Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Frank Caputo.

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Frank Caputo.

Caputo looks forward to busy year

The freshman MP tackles child pornography with first private members bill

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Frank Caputo is preparing for an exciting and busy year.

The freshman MP said he’ll be returning to Ottawa to take his seat in the House of Commons for the upcoming legislative session, which will last until June 23. However, every month when he gets to do “constituency time,” he said he plans to get out to the Cariboo and all parts of his riding.

In Ottawa, though, his first course of business is to table his first private member’s bill regarding sexual offences against children. The bill is a simple one, he explained, and simply changes the legal definition of child pornography to child sexual abuse material. Caputo said that pornography implies consenting adults who participate freely, whereas a child cannot consent to sexual abuse.

“I believe that words matter and we should be calling these offences what they are which is child sexual abuse, not child pornography.”

READ MORE: Conservatives maintain hold on Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo

He’s also drafted another bill that changes the Criminal Code regarding bail provisions for people accused of a “number of serious crimes.” Caputo said this will make it easier for courts to detain defendants accused of three indictable offences such as sexual assault, murder, theft over $5,000 and breaking and entering. This bill is still in its early stages, however, and needs to be run by his caucus.

Other items on his agenda include holding the government accountable, especially for a resolution to the softwood lumber dispute. He also wants to reduce what he characterizes as “out of control spending” so the country can come out of the pandemic “as strong as possible.”

As the Conservative shadow minister for Veteran Affairs, Caputo said he will tackle the legal backlog for veteran benefits arbitration cases. While the government did hire people to help address the backlog, Caputo said their contract expires in March.

Closer to home, Caputo said he’d like to find a way to address the housing crisis sweeping the area, especially in South Cariboo communities. The recent property assessment results, which saw the value of a few homes rise close to 49 per cent, has illustrated how pressing the issue is.

“One thing we’ve advocated for is that the federal government divest itself of 15 per cent of its real estate in the hopes there will be an increase of supply,” Caputo said. “In other words, there will be more land to buy throughout the country which inevitably affects every city.”

Caputo said increasing the supply of land for housing projects will help drive prices down whereas giving people money to buy a home simply increases the demand and price of homes. Making homeownership more affordable should be a goal of government, he said.


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