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Harper government to support bill against gang recruiting

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, right, stands with former gang member Tanbir Uppal after announcing the renewal of the Youth Gang Prevention Fund. in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday March 15, 2011.

DARRYL DYCK/Darryl Dyck/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Harper government is throwing its support behind a Tory backbencher's bill designed to prevent people from being recruited into criminal gangs.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says the government will vote in favour of the Criminal Organization Recruitment Act.

Toronto-area Conservative MP Parm Gill says he hopes the proposed legislation will add to the government's wider strategy for getting criminal gangs off of Canada's streets.

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If passed into law, Bill C-394 would make it an offence to recruit or encourage a person to join a criminal organization.

The offence would be punishable by a maximum five-year prison term.

It would also carry a mandatory minimum sentence of six months behind bars if the person being recruited is under 18.

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