Ban pardons for violent criminals
Killer Karla Holmolka is eligible for a pardon in July. Of course she is. This is Canada — land of the criminal coddlers.
Some 95% of pardon applications are accepted and 99% that reach the adjudication stage are granted.
Unless a criminal is serving a life sentence or is deemed a dangerous offender, pretty much any criminal can get a pardon it seems after living “crime free” for five years.
Incredibly, the Criminal Records Act does not permit the National Parole Board to distinguish between offences when reviewing pardon applications.
In other words a killer or a rapist gets the same consideration as a guy caught with a few pot plants.
Only in Canada.
The good news is that the federal Tories plan on tabling legislation soon that would at least allow the NPB to distinguish between crimes. Not sure how far that will go in solving the problem. It might be a good first step.
A more reasonable solution would be to amend the act to prevent anyone with a serious, violent conviction from ever getting a pardon.
That record should stick with you forever.
Actually Tom, a record should NOT reflect negatively on a person's character for their entire lives. It severely limits job prospects and we all know that unemployment, increases the probability of re-offending. We need to give these people a second chance and facilitate their rehabilitation and reintegration. Karla has not re-offended since her release.
Mr. Harper said the news that murderer Clifford Olson is receiving government pension benefits in jail was compounded by revelations by The Canadian Press that hockey coach Graham James received a pardon for sexual-abuse convictions.
Ms. Homolka, who was convicted in the sex-slaying of three girls, is also eligible to apply for a pardon through a system that grants 99 per cent of applicants their wishes, Mr. Harper noted.
“For many years, the vast majority of Canadians have found this deeply offensive. Now, they find it unacceptable,” the Prime Minister told a victims' rights conference.
“Yet, for now, the law remains. And the law will allow Karla Homolka to apply for a pardon this year.”
As a result, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said he has been asked to table legislation to tighten the pardon system by this fall at the latest.
Mr. Toews says he prefers legislation to regulatory changes to the pardon system, because he's not convinced rule changes would address what happened in the James case.
“I think that simply looking at it by way of making administrative changes doesn't appear to be sufficient,” Mr. Toews said.
He noted that the government made some changes in 2007, but they didn't address all the problems of the pardon system, and didn't prevent James from being pardoned.
Mr. Harper said that situation is unacceptable.
“Even though he ruined the lives of boys who just wanted to play hockey, he can travel without having to admit his criminal record.
“That, too, is offensive. But that, my friends, is how the laws have been written over the past few decades. Written when soft-on-crime attitudes were fashionable and concern for criminals took priority over compassion for victims.”
Public opinion in Canada has swung from thinking the pardon system is merely “offensive” to finding it intolerable, Mr. Harper said.
“The problems run deep, but we will keep pushing forward,” the Prime Minister said.