Canadian laws regarding the sexual abuse of children need to change.

opinionandcommentBy Merron Vermeer

November 27, 2016



I think we can all agree that this is a much more urgent issue than hydro bills or housing prices. Let’s put some effort into protecting our most vulnerable.

Right now, if an adult has sex with a child, the minimum sentence is 1 year in jail. For “less serious” sexual crimes against children, six months is a possibility. These sexual predators can get out early on good behaviour. Nobody who violates the sanctity of a child’s body deserves to be rewarded for good behaviour. They have demonstrated behaviour that destroys a child’s trust in adults, a child’s right to be safe, a child’s sense of belonging in a just community. There are many addictions that hurt the addict.

But the sexual exploitation of children traumatizes the innocent with wounds that never heal. No one who uses a child to satisfy a physical urge and then walk away without remorse should get any free pass for good behaviour. The behaviour is abhorrent. Unfortunately, it is easier than ever for this depravity to continue. There is a growing community of child abusers who work together to satisfy their destructive urges.


A pedophile is mentally ill. They are a danger to the public, especially vulnerable children. Jail is not the only solution.

I know bad things happen in this world, and I can usually read about it, worry about it, and then hold my own children close, while trying to move on. But this? This is too absurd to me. How is this not the MOST punishable crime in Canada? The longest jail sentence. Right alongside murder. Have you ever talked to a victim of sexual abuse? It’s a life long sentence. A struggle to rise above the despicable acts that were performed on them in their most vulnerable stage of life. Trust in humanity is broken.

Those images and feelings of violation and helplessness never leave them. There is unwarranted guilt. Embarrassment. But most painfully, abandonment of community. We, as a society, allow their predators back out, to walk the streets, enjoying a freedom that victims will never feel.

As well, since most of these crimes are perpetrated by men, women start to distrust all men. It’s not fair to the good men that are just as passionate about the safety and well-being of children as any woman. My dad. My husband. My son. But sadly, when the media reports the details of yet another pedophile, it weakens the trust we have in men. Human decency demands that men and women work together to strengthen the laws that protect our most vulnerable.

Currently, the Canadian courts can offer a lighter sentence to pedophiles who agree to medication or chemical castration that will help to manage their sexual impulses. But they cannot force them to continue treatments indefinitely once the sentence has been completed. Physical castration is considered the most severe and controversial response to sex crimes. But, you know what? It would be a pretty effective deterrent!

I am a mother and a kindergarten teacher. I am particularly invested in, and connected to our most innocent community members. I will take every one of these stories of twisted, self-indulgent pedophiles to my grave. I will n.e.v.e.r understand how a human being could take pleasure in the sexual violation of babies. It is brutal and cruel and there is NO excuse.

With the increase in demand for child pornography, child prostitution, and other forms of child exploitation, I hope there will be appropriate consequences that send the message to pedophiles that they are NOT okay. Their actions will be punished. They will be judged harshly. No second or third or fourth chances. I get it that they are sick. Most times they ADMIT this in court. They’re mentally ill. But in these cases, they must be held criminally responsible. If that means castration, so be it. I need to know that the children on my watch can play in the park without fear. That, as a community, we will judge sexual predators harshly and demand the kind of punishment that will deter them.

Speak out against this insidious behaviour before it threatens even one more innocent life. Children trust us to keep them safe. I want the legal system to reflect this by getting tougher on sexual crimes against children.

Merron Vermeer is a mother and a kindergarten teacher with the Halton Board of Education. She shares her personal views.

cosaEditor’s note: Every pedophile was at some point in their early lives abused. It becomes a self-perpetuating circle. There is a way to break that process: Circles of Support and Accountability – a process that allows the community to take responsibility for the damage that was done. No one was born a pedophile – the society they were raised in got them to the point where they damage others.

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1 comment to Canadian laws regarding the sexual abuse of children need to change.

  • Gary Scott

    Thank you for writing this,,I am also completely disgusted in the prison terms for these crimes and agree they should be along side murder or worse…