That the House:
(a) acknowledge that Bill C-26, Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act, received Royal Assent on June 18, 2015;
(b) acknowledge that through two federal budget cycles, the current government has failed to fund and implement this Act, as passed two years ago;
(c) agree on the public safety importance of a publicly accessible high risk child sex offender registry database; and
(d) re-affirm that Canadian citizens have the right to know about dangerous and high risk child sex offenders living in their community and neighbourhood for the purpose of protecting their children, families, and loved ones;
accordingly, the House call upon the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to fully implement Bill C-26, Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act.
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of sharing my time with the member for St. Albert—Edmonton.
Under our Conservative government, Bill C-26, also known as the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act, received royal assent on June 18, 2015. That was just a few days before the election was called.
I rise in this House to address a recent access to information report in which it states that the Liberal government is considering not releasing the publicly accessible registry names of persons found guilty of sexual offences against children to communities where these individuals reside.
Canadians are disturbed and perplexed by this report. Parents across Canada have the right to know if convicted sex offenders are living in their neighbourhood, so that they can better protect their children. Taking away this tool from parents puts children across the nation at a greater risk.
Under our Conservative government, I am proud to say that Canadian children were fully protected. If the Liberals do not make public the names of these high risk child sex offenders, it will increase the jeopardy under which Canadian children can be exposed.
The Conservative government put that law in place to safeguard children. As I indicated, in June 2015, it received royal assent. A day later, the parliamentary session ended for the summer. The Conservative government, though, set in motion a directive to the RCMP to take the necessary steps to implement the program.
It is two years later, and we have yet to see this database made public. Parents across Canada are justified in wanting to know why the Liberals have not acted on this. If a dangerous sex offender has been released or has moved into a neighbourhood, people should have the right to know. Parents, regardless of their political affiliation, want to be informed. It is the only way to ensure we are doing everything possible to safeguard our kids.
The question really is, why has the government not implemented it? Its legislative priorities, I would suggest, are skewed. It has introduced a bill that ensures that individuals do not pretend to practice witchcraft, and it has banned duel challenges. I do not know about other members, but the last time I checked my neighbourhood, fake witchcraft and duelling in the streets were not an issue.
What would be an issue is if a convicted sex offender moved into the house next door, and that information was not made accessible to neighbourhood parents through our high risk child sex offender database.
The Liberals need to explain this to Canadians. I am at a loss. Again, I pose the question to the government, does the government plan to make this publicly accessible high risk child sex offender database public, and if not, why not?
The other day in question period, the Prime Minister cited that the government was not left with any money from the previous government to implement the registry. This is completely inconsistent with its messaging. The government has been telling Canadians for the last 20 months it has billions of dollars to spend on everything. It would have us believe it has been struck by fiscal conscience, and it cannot justify the expenditure?
It would seem the Liberals have plenty of money to spend on staff junkets to Paris, Washington, and other extravagant trips. It does not seem to have any difficulty spending billions of dollars, and running a huge deficit that will ensure the budget will not be balanced until well after 2055.
The argument that it simply cannot afford to spend money on the high risk child sex offender database does not hold water. How is it the government can defend not budgeting these monies which would better protect our children? Is there a price that can be placed on the safety of our most valuable resource? I think not.
Had the Liberals employed the database after they formed government in 2015, how many children would have been spared such a nightmare? This is the whole idea of putting this forward.
We hear stories all the time of somebody having been picked up and, for whatever reason, the police had not made it known to them. I am the first one to compliment the members of the police and support them, but we have to take this added extra precaution. That is what we are talking about, so we are not reading stories in the newspaper about some convicted sexual predator, who has moved into a neighbourhood and the parents did not know about it. That is what we are saying.
I am not saying the police do not often notify communities, but I want parents to have the ability to go right into the database themselves to make sure these individuals are being watched, and they have the opportunity to know exactly who is moving into their neighbourhood. It is a step in the right direction. The database has been around for some time, but to make it publicly accessible was something new under our Conservative government. I challenge anybody in this House to argue that children will not be better protected if they have this. I challenge them to explain how children would not be better protected if people have the opportunity to check the registry.
I am not in the business of criticizing police members. We support them. They have been a tremendous support for everything we have done, and certainly everything we did as a government. However, this is one more protection we want to put in place. With respect to the question of how this would affect those individuals, I want to see those individuals get help. There is no question they should get help, and I am completely supportive of that.
I do not accept what the Liberals have said, namely, that there was no money for this. First, the election was called a couple of days after it passed. Second, the RCMP is given funds to put these things together, which it has been doing over the last couple of years. Perhaps the Liberals have moved on from the argument that they have no money for this. However, I challenge them to answer this question. Would children, the most vulnerable in our society, not be better protected with a public child sex offender database?