Harper draws on spectre of Homolka - Macleans.ca

Harper draws on spectre of Homolka

PM says Canada is soft on crime


Stephen Harper dropped the name to make a point: “Karla Homolka.” In recent weeks, the PM has used Homolka’s legacy to take a stand against Canada’s “soft-on-crime attitudes.” Homolka is eligible this year to apply for a pardon for her crimes. “That, my friends, is how the laws have been written over the past few decades,” Harper explained, “when soft-on-crime attitudes were fashionable and concern for criminals took priority over compassion for victims.” The Tories are expected to turn out a piece of legislation before summer break that would toughen up the pardon process. This effort follows the revelation sex offender Graham James, who molested teenage hockey players in the 1980s and 90s, has already been granted a pardon.

The Globe and Mail

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Harper draws on spectre of Homolka

  1. Stupid man. Don't enact sweeping legislation to prevent one person from being pardoned, just withhold the pardon.

    • Agreed, but therein lies the problem. The Board that grants the pardons says that they don't have the authority to withhold a pardon if all the criteria have been met. Therefore, the criteria has to change. The Board has no power… it's just some government flunkies following bad rules.

  2. If HOMOLKA, the worst sex killer in Canadian history, will get a pardon from misguided justice officials…actually they DO HAVE A CHOICE says my legal adviser…. I predict a hellstorm of angry Canadians if this happens.
    Historical LIBERAL judgements in Canada always seemed to give the compassion to the PERPETRATOR. NO LONGER say all CANADIANS. Time out on violent crimes. JUSTICE MUST PREVAIL.
    No more bleeding heart crap.

    • I think there's something wrong with your caps key.

    • It does MY HEART good to see A PERSON typing with such PASSION. NO DOUBT you feel VERY STRONGLY about THIS particular issue.

      HOWEVER IT IS TOO bad that you HAVEN'T ACTUALLY LOOKED INTO what the Court system HANDS DOWN for penalties. AND INSTEAD ARE relying on the sensationalist MEDIA REPORTING OF THE MOST egregious cases. You might REMEMBER THAT if it's COMMON IT'S NOT NEWS.

      • GOO PoiNT!!

    • In what way was Karla Homolka the worst sex killer in Canadian history? Her boyfriend killed on his own and with her as an accomplice, but she didn't commit any murders when he wasn't around. You'd be surprised what someone can talk you into doing. She's done her time and hasn't hurt anyone since she was released a few years ago. Give people a chance.

      • You're joking right? Give people a chance? Give KARLA HOMOLKA a chance? It wasn't Bernardo who 'talked' her into doing anything. Have you ever hear that you can tell a lot from a person by the company they keep? She raped and killed her own sister. And, essentially, she has not done the time for her crimes. She bargained to get out early by going against Bernardo in court. Since, she's been set-up with a new home, car, and identity. And you think she should be pardoned now as well? Shame on you, foolish man, for support that monster.

        • Actually, if she gets a pardon she can get a job and support herself. How does keeping her unemployable and feeding from the public teach teach her anything? It makes you feel better? Why? It isn't like her crimes aren't still in the system should she get charged with anything.

          I mean – what do you think a pardon does? Expunge the record? Nope. Make someone more likely to re-offend? What makes you think that?

          Or is it just that the symbolism bothers you more than cutting her a welfare cheque for the next 30 years?

      • and you know this how?

        • As stupid as Jonas seems to be he's entirely right: Homolka got a plea for going against Bernardo. It was only latter than it came to light that she wasn't as innocent as she claimed, but the plea bargain had already gone through.

          The real stupidity here is that people think that the plea should be revoked just because it's Homolka. And again the ignorance and arrogance of "tough of crime" attitude is magnified: let's not worry about the rules, let's just do what we want. Never mind the fact that system works fine 95% of the time!

      • "Her boyfriend killed on his own and with her as an accomplice, but she didn't commit any murders when he wasn't around. You'd be surprised what someone can talk you into doing."

        Hmmm. I'd like to see your evidence for that. Seems to me that the evidence goes the other way. We know for sure that Mr. Bernardo raped women when Ms. Homolka wasn't around. Absolutely horrible, yes, but there are lots of examples of violent sex offenders. But Ms. Homolka – on her own – obtained the drugs and "made a present" of the rape of her younger sister. Contrary to your assertion, the murders occurred ONLY when she was there.

