A Provincial Example, A Federal Necessity

The 2021 tragedy in Hinton, where we lost 16-month-old Noah McConnell and his mother, Mchale Busch, has left a deep scar on our community. This horrific event not only brought grief but also a pressing call for tangible measures to prevent such occurrences in the future. It was in this context that I came across an OP-ED by the MLA for Camrose, Jackie Lovely, detailing Alberta’s legislative response to cases like Noah and Mchale’s.

In response to the loss suffered in Hinton and similar cases, Alberta’s government has introduced significant legislative changes, aimed at tightening the reins on violent and sexual offenders. The new measures include a provincial ankle bracelet monitoring program, targeting repeat violent and sexual offenders, as well as individuals on bail who pose a clear risk to public safety. These steps are a decisive move towards enhancing the security and wellbeing of our communities.

While Alberta has taken commendable steps, it highlights a glaring gap at the federal level. My Private Member’s Bill, C-336, known as Noah’s Law, seeks to address this gap by intensifying the monitoring of highly-likely-to-repeat sex offenders. Noah’s Law would extend reporting obligations to 30 years for highly-likely-to-repeat sex offenders and mandate completion of a rehabilitation program before any easing of reporting requirements can be considered. Additionally, it proposes stricter requirements for offenders to report any change of address and makes failing to report a criminal offense.

The actions taken by Alberta in response to these types of tragedies serves as both a blueprint and a call to action. It is imperative now more than ever for the federal Liberal government to follow suit. We have the responsibility and the means to ensure that the lessons learned from past tragedies translate into stronger protective measures nationwide. Let us honour the memories of those we’ve lost by ensuring a safer future for all Canadians.