Thursday, October 15, 2009

Let's Talk About "Serious", Shall We?

Bill Siksay clearly not serious about human trafficking -- or crime

Weeks after Conservative MP Joy Smith's private members' bill setting a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for child trafficking was passed by the House of Commons, at least one of the MPs who voted against it is still making excuses.

NDP MP Bill Siksay -- who, along with Libby Davies, was one of the only non-Bloc Quebecois MPs to vote against it -- insists that the government isn't being serious about child trafficking.

But Siksay is defending his actions based on the same limited ideology on criminal justice: the insistence that criminal law exists only to prevent crime and rehabilitate convicted offenders.

“I voted against it because I don’t believe this bill will do anything to prevent the crime, to stop human trafficking or to assist the victims of the crime,” Siksay insisted. “Mandatory minimum sentences have been proven to be utterly ineffective as a crime prevention tool and there’s just absolutely no evidence that they do anything to make the situation better.”

But Siksay is missing the mark. Locking human traffickers away does help protect their victims. Benjamin Perrin notes that "In order to come forward, the victim needs to know they are safe."

Or at least, needs to believe that they will be safe. Keeping their assailant behind bars would go a long way toward creating that sense of safety.

There is one valid point that Siksay does raise: the handling of victims by officials often provides a distinct disincentive for them to come forward.

“Victims are often deported from Canada if they’re discovered and often that puts them right back in the hands of the traffickers who sent them here in the first place,” Siksay explained.

This is a good point. But it's no excuse for Siksay to not support Smith's bill.

For example, Siksay could have offered his own private member's bill devoting more funding to the investigation and pursuit of human trafficking rings. He could have tabled a private member's bill that would automatically extent refugee status to people brought to Canada against their will by human traffickers.

Nothing about Joy Smith's bill would permanently close the books on the topic of human trafficking.

Even then, it's odd that individuals like Siksay simply can't grasp the notion that people who traffick in other human beings -- especially children -- belong in prison for the protection of those who would be their victims if they were allowed free.

Bill Siksay doesn't get it. He just. Doesn't. Get it. And he most certainly is not serious about the topic of human trafficking, or about crime.

If he were, he would have discarded his ideological views on crime and supported Joy Smith's bill.


  1. This is an example of an MP being out of touch with the groups that support this Bill.

  2. I wouldn't think of this as being out of touch with the groups that support this bill.

    I'd think of this as being out of touch with reality.

    It takes a particular breed of idiot to oppose a piece of legislation like this as if people who engage in human trafficking don't belong behind bars on principle alone.


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