CALGARY - A high-profile abuse victim of former hockey coach Graham James says he wishes Canada would follow the U.S. in handing out harsh sentences to sexual predators, but doesn't think there is the political will.

Theo Fleury was reacting Tuesday to the sentence handed down to former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. The 68-year-old Sandusky was given at least 30 years in jail after being found guilty in June of 45 counts of child sexual abuse involving 10 boys over a 15-year period.

"The good part is he's going away for the rest of his life, but I wish they would have given him the full 400 years because that would have sent a real strong message to the world that we're not going to look at this lightly any more," said Fleury, who was molested by James during his junior hockey career.

Fleury said it is time for the Canadian government to step up and take a hard line in dealing with sexual predators.

"I would say basically what we're all thinking is we need to sit down and take this seriously. We look to the government for leadership but there's no leadership around us whatsoever. We'd rather bury our heads in the sand like we have for thousands of years."

In the late 1990s, James served about 18 months of a 3 1/2 year-sentence for molesting former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy and two other players.

He got out of jail in 2000 and dropped out of public view until Fleury came forward recently with allegations against the former coach.

James was sentenced to a further two years in prison last March for sexually assaulting Fleury and Fleury's cousin, Todd Holt, when they played for him in the Western Hockey League in the 1980s and '90s.

Under that sentence, James can apply for parole and be released by the end of the year. That prompted widespread outrage from both James's victims and the public.

Fleury said he has raised the issue of stronger sentences for pedophiles with federal politicians, but received little satisfaction from their responses. He wants to make it an issue in the next federal election campaign.

"One of the things on my agenda is to make the next election all about which party is willing to take leadership around the laws in our country. We need stiffer sentences. We need to build bigger prisons," he said.

Kennedy agrees the sentences should better reflect the "invisible" damage done by child abuse, but he thinks Canada is on that right track.

"I think that we had our Penn State, if you may, (with) the Graham James case 14 years ago. When I look at this I think we are on the right track in Canada," said Kennedy, who received a Diamond Jubilee medal from Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Calgary on Tuesday.

"I think that putting someone away for life is not the only answer, although it's a feel-good. For us, our best defence is prevention to educate the masses and empower the bystanders."

Kennedy has become an outspoken champion for the rights of sexual abuse victims since coming forward about James did to him.

"I think if we look at the Graham James case and we look at the Penn State case and many others, there was a lot of people who had a gut feeling something was wrong and didn't have the confidence to do anything about it," he said.

James used his position as coach to abuse his victims, who all had dreams of making it big in the hockey world.

During sentencing arguments on the most recent charges, court heard that James would single out his young victims and keep them close to him. He often separated them from their families by convincing their parents the teens needed tutoring and had to spend nights at his apartment. The assaults began as fondling or groping, but escalated as the boys became exhausted from fighting off his advances.

Eight of the boys Sandusky was found guilty of molesting testified at his trial, describing a range of abuse that included fondling, oral sex and anal intercourse. One of the prosecution's star witnesses, former graduate assistant Mike McQueary, testified that he saw Sandusky raping a boy in a locker-room shower.

Witnesses said Sandusky used the charitable organization he founded for troubled children as his personal hunting ground to find and groom boys to become his victims.

Sandusky has consistently maintained his innocence and plans to appeal.

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  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, leaves the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison, effectively a life sentence, in the child sexual abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno's downfall. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, is escorted by police as he leaves the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky Sentencing

    A crush of media and onlookers outside of Center County courthouse for Jerry Sandusky's sentencing.

