Mr. Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to speak at report stage of Bill C-55.
The members for Prince-Albert-Churchill River and Calgary Northeast have raised interesting arguments. We will be looking primarily at Motion No. 3, which warrants particular attention, because it aims at amending section 753.1 of the Criminal Code, and more specifically subsection 2.
The section concerns applications for declarations of long term offenders, that is, people presenting risks. I do not think that, in its bill as presently worded, the government goes far enough when it sets the criteria the court is to decide on to determine the risk of an individual's reoffending.
Thus the government says that the court shall be satisfied that there is a substantial risk that the offender will reoffend, if:
-the offender has been convicted of an offence under section 151 (sexual interference), 152 (invitation to sexual touching), or 153 (sexual exploitation), subsection 173(2) (exposure) or section 271 (sexual assault), 272 (sexual assault with a weapon) or 273 (aggravated sexual assault)-
-engaged in serious conduct of a sexual nature in the commission of another offence of which the offender has been convicted.
I consider the bill falls particularly short where it says "engaged in serious conduct of a sexual nature". I think the terms should be clarified. In this regard, Motion No. 3 before us goes a lot further, because it defines in large part and limits the entire notion of the conduct of a sexual nature the court may consider serious.
Thus Motion No. 3 would oblige the court to consider the behaviour of a sexual offender serious when the person has been convicted of an offence under
-section 151 (sexual interference), 152 (invitation to sexual touching) or 153 (sexual exploitation), subsection 173(2) (exposure) or section 271 (sexual assault), 272 (sexual assault with a weapon) or 273 (aggravated sexual assault).
or has been found guilty of
(a.1)-an offence under subsection 160(3) (bestiality in presence of or by child), section 170 (parent or guardian procuring sexual activity), 171 (householder permitting sexual activity by child), or 172 (corrupting children), subsection 212(2) (living of the avails of prostitution by a child) or 212(4) (obtaining sexual services of a child).
(a.2) an offence involving a person under the age of eighteen years under section 155 (incest) or 159 (anal intercourse) or subsections 160(1) and (2) bestiality and compelling bestiality).
(a.3) an offence involving a person under the age of eighteen years under section 144 (rape), 145 (attempt to commit rape), 149 (indecent assault on female) or 156 (indecent assault on male)-
At the end is added, and that the person: "has engaged in serious conduct of a sexual nature in the commission of another offence of which the offender has been convicted".
So, as we can see, the list proposed in Motion No. 3 is much more comprehensive than what constitutes a serious offence of a sexual nature, since the list is not limited to the three or four offences identified in Bill C-55 at the moment.
Committing bestiality or compelling children to do so seems to me to be extremely serious conduct of which the court must take account, and the present wording could allow an argument to the effect that it was not so serious, since it is not so described in the bill's proposed wording of section 753.1.
The official opposition and I feel that Motion No. 3 greatly improves the guidelines that will be used by the courts to determine whether a person is an offender requiring supervision. In this sense, we must strive for precision in our criminal law, in our Criminal Code, in order to ensure uniform application of the law throughout Canada.
We do not have the time to wait for the Supreme Court to rule, in five, six, seven, eight or ten years' time, that such delinquent sexual conduct is highly unacceptable conduct that should normally be taken into account by a lower court.
We can determine right here in the House of Commons, the ideal forum in which to do so, what we consider to be serious delinquent conduct of a sexual nature that must be taken into account by the court. We can do this here, without leaving it up to the courts to decide, as the present wording of section 753.1 would have us do. The definitions of delinquent sexual conduct, as proposed by the hon. member for Calgary Northeast, are therefore a step in the right direction for counsel and also for the courts called upon to enforce these provisions following royal assent and passage of this bill. The official opposition will therefore be voting in favour of MotionNo. 3.