Pedogate: reacting to the overreaction

COLBY COSH on Graham James’s pardon


As a former newspaper columnist, I think I have pretty rock-solid law-and-order credentials. I recall arguing at various times, before a national audience, in hard type, that criminal justice is properly regarded as an orderly, deliberate species of revenge; that not only is the death penalty a proper prerogative of the state, but that the guillotine is the most humane and reasonable method of applying it; and that the Middle Eastern custom of severing the hands of thieves, while “barbaric”, may be ethically superior in some respects to our own methods of dealing with them.

So I trust I will not be accused of snivelling liberal cowardice when I ask: why should the National Parole Board necessarily come under suspicion or criticism for granting a pardon to Graham James?

It is common for ink-and-pulp tough guys like me to hold the NPB to a standard of perfection that may or may not be realistic. Without question, this body has made clumsy mistakes and appears susceptible to psychiatric fads, unscientific beliefs, and emotional manipulation by shrewd sociopaths. It is responsible for errors of the most spectacular, naïve, foreseeable kind, and it has learned to suffer beatings from the journalistic cudgels—albeit to no very impressive real-world effect—when it commits one. But where is the mistake here?

Is there some evidence that Graham James has re-offended since his release from prison? If there isn’t, on what basis can the decision of Pierre Dion be criticized? Since we have a system of routine, assembly-line pardons for offenders like James, what more can we expect that those given such pardons will do no harm? Has James done some? A radio personality in my city was heard to growl that someone at the Parole Board “ought to be fired”. For what? Accurately foreseeing that James was no longer a danger to the public?

The “fresh allegations” date back to James’ coaching career, and irrespective of his pardon, he is still subject to arrest and prosecution when it comes to offences for which he hasn’t yet been tried and punished. But people are talking as though “pardon” means “plenary indulgence”. James served his sentence—I won’t say “he paid his debt to society”, but he certainly discharged his specific debt to the state—and the history-effacing effects of pardons are rightly limited for sex offenders in the name of continued deterrence and protection of the innocent. And Theoren Fleury may be upset or uncomfortable that James received a pardon, but Fleury didn’t publicly allege anything against James until very recently, and his right to a hearing of his own grievance is in no way affected by the pardon.


Pedogate: reacting to the overreaction

  1. Colby's argument in favour of humane beheadings:

    There is, of course, an execution method that has a long and largely trouble-free history, and that cannot possibly induce lasting agony in the victim. It is the guillotine. Its use continued in France up until 1977, but it has never been used to execute criminals in the United States. When a less horrible alternative to hanging was first sought by Americans in the 19th century, they ignored the obvious, world-famous technique and instinctively chose electrocution, perhaps thinking it clean and scientific. Eventually, there arrived a vogue for the gas chamber, and finally lethal injection was adopted.

    All these means of death have been accompanied by occasional (but probably inevitable) blundering. Not for a moment has decapitation ever been seriously considered. Yet the guillotine is not only fast and certain, but it is cheaper than more "sophisticated" execution methods and requires no collaboration from medical personnel. Its absence from the debate suggests a weird truth: namely, that Americans are content to kill criminals, but consider that shedding their blood is literally unthinkable.

    • I am wondering if perhaps it's because a country that mythologizes itself on its revolutionary past is loathe to associate itself with a symbol inextricably linked with The Reign of Terror.

      • The Reign of Terror might have something to do with America's collective aversion to the guillotine. I'm puzzled why Colby would advocate the guillotine instead of the Chinese Method, which seems to be the logical extension of his argument that Americans should get over their irrational fear of shedding blood in favour of swiftness and certainty.

        The Chinese use an assault rifle to fire a single shot of an expanding hollow point bullet to the head. This method seems less macabre, and unlike the guillotine, it guarantees instantaneous brain death.

      • Yeah, I expect the emotional revulsion of this Texan to the idea of using the guillotine can be boiled down to "it's Jacobin". Oh, I wouldn't mind seeing one used to execute people who murdered in the name of Communism, but erecting one for a non-symbolic purpose? No.

    • Did anyone consider the fact that despite the crimes that a person may commit there may be family members or close friends that may wish to morn the death of that person (or the person they used to be)? I'd imagine this may be some of the underlying reason for lethal injection.

