Ottawa

'More rhetoric than reality'

Steve Sullivan, the former victims ombudsman, reviews the government’s crime legislation.

In the hundreds of pages of would-be law, I found only a few that deal with victims. Among those are several provisions that enhance the rights of victims in the corrections and parole system. These are important provisions, but were first introduced in 2005 by the Liberal government of Paul Martin.

The provisions to toughen sentencing for sex offenders will be welcomed by most. Few of us lose sleep over child-sex offenders spending more time in prison. But some of the reforms will toughen the sentences for low-risk offenders, with low rates of recividism. They won’t make children safer, but will cost five times more than what is being invested in Child Advocacy Centres that support abused children.