Mr. Speaker, it gives me great honour to stand in the House to discuss the national registry for convicted sex offenders. It makes a valuable contribution to protecting the most vulnerable members of our society from the most dangerous offenders who would sexually abuse and exploit them. No one in the House or Canadians across our great country condone that kind of action.
I am sure all members of the House would agree that we want the best system possible to protect our communities from high risk offenders and to enhance public protection, especially for our children.
The primary goal of our national registry of convicted sex offenders is to prevent individuals from having the opportunity to perpetrate these horrendous crimes while remaining unidentified and undetected. To contribute to this most vital effort of prevention and protection, the government is committed to giving police better tools to help fight crime. We are fulfilling our commitments.
For this reason, the federal government can assure all Canadians that the Canadian Police Information Centre, or CPIC as the national registry for all convicted sex offenders, is the appropriate tool to achieve the goal of enhancing public safety through the timely and well directed sharing of relevant information.
As all hon. members in the House are aware, we in Canada are currently protected by a criminal justice system that actively encourages and participates in extensive information sharing. Furthermore, through co-operation and consultation with all partners and stakeholders, we are looking at ways to build on the framework now in place. Our ultimate goal is to find ways to maximize the contribution that our criminal justice system makes to public safety and security.
With the primary goal of achieving excellence in protecting the Canadian public, the government has attempted to implement more effective practices and to correct any inadequacies. This means the focus now is on maintaining and improving the lines of communication between and among the police, the courts and the correctional and conditional release authorities.
As many members are aware, the Department of the Solicitor General has been leading a federally integrated justice information initiative. The goal of that initiative is to create a trans-Canada highway of criminal justice information to improve the sharing of offender and crime related information among all partners in Canada's criminal justice system.
The system is called the Canadian public safety information network, and it is a top priority of the government. A crucial improvement will be in the ability to share information more widely and in a more timely manner among police, prosecutors, courts, corrections and parole officials. The backbone of the initiative is a funding contribution of $115 million to the RCMP to renew CPIC to which the solicitor general just referred.
However, because these tools are so critical for law enforcement agencies, it is necessary to embark upon important endeavours, such as the Canadian public safety information network, with foresight and planning. That is something that we as a government are doing. They need to be developed in close co-operation with partners in the system.
In addition to the well-directed efforts and initiatives previously mentioned, the federal government, in consultation with the voluntary and child care sectors and with police and provincial representatives, has chosen a range of other effective measures targeted to protect children from sex abusers.
First, we have put in place a national screening system based on CPIC that allows child caring organizations and individuals to access the criminal records of persons assuming positions of trust with children and other vulnerable groups.
Second, we have passed legislation to give police access to pardon records for screening purposes through Bill C-7, which was passed in the House last spring.
Third, we continue to work in partnership with Volunteer Canada to conduct training and public education about screening practices and to promote screening with voluntary and public sector agencies.
In addition to that, we have adopted strict measures for the most serious offenders, such as the dangerous and long term offender designations. In addition, we provide support for post-sentence programs, such as circles of support.
We also work closely with local police to support public notification schemes about sex offenders. We have put in place special protections to restrict the movement and conduct of sex offenders after their release.
Finally, we have created new offences to protect children and other vulnerable groups.
All of this underscores the commitment of the solicitor general and the Government of Canada to ensuring the protection, safety and security of our children, especially as related to these horrific cases.
These are tangible examples of how seriously the government takes public safety. However, our work is not done. We need to continue to make good on additional work. We have made a good start with CPIC as a national registry of convicted sex offenders. We have already complied with the hon. member's motion, which is why I, for example, have no hesitation in offering my support.
The point is, as the solicitor general outlined in his speech, we will continue to ensure we have the absolute best possible tools necessary and available to protect all Canadians, especially our young people. The values of Canada and of the government are to ensure safety and security for our children and to ensure we have in place the kind of system necessary to ensure that ours is a good and decent society. That is precisely what we on the government side want, that is what the solicitor general wants and, more to the point, that is what all Canadians want.
I repeat that I have no hesitation in supporting this motion. It is something that we are already doing and will continue to do in the best interests of all Canadians.