        Both are evil people, but of the two my money's on Homolka as the ringleader when it comes to planning murder.

  3. Whatever he does in terms of legislation will be too late to stop Killer Karla from getting a Pardon. Just another example of Harper twisting events to suit his Political agenda.

    • Len, what about the next person, i fully support stronger penaties for violent crimes with a review that means something for vics and their families.

      • All I'm saying is that he's using the spectre of Karla Homolka to rile people up. When the truth is, if he wanted to stop her from getting a Pardon, he should have made it an election issue.

    • For decades now we have been hearing about the Conservative "Agenda" ! Gee, I wonder when we will finally see what it is! This whole Carla Homolka thing is a big stain on this country that will never go away!

  4. If a person has been found guilty as charged in a court of law, beyond any shadow of a doubt, and has served time whether full term or parole or otherwise. Why, is the government handing out pardons..if it has been proven that the individual was guilty?…In my humble opinion there should be no pardons for those found guilty and served time.

    • Good point. I agree with your premise that everyone who has a criminal record because they were convicted of petty theft (or other mundane crimes such as vandalism and graffiti) and who have completed their community service should never be pardoned. A profound application of critical thought. Congratulations.

  5. They do not need to change the pardon rules. All they needed to do was to pursue a dangerous offender designation for Karla. This evil crone manipulated the crown to get a lesser sentence than her part in the crime deserved. With a DO status, we could have kept her in jail indefinitely even after her sentence term.

  6. 10 /4 frustrated canadian Guilty means guilty . A pardon is then is then issued so why spend all that time and money of ours of coarse to put tem away . OH ya it keeps the courts and judges on the payroll WHAT A GREAT SYSTEM OVERHALL THE SYSTEM.

    • You might save your rage for the Conservative government then, and specifically Stockwell Day. As Public Safety minister, helooked at changing the pardon system back in 2007, and decided to do nothing, leaving it virtually as is.

  7. Harper attempts to change the channel and tosses red meat to the CPC base.

    A pardon for Karla Homolka will change what exactly?

  8. All they need do is change the guidelines for pardons. Obviously a murder and people that have done time in prison, should not have the same considerations as petty offenders. Its a no brainer really!

  9. Until the media drew the public's attention to Graham James' pardon issue two weeks ago, the Conservative government paid no attention to granting of pardons to criminals. It was business as usual at the National Parole Board and the Conservatives had no intention of changing anything. Now that Harper is getting some public pressure, he's jumping right into the fray, using scare tactics (i.e. the spectre of Karla Homolka) to get the job done. Typical Harper move.


    • I take it you would have preferred him to blow off all the expressed concerns?

      Points to Harper for reacting to the outcry. A problem was highlighted, and is now being addressed.

    • Harper never misses an opportunuty to pander.

      • Jan, that is a far broader category than just Harper. Point out any politician on the National level that does not do it?

        • Criminal justice is a serious subject. I have no tolerance for Harper using it to score cheap political points by firing up the uninformed.

  10. More nonsense being spouted led, as usual, by PM Harper. The way to prevent a pardon ever being granted is to issue a life sentence. In Homolka's case the entire country was outraged by the "deal" done with the prosecution – who did what they did when they thought they could not get a conviction for her husband and before the infamous videotape was found. You simply cannot go around changing laws because of specific instances such as this. Nor is it right to say that the justice system is "soft on crime." Why pardon a convicted criminal who has served his/her time and exhibited good behaviour? Well, there is not only this thing called justice, but there is also mercy. Society has to be able to forgive and move on. To punish a person for ever because of some crimes is not justice it is vengeance. Not pretty in a state. The Parole board needs some expanded form of discretion and/or a broader list of exceptions to give them grounds to refuse pardon. The purpose of the pardon must be preserved – to give truly rehabilitated former criminals the chance to become productive members of society, and that way we are all safer. And will you please cut out this "bleeding heart" crap? Human behaviour and social behaviour are not subject of any of your simplistic, "lock'em up and throw away the key," solutions. Life is more complex than that. You try the so-called "easy" solution, and we'll end up like the US with huge untamed criminal populations just ready to burst forth, un-rehabilitated back onto our streets. See how you'd like that!

