There appears to be all-party agreement in Ottawa that criminals who commit sex offences against children should never be eligible for a pardon.
Liberal, New Democrat and Bloc Quebecois MPs all made the same point during two hours of debate at a committee hearing on Parliament Hill looking into legislation that would toughen Canada’s pardons system.
The governing Conservatives called the morning committee hearing in an effort to force a vote on sweeping changes to the way criminal records are handled.
Opposition MPs are balking at some provisions in the legislation, and the government tabled more than a dozen changes to the bill late Monday.
None of the government amendments deal with the most controversial aspect — a new rule that would make anyone convicted of more than three offences ineligible for life from applying for a record suspension.
Conservative committee member Brent Rathgeber said that even Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has acknowledged there may be a problem with the general three-strike rule, but it was not part of the government amendments tabled this week.
In the words of Bloc MP Maria Mourani: “What do we want to target? Pedophiles. So let’s target pedophiles.”