Government reaches pardon bill agreement - Macleans.ca
 

Government reaches pardon bill agreement

Bill blocks killer Karla Homolka from applying for pardon


 

Federal politicians have agreed to fast-track an abridged legislation that could prevent notorious offenders like Karla Homolka from applying for a pardon. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said all federal parties reached an agreement and that a small portion of Bill C-23—a bill that would tighten that pardon process and restrict access to pardons—would be passed in the House this week. Toews denied that the bill was aimed at one person, but Homolka’s name was raised as parties debated the issue. It recently came to the government’s attention that Homolka would be eligible to apply for a pardon on July 5, and unnamed sources cited in a CTV report claimed she intended to do so. Homolka was released from prison on July 5, 2005 after serving a 12-year sentence for the rape and murder of teenagers Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy. Bill C-23 was first introduced on May 11, but the government did nothing to move it forward until this week. Prime Minister Stephen Harper took a special interest in the case and demanded his government act quickly The result is a bill that would replace pardons with “record suspensions” that would be more difficult to obtain and take longer to get. The remainder of the bill will remain in committee as C-23B and will be studied in the fall.

Globe and Mail


 
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Government reaches pardon bill agreement

  1. I have three questions perhaps someone here can help me with.

    1) If I understand this correctly, in order to make a plea deal the criminal has to allocute completely and accurately to the crimes in question. Not doing so is grounds to revoke the plea. And based on that Homolka's deal could have been revoked (and in my opinion SHOULD have been revoked). I remember strong discussion at the time to that effect. Does anyone know if this is indeed the case?

    2) I l also remember discussion at the time that Karla's plea did not cover crimes against Tammi, and that in fact no-one has ever been charged or convicted for Tammi's rape and murder, nor for the sexual assaults of Jane Doe. If that is the case, theorectically it should be possible to charge her now for those crimes. Can anyone elaborate on whether or not the above is a) accurate and b) possible?

    • 3) Zachary's Law was recently passed in Parliament in respect to considering vulnerable minors in relation to granting bail for serious crimes. It concerns and alarms me that no-one is discussing the fact that Karla was allowed to have – and more importantly keep – a child. While we're talking about restricting pardons here for serious crimes, can we at least talk about (as distatesful and emotionally loaded as it may be) automatic removal of children from certain types of criminals? Honestly, how much chance does her son have of coming out of his childhood a normal happy productive human being?

      • I don't think I'd want to go that far.

        But then, I have serious trust issues around the government agencies involved in family services. There have been problems with holding them accountable for almost a century now.

        • Just out of interest, _why_ wouldn't you want to go that far? I don't believe you're saying that serial murderers or sex offenders, or violent offenders (home invasions, car jackings, kidnapping, etc…) would make good parents.

          So how would you propose to protect their children from them? Unfortunately so many Canadians seem to be saying "tough luck kid". We'll make an effort to protect the rest of society from your father/mother, but we won't even pretend to in your case.

          • If you can't see why going that far isn't a good idea there isn't much more to say. People whine about smaller government and less taxes but people want the government to sterilize people it doesn't deem fit to raise children?!
            How can you not see a problem with that?!

          • People want the government to sterilize people it doesn't deem fit to raise children. No Oliver I think you probably mis-understood again…People just would like to see Sex offenders Sterilized,, big difference there !!

          • No I fully understood.
            All I'm saying is that this is a slippery slope. And not like gay marriage, government allowed to STERILIZE people?! What is this? Brave New World?! 1984?!
            Some of you people are just insane.

          • And yet another well thought out response …courtesy of Oliver !

          • Who said anything about sterilization?

            What I said was that she shouldn't be allowed to "keep" her children, and, having grown up with a "Karla-like" mother (who was a professional who would never have been investigated btw), I stand behind that statement all the way. I should have been taken from my mother, but if we can't even TALK ABOUT OR CONSIDER taking Karla's children away – given her horrific track record – there is no hope in hell for the thousands of children automatically given to their abusive mothers in custody battles.

            As for my statement about letting her "have" children – I meant that she should still be in jail where, theorectically, that wouldn't be an option. Nothing whatsoever to do with sterilization.

            What I find fascinating is that you're horrified at the notion of sterilization, but say absolutely nothing about protecting the welfare of children under her "care". Tells me something about your interests perhaps?

            How can YOU not see a problem with that?!

