Advise and Dissent
Folks, your humble party host is looking for some help and guidance. I'm in the midst of drafting what will be a fairly short (by my standards) little paper to the Minister of Justice regarding strengthening laws involving sexual assault, violent pornography, and prostitution. Happy subjects, I know, and issues which are always controversial because someone will inevitably say that the Government of Canada has no business legislating morality.
A cursory examination of the Criminal Code reveals that the punishment on the books for some of the most awful crimes people commit against each other are depressingly weak and ineffectual. A lot of offences involving child pornography--the mere existence of which is deemed by the Supreme Court of Canada to be a danger to all children, not just the ones directly involved--and child exploitation (molestation, coercion, etc.) have penalties as low as a summary conviction (max. 6 months in jail and/or a $2000 fine). A rapist can be out of jail in as little as 18 months after conviction. A pimp that exploits children for sex has a minimum penalty of only 2 years--two years for destroying a child's life.
What I'm asking from you all is advice as to what you think should be recommended to the Government of Canada to strengthen the punishments against those who prey largely on those considered to be society's most vulnerable. Should we be going after longer prison terms? Mandatory minimums? How can we protect people from others who will use, abuse, exploit, and degrade them?
I'm of the mind to go with the mandatory minimums because they do establish a clear baseline deterrence. Hopefully a pervert or pornographer will have enough rationality to come to the conclusion that their repugnant practices are not worth spending a guaranteed X number of years in jail where they'll be severely dealt with by the "prisoner's code." It would be nice if they didn't have such dark thoughts in the first place, but given that they are already beyond that point, the best we can hope for is to deter and contain them from engaging in behaviour that puts women and children at risk.
I'm also thinking of putting together a petition that supplement my own voice and demonstrate that there is a modicum of acceptance of the idea that the government can and should do more to keep people away from engaging in deleterious behaviour that relegates other people to second-class citizenship and in some cases even denies their humanity. I've never done something like that before, and I wouldn't really know where to start. I'm sure that I could go visit the Nova Scotia Council on the Status of Women and they'd be happy to help me out, so that seems like Point A. But are there legitimate ways to get these going over the internet that are recognized by the Government? Any help that you fine folks can provide would be greatly appreciated.
This is something that I strongly believe in. We are at a point where 1 in 2 women will be subjected to some form of physical and/or emotional abuse during the course of their lives. This number is far, far too high. I find that governments take action when they are compelled by large numbers of their population to redress a wrong. The extent of violence against women and children is exceedingly wrong. This is where you and I come into the picture. We can do this, we have the power to make the violence and the exploitation stop. Let's make it happen.
I'm hoping to have my initial draft letter/paper done in the next day or so. When I do I'll find a way to upload it as a .pdf for further discussion.