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, leaves the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison, effectively a life sentence, in the child sexual abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno's downfall. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives for sentencing at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, arrives for sentencing at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys in a scandal that rocked the university and brought down Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives for sentencing at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys in a scandal that rocked the university and brought down Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse for a sentencing hearing Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, in Bellefonte, Pa. Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys in a scandal that rocked the university and brought down Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is escorted by Centre County Sheriff Denny Nau as he is taken into custody at the Centre County Courthouse after being found guilty of multiple charges of child sexual abuse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012. Sandusky was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years on Friday, accusations that had sent shock waves through the college campus known as Happy Valley and led to the firing of Penn State's beloved Hall of Fame coach, Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, rear, leaves the Centre County Courthouse with a Centre County Sheriff's deputy after being found guilty of multiple charges of child sexual abuse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012. Sandusky was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years, accusations that had sent shock waves through the college campus known as Happy Valley and led to the firing of Penn State's beloved Hall of Fame coach, Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Outside Courthouse

    The scene outside the courthouse after the verdict was announced.

  • Jerry Sandusky, Dottie Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, rear, and his wife Dottie leave the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012.

  • Dorothy Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's wife Dorothy Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Thursday, June 21, 2012.

  • Gary Schultz

    Former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley, right, arrives for a hearing at Dauphin County Court, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, in Harrisburg, Pa.

  • Jerry Sandusky, Karl Rominger

    In this courtroom sketch, Karl Rominger, left, attorney for Jerry Sandusky, right, listen as the testimony of Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary is reenacted at the request of the jury during the second day of jury deliberations in Sandusky's child sexual abuse trial at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012.

  • FILE - This Dec. 7, 2011 file booking photo released by the Centre County Correctional Facility in Bellefonte, Penn. shows former Penn State football defensive coordinator Gerald "Jerry" Sandusky.

  • Dottie Sandusky

    In this Dec. 13, 2011 file photo, Dottie Sandusky, wife of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

  • The Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., is shown Monday, Dec. 12, 2011.

  • Mike McQueary

    In this file photo from Jan. 25, 2012, former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary arrives to the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on the Penn State campus for the funeral service of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in State College, Pa.

  • Jerry Sandusky

    In this Feb. 10, 2012 file photo, Jerry Sandusky speaks to the media at the Centre County Courthouse after a bail conditions hearing, in Bellefonte, Pa. Former FBI chief Louis Freeh and his investigators have conducted 200 interviews in their expansive probe into the child sex scandal at Penn State.

  • This March 26, 2012 file photo shows the sign outside the State College, Pa. office of The Second Mile. The charity for troubled youths started by Jerry Sandusky more than three decades ago -- and through which the retired Penn State assistant football coach met the boys he was sexually abusing.

  • Gary Schultz, Tim Curley

    FILE - In these Nov. 7, 2011 file photos, former Penn State vice president Gary Schultz, left, and former athletic director Tim Curley, right, enter a district judge's office for an arraignment in Harrisburg, Pa., for their actions related to the sex abuse scandal surrounding former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Despite Sandusky

  • Karl Rominger

    FILE - In this file photo from Dec. 13, 2011, Karl Rominger, an attorney for former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky who is accused of molesting boys over a 15-year period, stands outside the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa. Rominger entered his formal appearance on Sandusky's behalf in April 2012, but had previously been assisting with the defense. Despite Sandusky

  • Sue Paterno

    FILE - In this file photo from Jan. 26, 2012, Sue Paterno, wife of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, enters a memorial service at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center in State College, Pa. A capacity crowd of more than 12,000 packed the arena for one more tribute to Paterno, the Hall of Fame football coach who died from lung cancer.

  • Jerry Sandusky

    FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2012 file photo, Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach charged with sexually abusing boys, speaks to the media at the Centre County Courthouse after a bail conditions hearing in Bellefonte, Pa. Alleged victims of Sandusky will not be allowed to avoid disclosure of their names by testifying under pseudonyms, and tweets or other electronic communications by reporters will not be permitted during the trial, the judge ruled Monday, June 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

  • Television satellite trucks set up outside the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Monday, June 4, 2012, in preparation for the start of the child sexual abuse trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Joe Paterno

    FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2006 file photo, then Penn State coach Joe Paterno watches the college football game against Youngstown State in State College, Pa. Paterno, the Penn State football coach since 1966, was told by an assistant coach that he saw former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and a young boy in a shower on the Penn State campus and Paterno in turn, told Penn State officials. The Penn State Board of Trustees ousted him on Nov. 6, 201 for what was called his

  • Tom Corbett

    FILE - In this March 8, 2011 file photo, Gov. Tom Corbett addresses a joint session of the Pennsylvania House and Senate in Harrisburg, Pa. Corbett was the attorney general when the investigation into former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was launched by state prosecutors. Sandusky is accused of molesting boys over a 15-year period. Corbett also serves as a member of the Penn State Board of Trustees, although he did not actively participate until after Sandusky was charged in December. Despite Sandusky

  • Joe Amendola

    FILE - In this file photo from Dec. 13, 2011, Joe Amendola, attorney for former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky who is accused of molesting boys over a 15-year period, talks with media outside the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa. Amendola has been second-guessed for allowing Sandusky to go on network television and speak at length with a reporter for The New York Times after his arrest. Despite Sandusky

  • Mike McQueary

    File-This Sept. 12, 2009 file photo shows Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary walking the sideline during the second half of their college football game against Syracuse in State College, Pa. McQueary, whose report of Jerry Sandusky allegedly attacking a child in the showers led to Joe Paterno's firing said in a court filing Tuesday May 8, 2012 that he is suing the school. The "writ of summons" filed by McQueary's lawyer described it as a whistle-blower case, but the brief document was not accompanied by a full complaint that would lay out the allegations. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster,File)

  • Jerry Sandusky, Joe Amendola

    FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2011 file photo, former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center left, walks with his attorney Joe Amendola, center right, as he leaves the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa. Of all the boys Sandusky is accused of molesting, none has been the focus of more outrage than the one known as Victim 2 _ the boy allegedly abused in a locker room shower, the case that ended Joe Paterno's career and the issue that spawned criminal charges against two school officials. Prosecutors say they don't know one important fact about him: his identity. The prospect that a victim in a sex abuse case is unknown presents a challenge for prosecutors; another potential complication is that Sandusky believes he knows the alleged victim _ and says he could help exonerate him. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

  • People display shirts asking the board to resign before a meeting of the Penn State Board of Trustees at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center Friday, March 16, 2012 in Hershey, Pa. The trustees are meeting in Hershey to discuss potential changes to the board amid criticism over its handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Joe Paterno

    FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2011 file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno arrives home, in State College, Pa. Penn State's trustees say late coach Joe Paterno's failure to follow up on a sexual abuse allegation against former assistant Jerry Sandusky "constituted a failure of leadership" that ultimately led to his firing in November. A report issued Monday, March 12, 2012, by the trustees says the board ultimately decided to fire Paterno after learning the details of his testimony before a grand jury when charges were filed against Sandusky. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

  • Mike McQueary

    Former Penn State assistant football caoch Mike McQueary, left, arrives to the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on the Penn State campus for the funeral service of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in State College, Pa., Wednesday Jan. 25, 2012. As a graduate assistant to Paterno in 2002, McQueary went to the coach saying he had witnessed former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky assaulting a boy in the shower at the Penn State football building. Paterno died Sunday at the age of 85. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

  • Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky

    <em>CORRECTION: Jerry Sandusky's name was misspelled in an earlier version of this slideshow. </em>

  • Jerry Sandusky, Dottie Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, right center, arrives with his wife Dottie, left center, at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012. Sandusky is accused of sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, arrives at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012. Sandusky is accused of sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse Friday, June 22, 2012, after being found guilty in his sexual abuse trial, in Bellefonte, Pa. Sandusky was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years Friday, accusations that had sent shock waves through the college campus known as Happy Valley and led to the firing of Penn State's beloved Hall of Fame coach, Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/Centre Daily Times, Nabil K. Mark)