Hudak promises GPS tracking for sex offenders

Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak says he would force convicted sex offenders to wear GPS tracking devices if his party wins the upcoming provincial election.

Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak says he would force convicted sex offenders to wear GPS tracking devices if his party wins the upcoming provincial election.

PC leader Tim Hudak said he would monitor registered sex offenders with GPS tracking bracelets. ((Pawel Dwulit/Canadian Press))

"I will lead a government that puts safety first," Hudak said at a media event Monday where he unveiled the campaign pledge.

Hudak said he would require all of the nearly 14,000 sex offenders in Ontario to wear a tracking bracelet to monitor their location 24 hours a day. Hudak said he wants to make it easier for police to keep tabs on sex offenders.

However, some critics say the $50-million-a-year price tag is too high. "An ankle bracelet will only tell you where you were roughly after the offence has occurred again," said Greg Rogers, executive director at the John Howard Society.

"I think the money should be put into making sure the offence doesn't occur in the first place," he said.

Hudak also said he would make the information contained in the sex offender registry public, and accessible online. 

Gary Ellis, a PC candidate and former head of the Toronto police sex crimes unit, rejected the suggestion a public database would lead to instances of vigilantism against sex offenders.

"Good people will not break the law," he said. "What we're looking at is protecting children."

Critics, on the other hand, say the move will simply force sex offenders underground, making it harder for police to find.

Ontario heads to the polls on Oct. 6.