Harper Government Supports Private Member's Bill Addressing Vandalism to War Memorials

OTTAWA, Oct. 31, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, reiterated today that the Harper Government will support Private Member's Bill C-217: An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (mischief relating to war memorials).

"As we near Veterans' Week, a time when Canadians pause to honour and remember Canada's Veterans and their contributions around the world, it is timely that we also take swift and serious action regarding the far too frequent occurrences of vandalism to war monuments," said Minister Blaney. "Our Government is proud to support this important bill which will see necessary changes to the Criminal Code demonstrating that Canadians will not tolerate such senseless acts of disrespect."

This bill would make it an offence under the Criminal Code to commit mischief to any property, building or structure, including a war memorial or cenotaph, that primarily serve as a monument in honour of persons who were killed or died as a consequence of war. The bill further proposes mandatory minimum penalties that would be the same whether the Crown proceeds by indictment or by way of summary conviction: a $1,000 fine for the first offence, 14-days imprisonment for a second offence, and 30-days imprisonment for a third and subsequent offence.

Bill C-217 was first introduced in the House of Commons by David Tilson, Member of Parliament for Dufferin-Caledon, on June 15, 2011.

"It is of the utmost importance that C-217 be enacted. It protects the dignity of the war memorials and cenotaphs in our communities where we honour our war dead and pay tribute to the service of our men and women in uniform," said MP Tilson. "Bill C-217 will help remind Canadians that soldiers' sacrifices will never be forgotten or go unappreciated."

C-217 will be voted on at third reading tonight and if passed, it will move to the Senate for review. An online version of Bill C-217 is available at www.parl.gc.ca.

SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada




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