    • Richard , if you do not think that the justice system is soft on crime, then you must profit in some way from the current system.

      • Why do you attack his motives just because he does not agree with you? There is no basis to believe our system is soft, and when you think about it that is just a preposterous thing to suggest.

        No one prefers the rights of criminals over victims.

        • "No one prefers the rights of criminals over victims."

          With respect Pat, perhaps once you've been the victim of a home-invasion, or attempted murder, or sadistic child abuse, or violent rape, or kidnapping, (etc…) and then attempted to get any whiff of justice (let alone assistance to heal afterwards) you might reconsider that opinion.

  11. this is simple: murder, rape and child molestation, no pardon or parole for that matter.
    canada is dumb! too soft on hard crimes and too hard on soft crimes!
    I have a family member who was charged with a minor drug offence in the early eghties less than a gram of pot. he has still not gotten his pardon! he cant afford to pay the fee and the paper work is beyond most peoples abilities to work on without some sort of legal council! free the WEED happy 420!!

  12. Mr. Harper's right, the pardon system needs to change.

    Why don't they just change it so that people with recognizable names never get pardoned? Problem solved!

  13. How about getting tough on the loopholes the elite and wealthy use to get off on their crimes. For example, Rahim Jaffer supposedly escaped prosecution for impaired driving and cocaine possession because he spoke to a legal aid lawyer, not his own "personal" lawyer. That is absolute horse droppings. Whatever happened to you do the crime, you do the time? But getting tough on the elites would destroy his political base (even though they can still vote in jail).

    Harper wants to go after the criminals who've already been prosecuted. Please, QUIT WASTING MY TAXES AND MY TIME!!

  14. Say all you want about high profile cases. You can teach almost the day you get out of jail, because legal aid pays for your lawyer to go before the Ontario College of Teachers and tell them how you have changed and how you have folded towels at the local church and made amends to …..blah blah blah … Work it out with all political parties, before another child kills himself or herself.
    Children need to be protected.
    Victims need their rights protected to fee safe in our society.
    The Ombudsmen needs to have the authority to close down "stupid does" managment of schools who destroy children to protect the image of schools.
    We need Whisltle blower legislation now! How many more police officers have to go to jail to stop sex abuse by our institutions….
    We must move forward to protect the victims of crime not pay the SOB criminals off so they are'nt hurt too much. Carla…I hope they don't let you back in the country. Stay in your new country… let them look at our judicial failure, our failure to innocent children.
    Shame on all of us for letting this get so bad!!!

  15. Typical knee-jerk Conservative politics. Take an extreme, sensational example to try to push your agenda. Harper doesn't care about Homolka – he's using the case to push his "tough on crime" agenda. The same agenda that has failed abysmally south of the border.

  16. I really resent Harper using the term "my friends". Harper is no friend of mine, and I don't trust anyone who uses "my friends". They're usually arrogant bulies.

    • I use that term lots, and I certainly hope that I'm not an "arrogant bully". I wonder if you would think that of me just because I said those words? and what would that make you?

      What Harper neglected to mention is that Karla Homolka has already been allowed to legally change her name, so his name dropping simply highlights his lack of awareness. Our entire justice system is full of ridiculous, nonsense like this, giving all of the rights to the perpetrators – but that isnt Harper's fault. Or any other one person's fault. It's the result of all the stupid decisions over the last 100 years or so of leadership. It's not going to repair itself, and it's not going to happen overnight my friends. Have a nice day Margaret.

    • He's picked the 'my friends' bit up from John McCain who uses it constantly.

    • Dah…."my friend" is a legal term used in the House…

    • omg are you retarded, you're more concerned with the "my friends" bit than you are about a disgusting murderer being granted a pardon. I would be more upset with the liberals for being in power for the many decades the "arrogant bully" as you put it, is referencing for the soft laws on criminals. get a life and start reading the WHOLE article before you start attacking.

  17. Find it amazing that the US let her in as a convicted felon. I have been asked at the border if I have a criminal record. Did she lie.

  18. I can't believe we're concerning ourselves about Ms. Homolka's potential pardon when she's already been allowed to have a child. Any talk about crime prevention, or being "soft/tough on crime", is meaningless yackety-yack if we never address child abuse. How on earth do Canadians think the next generation of criminals gets created: out of thin air?

