Palliser MP Ray Boughen is “forging ahead” with a proposal to introduce a DNA missing persons database and a human remains database to the House of Commons.
“As you know, this bill has come before the House on two different occasions, and we’re trying to press to make sure that this time it gets to the floor and gets to committee and becomes a part of our laws,” Boughen told the Times-Herald.
“We’ve talked with the Minister of (Public) Safety, Mr. (Vic) Toews, and we’re going to meet with him in early February.”
The proposal stems from a petition brought to the House by Boughen in February on behalf of a constituent, Melanie Alix, whose son Dylan Koshman went missing in 2008.
“Right now, the bill is kind of just hanging out there,” said Boughen. “We’re continuing to work with the police chiefs and also working with the RCMP. We’re looking at trying to put together a package that is reasonably priced and uses volunteer involvement so nobody is forced to have their DNA taken.”
Boughen noted that voluntary involvement was a vital aspect of what he called “our take on it.”
“We don’t think it’s doable with mandatory DNA,” he said. “I think people would just say, ‘No, we’re not going to do that,’ and oppose the proposal.”
Boughen said that reception for the proposal within the Saskatchewan Conservative caucus and other caucuses has been warm.
“We have received encouragement from our caucus and from some of the individual members we’ve talked to in other caucuses, like the Ontario and Manitoba caucuses,” he said. “We haven’t had any negative response to it, so we’re still looking forward to putting the bill on the floor.”
But there has been opposition from the other side of the House, Boughen said.
“There’s been some folks saying, ‘It’s too complicated, you can’t make it work, you can’t charge, and if you can’t charge, it isn’t doable,’” he said. “We’re hearing some skepticism, but you always hear skeptics, no matter what you do. We’re not overpowered by them, so that’s the good sign.”
“We want to keep forging ahead as much as we can to put this thing in the proper perspective and satisfy our constituents,” said Boughen.