Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces new measures to track child sex predators who leave the country for travel abroad, in Richmond, B.C. Monday. Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the Conservatives will table a bill to create a searchable database of high-risk child predators.
Although Parliament is prorogued until Oct. 16, meaning no new business can be presented, this is Harper's second announcement about what he plans to do when the House and Senate resume sitting.
Harper said the government will introduce new legislation to set up a publicly accessible national database that has information on high-risk child sex offenders.
A news release from the Prime Minister's Office says the government wants to change current laws to require offenders on the National Sex Offender Registry to notify officials when they travel outside of Canada, and provide for better information sharing between police and border security. The measures are intended to make it easier to catch Canadians travelling abroad to sexually abuse children.
The publicly accessible registry will apply to high-risk child sex offenders who are already subject to public notification by the provinces and territories. The RCMP will run the database.
The Prime Minister's Office said if the legislation passes, the government will consult with provincial and territorial officials on putting it in place. The provinces and territories share responsibility for criminal justice and policing.
Last month, Harper vowed to bring in stronger penalties for people who commit sexual offences against children.
Read: Child sex crimes to draw stronger penalties, PM Harper vows
Those proposed measures would:
- Require those convicted of child pornography and related offences to serve their sentences consecutively.
- Increase maximum and minimum penalties for child sexual offences.
- Increase penalties for violation of conditions of supervision orders.
- Ensure that if a crime was committed while on parole or statutory release, it would be a mandatory factor to be considered in sentencing.
- Ensure that the spouse of a person charged with child pornography offences could be obliged to testify in court.
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and Tom Stamatakis, president of the Canadian Police Association, were present for the announcement, made at the Vancouver airport in Richmond, B.C.
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