    If you grew up with a sadistic sexual murderer for a mother, how well do you think you would turn out? And please, point me to ONE program or service – anywhere – for him to turn to. Just one.

  19. Crime in Canada is at an all time low. Why are we getting tough on crime again? Don't we have more important, and benificial, things to do than fill our prisons? I have a feeling this coincides with the Government's mandate to construct more prisons.

    • felix, reporting of crime in canada is at an all time low, not the crimes themselves. property crimes cost the victums in increased insurance costs if they report any crimes, if you think the numbers are down, take a walk some night at around 2 am in most down town areas and get back to me or ask to take a ride along with the cops, it will open your eyes if you havent already closed them to anything that does not fit your personal viewpoint.

      • Actually, that is untrue. Reporting of crime has not changed significantly at all.

      • The most reason for people not reporting crime is that the crime was not serious enough to merit police attention. That really has nothing to do with your walking the streets at night scenario.

        Reporting of crime has not changed significantly at all.

      • So eliminating pardons would increase crime reporting? This sounds like MP Glover's logic.

  20. Harper's drawing on spectres? Hopefully he's using invisible ink and a Ouija board.

  21. Typical knee jerk, pathological " Harper Hater" drivel here. We have the spectacle of psychopath Holmolka getting a pardon, serial child killer and torturer Clifford Olsen collecting CPP while we feed and house him for free. Then we have "the coach", serial molester also secretly pardoned. So what is the response of the "Harper Haters" to his statement that Canada has become soft on crime? They bitterly denounce him for stating the fricken obvious. They would denounce him if he said "It's Canada, sometimes it snows here in the winter". These people are insane.

  22. Why is it that the Homolka's of Harper's world preoccupy so much of his time yet all he accomplishes is toothless legislation, no legislation and a whole lot of public breast beating? Could it be mere jerking of the, 'RIGHT', chain? The opposition would do well to call Harper to task on these phony soiree's of appealing to base instincts; make him put up or shut or…better yet, make him do another "Economic Update". If Harper wants to keep the country on the fringe of fantasy he should be forced to do so within the realm of his, "expertise".

  23. Harper failed to mention that in 2006 he had the opportunity to change the legislation to make it harder or even impossible for some offenders to be pardoned..but didn't. Surprise surprise that he left that little tidbit out..

  24. Harper’s legislation in 2010 lumped my offence in 1995 in with the like of Homolka and James because it was an opportunity. I was ordered to pay restitution which was done. Even the victim says he got the money, but because someone made a clerical error in 1999 I was told I had to repay twice to two seperate Alberta Courthouses because of it. A whopping $4400 so I was told that I only had to provide proof withing 12 years so wait. So I wait….then in 2010 Harper passes Bill C-23A and now all proof of fines/restitution must be paid. I have been fighting it for a year. I have a letter from the victim saying he was paid and letters from BOTH courthouses saying the amount is showing owing but the status is unknown because the dockets cannot be found. I submitted this to the Parole Board and they wrote that BOTH have to be paid to the courts and that I am not elligible for 5 years after I have. Once the Omnibus crime bill C-10 passes, Harper will exceed that elligibility term to 10 years, making my elligibility for a pardon 26 years after I committed the offence. The victim forgave me because he knows just how truely sorry I was, but my Government won’t, in fact my government almost wants to keep me in criminal status which in this day and age makes it almost impossible to get a job.

    On top of what I wrote I find it disgusting that Harper is using the term ‘victim’ for the excuse to pass such legislation because I am also a victim myself for two reasons. One I was abused as a child which is what lead me break the law in 1995, second my wife was killed by a hit and run driver. I don’t care that legislation is changed so that the man that did it can get a record suspention or a pardon in 5 years. Call it what you what it doesn’t make me feel any better about what happened. Also the hockey player Sheldon Kennedy and Theoren Fleury, both victims of Graham James, have histories of drug and alcohol abuse. Drug use which is a target of the same omnibus crime bill that is designed to identify their rights as victims.

    I am by no means in defence of Homolka, but the courts did sentence her and she did do the time so if a pardon was going to be a future issue then why wasn’t it dealt with at the time of her sentencing? I just don’t get it. By the same laws Harper and his PC’s want to protect the victims from criminals they are turning more victims into criminals.

    The most shocking part of all this is that Homolka hadn’t even applied for a pardon…