MP David Wilks Private Members Bill, C299, passed third reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday and will proceed to the Senate for review.
“This bill goes beyond amending the Criminal Code to impose a mandatory minimum sentence,” the MP for Kootenay Columbia said in a statement. “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.”
This bill would impose a mandatory minimum jail sentence for a stranger that 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 defenceless child is in my opinion far graver than the aforementioned,” he said.
The Bill passed in the House of Commons by a vote of 151 to 117.
“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 center when it comes to criminal behaviour.”
Wilks bill will, however, require a sponsor in the Senate before it goes anywhere. Very few private member’s bills become law and if Wilks can find an energetic and committed sponsor, his bill could be one of the few that received Royal Assent, which is the next stage beyond Senate review and approval.