          • My only concern is for the respect of others in this matter.
            You feel that your own experience gives you the authority to make statements like you just did.
            I feel that you are biased and therefore the only thing you do know is how you feel about your situation. You're the last person to be making such a decision.

            We already have bodies in our society that take away children from abusive parents and those people know what they are doing (or they say they do, I've seen plenty of cases where they don't and abuse the already incredible amount of power they have). You should try to think rather then react.

            Moralists, what a angry bunch.

          • If you've never dealt with family services before, its hard to explain. I'll tell you this much, in Alberta for example, family services is able to take a child from a parent and even a judge can't overrule them. The amount of power they already have is astounding, and I'm completely uncomfortable with giving them any more.

          • I'm constantly amazed at the Canadian public and government's reluctance to protect the interests and safety of its youngest and most vulnerable citizens. The roots of crime, after all, are usually within the family.

            If Family Services needs to be fixed – then get behind a movement to reform or replace it. But I have serious problems with an argument that says that we don't like how family services operates, so we'll just bury our heads in the sand and ignore any problems, and we won't actually even bother to talk about the WELFARE of vulnerable children.

            So I'll put this question another way: are ANY of you actually in support of letting Karla KEEP her children? What about baby-sitting for the neighbours – are you OK with that? How about letting her baby-sit YOUR children? Still OK?

            If the answer is yes, I assume you're also OK with Graham James baby-sitting your kids. After all, he didn't kill anyone.

          • I had a longer post written about how reinforcing organizations that are poorly run by providing them more responsibility is a poor decision, but it got deleted by the refresh.

            The central point is that Ms. Homolka has completed the punishment that our society has allotted to her for her crime. Punishing her further (by removing her breeding rights) assumes that she has not reformed. If this is the case, she should be given dangerous offender status and removed from society permanently.

            As far as what I would do: As a private citizen, the extent that I would have Ms. Homolka in my life is not relevant. There is a significant difference between the actions of a private citizens and those of the government.

          • So the welfare of her child be damned? No opinion?

          • Certainly there's probably reason to have somewhat regular visits by social workers to validate that the child is doing well. However, given that she has fulfilled her commitment to the state, it seems like removing her breeding rights may be excessive until there is further reason to suspect that she is currently a threat to her potential children.

            Do you believe that all people who have been convicted of a crime should have their breeding rights suspended? Or just Ms. Homolka?

            As to her threat to children – OK by you as long as it doesn't affect you personally – as a private citizen, that is?

            I didn't say that anything was okay. What I said was that I don't believe that the state suspending her breeding rights, even after she has fulfilled her commitment (ie. prison time), is appropriate. It seems to be cruel and unusual punishment unless you can prove that she is currently a threat to her potential children.

          • Re: dangerous offender status – I agree. See questions 1&2 in my original comment.

            As to her threat to children – OK by you as long as it doesn't affect you personally – as a private citizen, that is?

  2. Well at least the conservatives didnt get everything their way with this bill-some of the amendments were poorly thought out. On that note, I think its really too bad they've succeeded in passing the 10 year conviction free period, without trying to distinguish between the 'super bad' indictable offences (aka, murder, sexual assault) and the 'less serious' indictable offences.

  3. Wow, so they managed to force through a bill that will affect thousands of Canadians who *aren't* Karla Homolka who are simply trying to get their lives back on track by avoiding proper debate, discussion and committee through scare tactics.

    Don't kid yourself, this was simple politics. They waited until the last moment in order to 'dare' the Liberals or NDP to deny agreement. Then they could turn around and say "these jerks let Karla Homolka have a pardon!!!"

    Instead, they hastilty pushed through an important bill that will have negative impact on a lot of regular Canadians still recovering from a minor case of stupidity or ignorance in their youth. Saying that this bill is designed for *dangerous* criminals is a lie. It's blanket, broad-brush legislation and a massive failure of our government.

    • It came up at the last minute because the Graham James pardon only came to light two months ago. Then the media started looking around and found out Holmolka is eligible for a pardon application this summer. The Conservatives didn't pick July 5 as the date Karla could apply, that's just the date. They didn't do it sooner because pardons were nowhere on the radar screen two months ago.

  4. I agree with Thomas. Though I have no sympathy whatsoever for Ms. Homolka or any rapist for that matter, it's people convicted of minor offenses who will pay the price, and it won't make a difference to her at all.

    Think of all the Canadians denied a chance to get their lives back, just so some grandstanding politician can get votes.

  5. I also agree that this was simple (and briliant) political maneuvering by the Conservatives.
    It's also despicable and discouraging that a party would sink this low in order to get support.

