STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE REGARDING THE PARSONS CASE

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NIAGARA FALLS, April 11, 2013 The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, made the following statement after speaking with the Honourable Ross Landry, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Nova Scotia:

"My heart goes out to the family of Rehtaeh Parsons as they cope with the tragic loss of their daughter. There is no greater loss anyone can face than that of their child.

"While the administration of justice is a provincial matter, I am always open to hearing from my provincial counterparts on ways in which we can improve Canada's justice system.

"We need to treat youth crime seriously, and we must never forget the victims. Our Government has taken, and will continue to take, significant action when it comes to cracking down on violent crime. Our comprehensive crime legislation, the Safe Streets and Communities Act, now requires Crown prosecutors to consider seeking adult sentences for youth who commit serious violent offences like aggravated sexual assault and murder. It also requires courts to consider lifting the publication ban for young persons who receive youth sentences for violent offences where there are public safety concerns.

"In 2008 we raised the age of consent from 14 to 16. Furthermore, our Government established new or increased existing, mandatory minimum penalties, including mandatory minimum sentences for child pornography and sexual assault of children and youth. I also recently announced our Government's intention to bring forward new legislation this year that will increase these penalties even further. Minister Landry and I also discussed the ongoing work of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on cyber-crime.

"I join with the Government of Nova Scotia in asking that Canadians not take matters into their own hands.

"Our Government will remain vigilant when it comes to protecting Canada's most vulnerable individuals our children."

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