It’s been a long haul for MP Earl Dreeshen, but last Friday his private members bill passed in the House of Commons with unanimous consent.
It’s now on to the Senate for the remainder of its legislative process.
“This bill is about sentencing,” Dreeshen said in wrapping up debate on Bill C-444, an Act to Amend the Criminal Code (personating a peace officer or public officer), Friday afternoon. “It speaks to the need for tougher penalties for personating peace officers and public officers …
“We must preserve the trust and respect that citizens have for police officers. When citizens see a police uniform, they trust the authority that comes with it. We are giving the tools that they need to deliver harsher sentences to criminals who breach this trust to cause harm.”
In a news release later that day, Dreeshen said, “I am pleased to see this bill pass in the House of Commons after three years of pursuing this amendment to the Criminal Code. I have received tremendous support from my colleagues in all parties and am grateful for their contributions to this debate.”
Dreeshen first introduced the amendment during the 40th Parliament and then had to reintroduce it in the current 41st Parliament.
The purpose of the act is to establish that personating a peace officer or public officer to commit another offence shall be considered by a court to be an aggravating circumstance which would allow judges to impose longer sentences.
“I am confident that this bill will better support victims of this crime. Harsher sentencing should ensure victims that there will be severe consequences for those who harm them,” said Dreeshen.
He hopes to see the bill progress through the Senate this fall.