moved for leave to introduce Bill C-364, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sentencing).
Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for Peterborough—Kawartha for seconding this bill.
I want to thank all my colleagues who are a part of the rural crime caucus that we have in the Conservative Party. During the first term of the current government, we struck the rural crime task force. We consulted with Albertans and Canadians from coast to coast. We put together a report called “Toward a Safer Alberta”. That report had numerous recommendations in it, including legislative changes that could be made. Even though we have been through the pandemic, the rural crime statistics still apply today. The police have done what they can. They have reorganized themselves.
Governments that are not in charge of the Criminal Code have done everything they can to take this seriously, and there seems to be a new-found interest across the way in the plight of rural Canadians. We can just imagine someone setting up a chop shop or a meth lab in a rural area, far away from the various police stations and communities, which is done purposefully to avoid detection. They cause absolute hell for people in rural communities, because the crime from organized crime elements is absorbed by just a small number of residents. That is why this bill is so important.
I encourage my colleagues across the way to give consideration to it. It would change the Criminal Code at the time of sentencing and make it an aggravating factor if somebody is purposefully targeting somebody in a rural area, where proximity to emergency services and police services is a very difficult thing.
It does a number of other things, including strengthening provisions for sentencing, when it comes to using or carrying a weapon to a crime scene. It also changes the term “dwelling” to “place”, because lots of break and enters happen to barns and Quonset huts. Lots of other valuables are kept in storage in rural areas.
I really encourage all my colleagues in the House to take a look at the bill. Let us get this bill adopted post-haste.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)