05/01/2012 01:06 EDT | Updated 07/01/2012 05:12 EDT

Gang recruiting targeted with proposed law

Encouraging or pressuring someone to join a gang could become a crime under a new bill introduced by Conservative MP Parm Gill.

The MP, who represents the Toronto suburb of Brampton-Springdale, introduced bill C-394, in February. The first round of debate is happening Tuesday evening.

Gill says gangs are getting bolder about the way they recruit, targeting children as young as eight.

"This bill is seeking to make it an offence to recruit or in any way encourage, solicit or invite a person to join a criminal organization," he said.

"Those who are successfully recruited into the gang lifestyle are lost in a world of violence, drugs and weapons. This is an environment that no Canadian should ever be persuaded, influenced or forced to be part of."

The bill is being introduced as a private member's bill, which will slow its progress through Parliament because it has fewer chances to be debated. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says the government fully supports the bill.