Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Abbotsford News week of Dec. 06, 2004)

Even Child Pornographers Get Off Lightly

John Pifer

Pedophiles and child pornographers are viewed as the lowest and most despicable of all the miscreants and misfits in our society, and rightly so. Surely there is nothing more contemptible than the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, especially when the abuse comes from a person in a place of trust over the children, such as a parent or relative, or a religious or educational mentor.

Yes, yes, the bleeding hearts maintain that these poor, troubled abusers are simply victims themselves, and deserve care, comfort and consideration (and that's just the Cs), yada, yada, yada.

The trouble is, all the evidence of recent years shows that even those few who are caught and punished (usually lightly) by our courts, are highly likely to re-offend, and thus make victims of even more vulnerable young people. The constant public outcry for harsher sentences, and more funds to allow police authorities to root out these sickos, too often falls on deaf ears.

So it was heartening to see a proposal in the House of Commons for mandatory minimum prison sentences (24 months) to be imposed on child pornographers. Surely this would be welcomed by all political parties, and could lead to getting some appropriate punishment for the bastards who prey on the young and helpless.

Sadly, however, the private members bill from Port Moody/Coquitlam Conservative MP James Moore does not look like getting the support it needs to become law. In fact, it has been given short shrift by the likes of a Vancouver Sun editorial writer, who says Moore's mandatory=sentence proposal would not be an improvement to the Liberals child-porn bill.

Ensuring that these lowlifes are put away for at least two years is seen by the Liberal-tainted Sun scribbler as the Tories trying to score political points in the minority government. The writer claims that a mandatory sentence would hamper a judge's or a jury's ability to make the punishment fit the crime.

Whereinhell has this blinkered, holier-than-thou scribe been for the past two or three decades? The punishment has hardly fit ANY crime in Canada through that period: Repeat offenders peddling deadly illegal drugs to kids are merely slapped on the wrist and returned to the streets to do it again; and violent abusers and killers are set free after serving a few months of a supposed 10-year or even life sentence. And, if they are imprisoned, it is in a country-club minimum-security pen that has better facilities than most old-folks homes.

The Sun says it would not serve society if an offender would benefit more from a treatment program and house arrest than it would to put the guilty person in prison. So, these crafty, devious SOBs simply have to pretend that they are sorry, jump through the appropriate hoops as they act as if they have seen the light and changed their ways  and then return quickly to their compulsion to abuse more kids. They usually have no intention or desire to be rehabilitated.

A two-year guaranteed sentence would be a good starting point for the judges and juries, rather than a restriction. The Sun writer says such mandatory terms would satisfy society's (nearly universal) sense of revulsion at certain crimes. Damn right it would.

And his/her argument that a mandatory minimum sentence is not an appropriate expression of that revulsion is, quite simply, a pile of politically-correct crap.

Veteran B.C. journalist/broadcaster John Pifer may be reached at


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