Mrs. Joy Smith (Kildonan—St. Paul, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, my constituents are increasingly concerned that while the overall crime rate is in decline, instances of sexual violations against children appear to be on the rise. These are some of the most horrific crimes that can be committed. The fact is, one victim is one too many.
Could the Minister of Justice please inform the House about the government's latest efforts to combat the sexual exploitation of children?
Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Kildonan—St. Paul not only for the question but for her leadership and hard work on behalf of women and girls.
She is correct when she states that in fact these terrible crimes are on the rise. Almost 4,000 children were reported sexually assaulted in 2012, up 6% over the previous two years. That is why we have tabled comprehensive legislation to crack down on child predators. This includes mandatory incarceration and consecutive sentencing for those convicted of multiple offences against children.
I encourage all members of the House to pass this legislation quickly. Let us unite in sending a message: “If you assault children, you go to jail”.
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