Our commitment on law and order

As the government’s Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C-10) makes its way through the House of Commons, opposition members and pundits alike have been weighing in on the legislation.

Unfortunately, a great deal of misinformation is being disseminated which often stretches the bounds of common sense.

For instance, the statement that a grow-your-own pothead with just six plants would get a longer sentence than a pedophile who exposes himself to a kid in a playground is not only a flawed interpretation of C-10, it fails to acknowledge the gravity our society, through the courts, places on child exploitation.

Through C-10, the government has introduced mandatory minimums of 6 months for those who grow 6 plants of marijuana if the production is for the purposes of trafficking. The aspect of trafficking is the main concern in this regard, especially as it relates to helping law enforcement fight the flow of illegal drugs sold to youth or associated with the funding of organized crime.

In terms of child exploitation and pedophilia, C-10 creates minimum sentences which currently don’t exist and increases current minimum and maximum penalties that already exist.

Critics of the legislation will continue to characterize the government’s approach to law and order as punitive rather than preventive and lacking in compassion for marginalized people in our society. I disagree and encourage you to consider the objectives of the legislation before you accept this view.

Anyone wishing to access the full text of the Safe Streets and Communities Act can do so at www.parl.gc.ca by following the “Bills” link on the main page. There you will also find excellent summaries by the non-partisan Library of Parliament which provide information on the current law and what is being proposed under C-10.

Our laws, including those proposed in C-10, provide support for law enforcement and our courts in determining appropriate actions and punishment when those laws are broken. The latitude for the courts to apply the law fairly and compassionately remains.

Additionally, nothing in C-10 prevents a continued focus on prevention and rehabilitation and addressing the root causes of crime including mental health, homelessness, poverty or addiction.

The federal government continues to support rehabilitation and treatment programs through the National Drug Strategy which also places an emphasis on prevention and education.

Our government is keeping its commitment to Canadians to improve the overall efficiency of our judicial system while finding the appropriate balance between criminals and victims. The Safe Streets and Communities Act clearly communicates that those who commit serious crimes will be held fully accountable for their actions and that the safety and security of law-abiding Canadians and victims comes first.

There are very few of us, I suspect, who fail to see the common sense in that.

I appreciate any feedback you wish to share with me. If you have questions or comments on matters relating to C-10 or any issue before the federal government, don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected] .

Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country.

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About the Author

The Honourable Ron Cannan was first elected as Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country in January, 2006. He was subsequently elected in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. He is a member of the Conservative Caucus.

On September 13th, 2012 Ron was summoned to be a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and will provide advice to the Government as a member of the Priorities and Planning Sub-Committee on Government Administration.

Ron successfully uses his experience and knowledge as a long-time Kelowna City Councillor and regional government representative to be an effective and enthusiastic champion for his riding and his constituents.

His greatest satisfaction comes from helping local organizations and citizens obtain the support they require from Ottawa. 

He is also dedicated to doing what it takes to ensure that the growing and vibrant communities in his riding continue to thrive and prosper.

He is proud of the partnership and cooperation between federal, provincial and municipal governments which have resulted in significant infrastructure projects including upgrades to Highway 97, expansion of the Kelowna International Airport, a new horticulture strategy for fruit growers, obtaining a full service passport office for Kelowna and addressing critical economic issues such as labour skills shortages.

He works closely with the local Chambers of Commerce and once a year arranges meetings for the Chamber with Cabinet Ministers and senior policy staff in Ottawa to move forward important local issues such as crime prevention and labour skills shortages.

He is also an ardent champion for important community initiatives including homelessness, mental health, women’s resources, and support of arts and culture.

On Parliament Hill, Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade since 2006 supporting initiatives which will broaden the economic opportunities for local businesses and businesses Canada-wide.

In previous parliamentary sessions Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee for Government Operations and Estimates, Veteran’s Affairs, Human Resources and Social Development, the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee, and the Standing Committee for Fisheries and Oceans.

Ron is also involved in a variety of inter-parliamentary organizations: he is Vice Chair of the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group, and a member of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship group.

As Chair of the Conservative Wine Caucus, Ron works with his colleagues across the country to promote the wine regions of Canada.  Ron tabled Motion 218(formerly Motion 601) which supports direct to consumer purchasing of Canadian wine. His motion became Bill C-311, sponsored by MP Dan Albas, seconded by Ron, which was passed into law on June 28th, 2012.

Prior to entering politics, Ron developed a diverse business background as a small business owner and had several years experience in marketing and sales management working with corporations including Coca-Cola, Costco and Corus Entertainment.

Very active in his community, Ron has been a Director for both the Central Okanagan Regional District and the Central Okanagan Hospital Board. Ron also served on the Okanagan University College Access to Training Advisory Board, the Glenmore Elementary School Parents Advisory Council, and the Kelowna Christian School Fund Raising Committee. He was co-founder of the Okanagan Volunteer Festival. Currently Ron is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kelowna and, along with his wife Cindy, was the honorary Chair of the 2012 Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Ball.

Ron lives a family-oriented and active lifestyle with his wife Cindy. He is the proud father of three daughters and grandfather to three grandsons. His hobbies include music and sports.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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