      Decapitation doesn't do well for those people who believe in open caskets.

      • I bet those conversations never happen together. Mostly because to advocate a death penalty, you have to dehumanize the recipients to the point where they don't have caring family.

        • I guess it depends on the person and the crime.

          Another thought is the person giving the penalty, giving an injection probably does lot more for the executioner's mental well being then electrocution or hanging.

          Anyway, I guess my main point is there are a lot of reasons for everything, some aren't as cut and dry as "Oh we hate the Guillotine because the french used it"

        • It is by refusing to execute a murderer that you dehumanize him.

          The death penalty is the application of the principle of the equality of all human beings to the murderer. By committing murder, a person declares, concretely, that a human being does not have a right to life. By applying the death penalty, we treat him exactly as he, a human person, has freely chosen to be treated.

          To do other than execute a murderer is to treat him as other than a human person. To treat him as not understanding his own declaration that a human being has no right to life is to treat him as a child, lunatic, or animal. To treat him as understanding his declaration, but not treating him in accordance with it, is to deny him his equality with other humans, declaring him either subhuman or superhuman.

          Certainly, if he has caring family, executing him hurts them. Thus they suffer the consequences of his decision that humans have no right to life. That is unfortunate, but to elevate their feelings above his choice is to deny him his dignity, to treat him not as an end in himself, but merely an object whose purpose is to satisfy his family's emotional needs. That, too, is dehumanizing.

        • I think you are wrong. Advocating the death penalty is not about dehumanizing the recipient, it is about humanizing the victim. The trend now in our justice system is to humanize the offender, and dehumanize the victim, which is easy to do when the victim isn't around anymore.

  2. "As a former newspaper columnist, I think I have pretty rock-solid law-and-order credentials."

    Say what?

    • That struck me as well, but I think he means "My body of written professional work will show that I am strongly in favour of harsh criminal justice measures", rather than "because I am a journalist, I am especially knowledgable about legal matters." I do think it comes across sounding like the former, but the second meaning isn't impossible and more fitting with the rest of the paragraph.

    • I think it's as simple as he's partly joking. Laugh a little guys.

  3. Agree, the NPB is doing what it's always done, however quietly, in service for justice, and this was just one of several thousand pardons granted annually.

    Call it an awakening from apathy … this high profile case is calling us to question our ignorance … if THIS can happen, are we doing right by our society? What else have we missed?

    I hope, but doubt, the headlines and placards will read, "NPB – you have our attention – now how can we help you make your jobs easier and the laws tougher?"

    • "now how can we help you make your jobs easier and the laws tougher?"

      Call me a bleeding heart, but I'd rather make the laws more effective than necessarily "tougher".

    • Crime fighter ,Vic Toews, seems to have just heard of it and – dammit – he's going to do something about it. Nothing gets by this guy.

      • And only a few years after he was justice minister!

  4. Canada has always treated pedophiles with kid gloves. Too many of therm are just too well connected to be expected to pay for their crimes. We treat people who grow and smoke pot far worse. They’re looking at mandatory minimums while most pedophiles get ignored by the justice system.

    • Penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana: a fine
      Penalty for sexual touching: a prison sentence that can be as much as 10 years

      I'm not sure whether we treat paedophiles too lightly or not, but it probably doesn't help your case to use hyperbole that is so obviously incorrect.

      • “Penalty for sexual touching: a prison sentence that can be as much as 10 years ” Is that why the Catholic Church is in the news so much the last few years, because of all the pedophile priests serving hard time for raping children? As to growing and smoking pot Harper wants to have people who grow their own to serve mandatory minimums. Still no word on mandatory minimums for political corruption yet. What do you think, is there a chance…in hell?

        • At least half of Canadians have smoked marijuana, while virtually none have ever faced any punishment (and if they have it has been light).

          Molesters often escape punishment, not because they are politically well-connected (there is probably no group of people hated by more people), but because there is a stigma among victims against reporting the crime. Only about 1 out of 3 sex offenders get reported to the police. However, you can be damn sure the police try to catch offenders.

