Watching our 2 little girls play outside in the sunshine is always amazing for us. Watching them run, laugh, and play with their friends, with no worries in the world is a wonderful thing to see. Our girls are 4 and 5 years old, and though they have been told not to talk to strangers, they still don’t fully grasp the concept that some people could hurt them. Imagine how my wife and I felt when we learned that there are 3 convicted sex offenders living in the same area as us. Three of them, within a block of our home, and living next to the area where our children play. In Canada the public is not permitted to see the sex offender registry. That has to change.
I understand that there is concern for the safety of these criminals, and that some people would take it upon themselves to render the Justice they believe is more deserved than what was handed down by the court. For example, they are still breathing. I understand that they may be in physical danger if their identities were known to all. But that should not trump the safety of our children. 52% of all convicted sex offenders are likely to repeat(Stats Canada). So that means at least one, possibly 2, of the offenders living close to our family are likely to attack, rape, and possibly murder a child, again. As far as I am concerned that puts my children at an unacceptable risk. And the Canadian Government believes that we have no right to be aware of that. We do not let our children go outside to play without one of us going with them. Ever. However other parents do, and we see children as young as 4 outside playing with only a slightly older sibling with them. Sometimes not even that. I am sure those children would not be free to do that if the parents knew what we do. And they will be told. It is wrong that we have to do that, and it is wrong that we were not made aware of this, somehow. Property values, money, or housing issues should not matter one single bit when considering where these Sex Offenders can live. The protection of Society and especially our children should be the first concern.
When my concerns were expressed to MP Guy Lauzon I got this as a reply,
NATIONAL SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY
The previous Liberal government spent a lot of time, energy and money trying to get every long gun in the country registered with a central agency. They believed it was more important to register long guns than convict sexual predators. Our government disagrees. We feel it is more important to protect Canadians from sexual predators than from farmers and duck hunters using long guns.
This week we introduced legislation to support our beliefs and convictions. Police services and victim’s groups have been clear: the National Sex Offender Registry must be strengthened to better protect our children and communities from sexual predators. Our Conservative government agrees.
Currently, a convicted sex offender is registered only when the Crown requests it, and a judge agrees. Our bill would make registration automatic on conviction. The legislation would also require all convicted sex offenders to provide a DNA sample for the National DNA Data Bank.Currently the police can only use the Registry to solve crimes after they happen. Our new legislation will allow police to use the Registry pro-actively to protect society from convicted sexual predators re-offending.
Another flaw in our current Registry is that sexual offenders outside of Canada are not registered. Even convicted child molesters from outside of the country are not included at present. Our new legislation will address this weakness.
I sincerely believe that the residents of Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry are as vulnerable as Canadians living in large cities. I am especially concerned with the sexual exploitation of our children. I believe strengthening the Sex Offender Registry is a step in the right direction.
That does not address my concerns nor does it say anything about Canadians having access to it. Sure police should be able to see it, that’s a no brainer. But I also think that every Canadian should be able to see if a convicted Sexual Predator is living next door, THAT would be a bigger step in the right direction. I hope something happens to change this situation, before another child pays the price for the lack of action by the current Government.
Update: I received a call from Mr. Lauzon a short while ago and it is apparent it was not him that sent me that email response, rather someone from his office. After speaking to him about my concerns, he promised to speak with the chief of police and try and find out as much information as he could. Kudos to Mr. Lauzon for returning my call so promptly and taking my concerns seriously.