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The Globe and Mail

Conservatives propose tougher penalties for child predators

Mandatory sentences instead of house arrest for luring a child are among the penalties sex predators would face under proposed Conservative government legislation.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson laid out the details of the bill today in Toronto.

The bill, tabled in Ottawa, would establish mandatory prison sentences for seven existing Criminal Code offences, including sexual assault and aggravated assault.

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Conditional sentences such as house arrest would no longer be available.

The government also wants to increase mandatory prison sentences for some sexual offences, as well as create two new offences to prevent child exploitation.

The new offences would make it illegal for anyone to provide sexually explicit material to a child for the purpose of committing a sexual offence, also known as "grooming."

It would also make it illegal for two adults to communicate through the Internet to make an arrangement to commit a sexual offence against a child.

Mr. Nicholson says abuse of a child causes "irreparable harm" to the most vulnerable in society and he wants tougher penalties for those who commit such crimes.

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