          Sex offenders on average serve sentences of 4 years. I will agree with you that 4 years sounds low, given the gravity of the crime. Interestingly, however, those granted full parole are less likely to re-offend. There are a lot of useful statistics on sentencing, and recidivism rates in Canada here (although the data seems a bit dated).

      • Um, yeah. Show me a list of pedophiles who actually served that amount of time per crime, and I'll care. Until then, you're just an apologist for pedophiles, since you're so quick to jump in with the fictional stats.

        • Stockwell! Hi! And you were doing so well….

        • Section 151 of the Canadian Criminal Code is fictional?

        • PS: maybe you could check the national sex offender registry.

        • no one here is being an 'apologist for Pedophiles'. Move on.

          • Yes Father Douglass. Whatever you say.

          • I believe that would be Mother Douglass. What's your point?

          • I don't think hoser is necessarily an "apologist". It's part of the debate/argument to look at stats that might be out there.

  5. I think you missed the point. The uproar is about the fact that James was given a PARDON, not that he was given parole.

    • But pardons are a routine element of this country's parole system. I'm not in favour of that–I would certainly prefer that they are rare and exercised only on the prerogative of a responsible Crown minister! But if that's what offends us, let's address that instead of making it about this particular decision.

      • I might posit the following:

        1. Individuals are construing this case as metonymic of pedophilia cases in general;
        2. Individuals believe that some crimes can never be forgiven
        3. Individuals attempt to conceal belief 2 as it contradicts our criminal justice system's approach of punishment befitting crime, then punishment ends and reintegration begins (that we all want to believe in so strongly, perhaps?)

        As a result, I hypothesize that we are witnessing the reaction to this case in the name of 3, because if 2 is expressed then we have to have a discussion about 1, which makes us uncomfortable.


  6. A shocked Prime Minister's Office, notified of the pardon, called it a "deeply troubling" development that demands an explanation from the parole board.

    The Conservatives have been in power since 2006 and they haven't bothered to find out how a pardon is granted. I find that deeply troubling.

    • Me thinks you misunderstand.

      The government/PMO understands fully what this pardon represents – to them. It is a gift-wrapped stick that can be used to beat the opposition and their "weakness on crime" while confirming to much of the Con base that the justice system is "broken". It matters not o Ane iota what a pardon is and isn't. It matters only that the government of the day can use it for political advantage.

      • It's a brand new shiny plank for their rickety 'law and order' platform. Expect ranting and raving.

    • You might find it deeply troubling, but are you deeply surprised?

    • I am somewhat troubled by any government "demanding" explanations from arms-length quasi-judicial bodies.

      And for the PM's sake, I hope his outrage is justified in the sense that the James case constituted the worst offences for which pardons have recently been granted, instead of merely being a very high-profile one.


  8. "…criminal justice is properly regarded as an orderly, deliberate species of revenge;"

    I'd be interested to know what Colby thinks about cases in which death seems too lenient for the purpose of revenge. How can someone who tortured someone else to death, for example, satisfy vengeance merely by dying quickly and painlessly? Doesn't it follow that the state should then torture certain criminals to death?

    I'd like to think that brings us to a reductio ad absurdum but I'm increasingly worried that in our society, it doesn't.

    • I'll have to think about it, but one definite answer is that good law shuns penalties that have a subjective character. I'm not in favour of cruelty as such; that has dangerous consequences for the inflicting people and institutions. But this in turn suggests that maybe the tenability of capital punishment depends on the public not perceiving it, even for historically contingent or even nonsensical reasons, as excessively cruel.

      • Surely "revenge" is itself a subjective response? Not everyone wants revenge, and of those that do, they will want it in different measures for the same crimes. I get it that there is an implicit element of revenge in our criminal system, but it is implicit because it cannot be objectively characterized and fitted against the crime. The notion of like for like can have no place in a criminal justice system that pretends to balance and reason.

        As for capital punishment, it has been abandoned for several reasons, cruelty being just one of them. The biggest problem we seem to have now is the inability to get reliable convictions on what may be considered capital crimes.

  9. "I recall arguing at various times, before a national audience, in hard type, that criminal justice is properly regarded as an orderly, deliberate species of revenge;"

    But this is precisely the argument that stokes this kind of over-reaction! For any crime against a person, no revenge is ever enough to satisfy, and just the thought of Stephen James or any other child-abuser doing anything approaching a normal occupation is outrageous for some people.

