Typically, I use my column to talk about all the good things happening in our constituency and province, but today is different.
As an elected official, I am choosing to use my platform to discuss an issue that has me and so many others both sad and angry: the Supreme Court’s outrageous decision to strike down a law that requires repeat sex offenders to be automatically added to the national sex offender registry for life.
In their ruling, the Supreme Court decided that the mandatory registration of sex offenders with more than one conviction goes too far and will no longer be required.
This decision is disheartening, an insult to victims and their families, and an affront to all decent-minded Canadians.
Let’s be perfectly clear: the Supreme Court’s woke decision will make our country less safe, full stop. It will also adversely affect women, who are overwhelmingly the victims of sex crimes.
This issue hits close to home for me personally and for our constituency at large, as many of us are still thinking about the tragic deaths of Mchale Busch and her 16-month-old son, Noah McConnell.
As you may know, Mchale was from Camrose and was well known at our skating rink. She and Noah eventually lived together in Bashaw, and in September 2021, Mchale, her partner Cody, and Noah moved to Hinton. Later that month, Mchale and Noah were killed in their apartment by a neighbour who we now know was a repeat sex offender. The man was under very little monitoring, even though police believed he was likely to “commit another sexual offence against a female, including children.”
Mchale and Noah’s deaths weren’t only tragic, they were preventable.
Since this unthinkable event occurred, I have stood and wept with Mchale and Noah’s family, including Cody, at the Legislature, and called on federal leaders to pass Noah’s Law – which would require mandatory minimum sentences for repeat sex offenders with a high risk to re-offend, and would require repeat sex offenders to update their personal information monthly, so that police agencies can keep better track of their whereabouts and activities.
Violent, repeat criminals need more oversight – not less. This Supreme Court decision takes us backwards. It puts women and children at risk. And it makes all our communities less safe.
I call on the House of Commons to reconvene immediately and invoke the notwithstanding clause to restore automatic registration to the sex offender registry.
I also call for Noah’s Law – which was introduced last year as a private members’ bill by the Conservative Member of Parliament for Yellowhead, Gerald Soroka – to be made the law of the land, so we can protect innocent Canadians like Mchale and Noah.
I also support our provincial government’s exploration of a provincial sex offender registry and look forward to discussing this idea further with Justice Minister Tyler Shandro.
I encourage you all to learn more about Noah’s Law, and share your thoughts and prayers with Mchale, Noah, and Cody.
Jackie Lovely is the MLA for the Camrose constituency and is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Associate Minister of Status of Women.