Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time.
This is an issue that affects all of us. I do not know that anybody in society, as I mentioned before, supports having offenders out there who prey on young people, but sexual offenders actually do not just prey on young people; they prey on all people.
We will support this particular bill at third reading. However, we remain concerned with the type of legislation that the government keeps putting forward without providing proper resources.
As I mentioned before, I worked at Probation and Parole Services in Ontario for 13 years. I must correct the record as well. I mentioned my daughter working at the Brampton youth correctional centre, but she is actually a correctional officer at the Roy McMurtry Youth Centre. I just clarify that for the record. She has been working there for quite some time. She works mostly with level 1 offenders.
People may wonder what a level 1 or a level 2 offender is. I think we have to look at whether or not an offender is high risk when we look at the prevention and rehabilitation aspect, but it is important that we actually do look at rehabilitation and prevention. Reintegration into society is also important, because at some point in time people do get released.
Our perspective is that we are not opposed to the legislation, but when we put legislation in place, we need to make sure that it is the right legislation and that we provide the tools required to make sure it will actually be effective. We need to make sure that the statistics at the end of the day will show that it was the right thing to do.
When we are look at the crime bills that the government has been putting forward, over and over again we see that the resources are just not there. On this particular bill, it is ironic that the government has tabled legislation dealing with an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act and the Sex Offender Information Registration Act, to enact the high risk child sex offender database act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts when we have just been advised that over $10 million in funding that was allocated to the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre went unused. The parliamentary secretary basically said that they did not spend all that money because there were human resource challenges stemming from the nature of the work.
If there were these types of challenges, should the government not have acted? Should it not have said, “Let us make sure we have proper staffing.”? It is telling us there is a big demand and that a lot of casework needs to be dealt with on this issue; it is true that we have seen an increase in people being charged, but imagine all the other people out there who are not being charged because the RCMP does not have the proper resources. The government decided to pay down the deficit instead of investing in the protection of Canadians, of our young people, of our children. That is the big problem we see with the government.
Earlier in the debate, Conservatives raised questions with respect to whether sentences should be consecutive and concurrent. As I indicated, the Conservatives can put all they want into the legislation, and I think that is what we need to do as legislators, but we also have to listen to what the judges have to say. We have to make sure that the people hearing the cases have legislation that actually works, but at the end of the day we have to allow them to do what they need to do in the judicial process.
Having worked in the field for quite some time, I know that when a serious crime has been committed, especially when it involves a sex offender, the judge will order a pre-sentence or pre-disposition report that will give the whole story of what actually happened, along with the person's history. Judges make their decisions on sentencing based on that report.
I want to go back to what was said in the House. One of the Conservative members tried to say that there was no rehabilitation for sex offenders, yet the ministry's website talks about rehabilitation for sex offenders. It states:
More than most crimes, sex crimes instill feelings of fear and anger in citizens. When a past sex offender is released from custody, fear and anger can consume a community.
It goes on to say:
Media stories about sex crimes often serve to inflame emotions and rarely tell the whole story about the treatment and rehabilitation of sex offenders.
It further states:
Research shows that treatment of sex offenders does make a difference. Sex offenders who receive treatment are less likely to re-offend. Offenders who don't receive treatment are likely to re-offend at a rate of 17% compared to 10% for offenders who have received treatment. Indeed, most sexual offenders do not re-offend after a certain age.
It is important that the conversation we are having is about the need to ensure that the proper resources are in place when we put this type of legislation in place.