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Minister of Justice Highlights Justice Priorities From Throne Speech

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA -- (Marketwired) -- 10/18/13 -- The Honourable Peter MacKay, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Central Nova, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today highlighted key justice priorities, as set out in the Speech from the Throne 2013, at a roundtable of Nova Scotia justice stakeholders.

"We are proud of our Government's commitment to protect law-abiding citizens and communities, and there is more work to do," said Minister MacKay. "As reinforced in the Throne Speech, we are committed to the safety of Canadians. This includes protecting our children from cyberbullying by giving law enforcement new tools to help them investigate and prosecute offenders, standing up for victims of crime by bringing in a first-ever federal Victims Bill of Rights, and ensuring communities are protected from sexual predators and violent criminals."

Cyberbullying is a growing problem for families, and one that has affected Nova Scotia deeply. The Government will introduce legislation to effectively address cyberbullying that involves criminal invasion of privacy, intimidation and personal abuse. The legislation will create a new criminal offence prohibiting the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.

In regard to the rights of victims of crime, the Government has held 18 consultations across the country, in every province and territory, to gather the views of victims of crime and the recommendations of justice stakeholders for a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights.

"As I travelled across the country this summer for consultations about victims' rights, I received invaluable and personal feedback on the importance of recognizing the rights of victims of crime," added Minister MacKay. "Our Government will continue to stand up for victims by introducing a Victims Bill of Rights to entrench the rights of victims of crime into law at the federal level."

Minister MacKay also highlighted the many other important justice initiatives that were outlined in the Speech from the Throne to help victims and punish criminals, including the following:

--  The Government will re-introduce legislation to ensure public safety is
    the primary consideration when decisions are made involving accused
    persons found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder
    (NCR) or unfit to stand trial. These reforms would not affect access to
    treatment for any NCR accused person. 
    
--  The Government will do more to protect children against sexual
    exploitation by increasing maximum and minimum sentences and ending
    sentencing discounts for multiple child sexual offences. The new
    legislation will also increase penalties for child sex offenders who
    violate conditions in probation orders or peace bonds. 
    
--  The Government will help keep streets and communities safe by ending the
    practice of automatic early release for serious repeat offenders, and is
    currently reviewing options to ensure that a life sentence actually
    means life. 
    
--  As the safety of Canadian communities is also threatened by prostitution
    and the harm that flows from prostitution, the Government will
    vigorously defend the constitutionality of Canada's prostitution laws. 
    
--  Aboriginal women are disproportionately the victims of violent crime.
    The Government is committed to renewing its efforts to address the issue
    of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. 
    
--  The Government recognizes the daily risks taken by police officers and
    their service animals, and will bring forward "Quanto's Law" to honour
    and protect them. 
    

Through this broad range of measures, the Government is standing up for victims of crime, protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities and holding violent offenders accountable for their actions.

Internet: http://www.justice.gc.ca

(Version francaise disponible)

Follow us on Twitter (@JusticeCanadaEn), join us on Facebook or visit our YouTube channel.

Contacts:
Paloma Aguilar
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice
613-992-4621

Media Relations Office
Department of Justice
613-957-4207

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