Rookie MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay will be involved in trying to pass a new sweeping crime bill introduced by her Conservative government in Ottawa this week.
Elected in Delta-Richmond East in May, Findlay was appointed parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice shortly after the federal election. That means she'll "be in the thick of it" with the new crime bill.
She's also vice-chair of a justice committee that will go over the comprehensive legislation once it gets second reading in the House of Commons.
"We'll go through the whole thing clause-by-clause and hear witnesses and discuss it. So it's a lot to do and take in, but I certainly feel I'm participating on behalf of my Delta-Richmond East constituents and making a difference," she told the Optimist.
The omnibus crime bill, dubbed the Safe Streets and Communities Act, was tabled Tuesday. It seeks, among other things, to crack down on young offenders, drug dealers and sexual predators.
The bill comprises nine individual justice bills that died during the previous parliamentary session. Findlay said that's because the Conservative government only had a minority and couldn't push them through, but that shouldn't be a problem now that her government has the majority.
"All these measures have been introduced previously. The drug traffic one, I think, is in its fourth incarnation. In a minority parliament they were stopped at various stages by the opposition. Some have gotten as far as the Senate and others only in committee," she said.
"From the government's point of view, we campaigned on this and wanted to make it harder for serious and repeat offenders, so it's keeping that promise."
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced the new legislation would include measures to protect children from sexual offenders by setting mandatory minimum penalties. It also targets organized drug crime, cracks down on young offenders and would take away the option of house arrest for those who have been convicted of serious violent and property crimes and crimes such as sexual assault, human trafficking, child-luring and kidnapping.
Findlay, a lawyer who's been involved with the Canadian Bar Association, said she likes the fact the legislation is particularly aimed at protecting children and the vulnerable. She pointed out it was part of the Conservative campaign promise to introduce a series of tougher laws within the first 100 sitting days of Parliament.
The opposition was quick to criticize the new legislation, including NDP justice critic Joe Comartin, who said it focuses on incarceration rather than crime prevention.
Findlay, meanwhile, said she's be settling in nicely in her new role as MP, including meeting constituents at her new office in Ladner as well as members of Delta council.
She's also looking at buying a house in South Delta, but needs to sell her Vancouver home. She'll be doing a lot of travelling back and forth between the riding and Ottawa for the next few months.
Findlay's new constituency office is located at 202-5000 Bridge St. Her website is www.kerrylynnefindlaymp.ca.