Kootenay Columbia MP David Wilks’ Private Members Bill C-299 is one step closer to becoming law.
It passed its third reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Oct. 17. The bill now proceeds to the Senate for review.
“This bill goes beyond amending the Criminal Code to impose a mandatory minimum sentence,” said Wilks. “It goes to the heart of every parent who has young children. It recognizes that the most vulnerable, a child, must be protected at all cost.”
The bill, which was proposed by Wilks in the fall of 2011 shortly after three-year-old Kienan Hebert was kidnapped and safely returned in Sparwood, would impose a minimum jail sentence for a stranger who kidnaps a child under the age of 16.
“Surely if we as politicians saw fit to give mandatory minimum sentencing to a person who kidnaps another person with a firearm, or is connected to a criminal organization, we ought to see that kidnapping a defenseless child is in my opinion far graver than the aforementioned,” said Wilks.
The bill passed by a vote of 151 to 117, and Wilks believes it will send a message to the people who commit these crimes that it will not be tolerated in Canada.
He originally submitted the bill after an overwhelming response from his constituents, who wrote and emailed him asking him to introduce the legislation.
“This is not about taking away the power of a judge’s decision, nor about interjecting into a legal system that some believe provides adequate sentencing. This is about sending a clear message that the protection of children is front and centre when it comes to criminal behaviour,” said Wilks.
“I look forward to following the debate in the Senate and eventual passage of Bill C-299.”