Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks has introduced a private member’s bill that would amend the Canadian Criminal Code to add a mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment for anyone convicted of abducting someone under the age of 16 years.
Wilks introduced his private member’s bill (C-299) on Sept. 29.
In a statement in the House of Commons accompanying the introduction of the bill on Sept. 29, Wilks said the following:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce my private member’s bill to recognize the severity of kidnapping a child under the age of 16 by a stranger.
As most members know, earlier this month Kienan Hiebert was kidnapped from his residence in Sparwood. He was safely returned.
We must send a message to those who do these crimes that these crimes will not be tolerated in Canada.
Those found guilty of kidnapping can already be punished with prison sentences up to life imprisonment. This proposed amendment provides a new minimum sentence for those found guilty of kidnapping a person under the age of 16.
MP Wilks is a former RCMP officer and mayor of the District of Sparwood, home to Kienan Hebert, the three-year-old boy who grabbed national headlines after he was abducted on Sept. 7, 2011. He was returned to his home on Sept. 11 after a massive search and manhunt for suspected kidnapper Randall Hopley, 46, who is now facing kidnapping charges for the incident.
Wilks campaigned on a law and order platform, vowing to toughen up the Criminal Code even before that kidnapping incident.
Wilks has told the Times Review that he recalled Hopley from his time as an RCMP officer while working in the Elk Valley area. Hopley has an extensive criminal record.
In a media release sent out following the introduction of Bill C-299 on Sept. 29, Wilks made the following statements:
“I believe that all Canadians were overcome with fear when Kienan Hebert was kidnapped and elated upon his safe return. We must send a message to those individuals who commit these acts that it will not be tolerated and I believe this Bill does that,” Wilks said. “Constituents across my riding have written, emailed and called me asking for this legislation to be introduced. I will continue to stand up for all Canadians on law enforcement issues.”