  6. A question I have: has Karla the Unspeakable applied for a pardon? Is there even a chance of that happening? Isn't she off in the Antilles somewhere enjoying A Brand New Life? It looks like a case of closing the barn door before the horse leaves.

  7. Shame on all of them for making politics out of the death of children. Shame on the 220,000 Ontario teacher who allowed this to happen without saying a single word. Ask an Ontario teachers for a copy of December 2009 Professionally Speaking. Read for yourself what the teaching profession does to an upright citizen that spoke up to protect children while politicians waited five years to do the right thing. Shame on all of them for politicizing the murder of children.
    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNe
    http://canadians4accountability.org/blog/category
    http://tomorrowstrust.ca/?p=7202

  8. Shame on every political party in Canada. Karla isn't even a Canadian Citizen any more. Dah! In December 2004 a former judge turned teacher submitted a report on the operation and procedures of the Ontario College of Teachers to the Minister of Education and the Ontario Premier. The report and later Nov. CTV 2006 report exposed the process of repeat sex offenders being allowed to teach our children. Karla could have been legally allowed to teach in Ontario had she wanted too. The lone teacher who dare speak up, was hounded out of teaching, charged with a ridiculous allegation, suspended from teaching and fined a $1,000. Shame on any politician that claims they did anything to protect children.

  9. Aw darn–does this mean Paul won't be gettin a pardon either? How disappointing!
    As a citizen of this country, and a tax payer, I had rather hoped to witness the success of our criminal justice system. Alas, it's just not to be I suppose. There may even be one or two cynics among us who would consider the taxpayer funded millions spent on the education and rehabilitation of these two, as a waste of money.
    Once reuinted, I thought perhaps they could have established a couples counselling service, or perhaps a daycare center! Preventing them a "pardon" negates this–right?

  10. Rehabilitation will not work on sex offenders. Rehabilitate means to put back to normal,,so if you were never normal in the first place it won't work. The education part would work well, because these vile and disgusting individuals are usualy very smart crafty and cunning.So Don, maybe they should start a Education Center on how to become a better Rapist. This will all have to wait until Homolka reoffends ..and she will.. Skinners always do !!

    • Rehabilitation does not mean "put back to normal".
      It means rehabilitate, if you can't even understand a word like that why are you reading these articles?

      • Rehabilitate,Audio English Dictionary: Amend,bring back,fix ,furbish ''Restore". Farlex Free Dictionary : To " Restore'' to a state of good condition or operation . Key word here is ''Restore " Websters Definition of restore is :to return to it's original state…So yes Oliver I Was not correct by using the term "put back to normal, this terminology works much better…To return to it's original state…Obviously a Sex offenders original state is not normal to begin with so how can it be fixed ? Thankyou for making me aware of my error!!

    • @true north
      You said "Rehabilitation will not work on sex offenders"

      Stop rehashing the same old misinformation. When did you research recidivism rates? I know you never have because you would not have made your statements. Let me point you in the right direction. Here is just ONE source:

      Texas Department of State Health Services: "73% of sex offenders had not been charged with, or convicted of another sexual offense" (http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/csot/csot_trecidivism.shtm)

      Check out the genuine recidivism rates: http://canadiansforajustsociety.webs.com/suppleme

  11. 1. Studies have consistently shown that former sex offenders have a far lower rate of re-offending than any other crime type. Of those few former sex offenders who do recidivate, the majority are convicted of NON-sexual offenses.

    2. The current pardon system works: the vast majority of those who are pardoned never reoffend Thus, “automatic denial of pardons to sex offenders would unnecessarily curtail the liberties of the many ex-offenders who remain crime-free”. (http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/res/cor/sum/cprs200003-eng.aspx)

    3. Denying offenders the opportunity to eventually reintegrate into society may increase recidivism rates- thus making society LESS safe.

    More Info: CanadiansForAJustSociety.webs.com

  12. To put things in perspective let's examine an individual who will be affected by these bills:

    On June 10, 2010 a 17-year-old boy from western Manitoba was convicted of sexual assault for having consensual sex with a 13-year-old during a game of Truth or Dare (http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/17-year-old-guilty-of-sex-with-girl-13-96034564.html). If Bill C-23B passes this boy will never be eligible for a pardon.

    Are we really to believe that, denying this boy a pardon for the rest of his life, making it near impossible to get a good job, to travel, will actually do anything to make society safer??