that it makes the victims more susceptible to sexual abuse by the predator.
Grooming is an evil practice that has enabled and continues to enable the victimization of many children. Although the Supreme Court of Canada recognized grooming as an aggravating factor in R. v. Friesen, there are still cases in which the courts have not recognized grooming.
The bill would codify grooming as an aggravating factor, and it is an important step toward tougher punishments for those who choose to use this disgusting practice.
I call on all parliamentarians to work toward tougher punishments for grooming and to increase the protection of children by supporting this bill.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)