    It is also behind the Tories misguided plans to "toughen" the system, plans that will have none of the results they claim to want in respect of deterring and reducing crime, expect perhaps in satisfying some people's thirst for revenge.

  10. Welcome to Trudeau's 'just society'! where no one is responsible for their actions except if you are a conservative and then you are responsible for everyone's actions.

    Pardons should be rarely given and only have the individual has demonstrated fully and completely that they have changed their lives. Given the research on pedophiles that can never happen.

  11. I question the credibility of any journalist who willingly attaches the suffix "gate" to any word other than "water."

    Kidding – an interesting perspective, well-written as usual.

    Although I do hate the "-gate." Stop doing that. I hope one day a serious publication will refuse to do this.

    • Yes and we have to stop doing it before there is a scandal that involves corrupt practices in the procuremnt of contracts for construction of an actual gate or it will be called Gategate.

      • I am with you and this "gate" in particular gave me the creeps…

      • You know that the likelihood of this ever happening is 100%, right?

      • Someone in a high place using their influence to have a jaywalking ticket dismissed?


        • Someone very wealthy using their influence to have a jaywalking ticket dismissed?


          Well, you started it.

          • LOL!

        • Every time someone in government gets caught having an affair I refer to it as Tailgate.

          • Every time someone in government gets caught having an affair…. and then blabs about it?

            tale tailgate

            Thankfully, I'm not a comedian.

      • Not only will there be a Gategate, but there will be squeals of delight over finally having the opportunity to use it.

  12. Does anyone actually believe that those that sexually abuse children can be rehabilitated? I have no idea why we as a society think that child rapists deserve a second chance. It's completely irresponsible to ever let someone who has so permanently scarred a child to ever have the chance to do so again.

    The sexual exploitation of a child is so beyond basic decency that the only decent and responsible thing to do is ensure that these predators can never do it again. The victims deserve our sympathy and help, these bastards deserve nothing but a lifetime of paying for their heinous crimes.

    I'd bet my bottom dollar that the vast majority of Canadians agree with me.

    • Yes, but our rage at the act and the actor are hardly the basis for a considered sentence. Most of these people would be strung up from the local tree if our feelings were the guide on the matter.

      This works fine until we consider the succession of crappy convictions for similar crimes that have been recently overturned. All of a sudden, the rush to judgement loses its attraction.

    • Many crimes are extremely beyond basic decency – that is kind of the definition of a serious crime. Being molested is truly terrible, but I think that, if anything, being murdered is worse, yet few people disagree with the notion of rehabilitating murderers. Moreover your notion that people that commit sexual abuse cannot be rehabilitated is clearly false. Roughly half of molesters (and a higher proportion of rapists) do not re-offend.

      I think there is a much stronger case for considering molesters to be dangerous offenders (and not releasing them) that could be made. The issue is that sex offenders, by their very nature, are likely to commit a crime. Do we arrest people based on their mere likelihood of criminal activity? Yes. Criminally insane individuals are treated as long-term wards of psychiatric hospitals, on that basis. The likelihood of criminally insane individuals committing violent acts is extremely high – while probably higher than 50%, 50% is in the ballpark.

      You appear to argue that, much like a criminally insane person, a paedophile is by their very unchangeable nature likely to commit serious crimes. Of course, if you are going to lock up somebody on the basis of their nature, rather than specific acts, you are going to have to lock up everybody that shares that nature. This may seriously reduce the likelihood of paedophiles seeking any kind of treatment for their impulses, which could increase the incidence of molestation. So a key question is whether we are punishing people for their nature, or for their acts. Our legal system presently opts for the latter – you prefer the former.

      You might also have to make exceptions for certain kinds of molestation. Recidivism rates are very for incest, for instance.

      • could you differentiate between a paedophile who is found to have given in to his urges, versus one who looks for treatment before giving in? I don't know what the actual "cure" rate is for the one over the other, but I think recidivism is very high for those who do give in to the dark side of their nature.

        In drafting this, though, it occurs that we would have to define "giving in". I was thinking actual molestation, but viewing of related porn would also have to be a part of it.

    • I as a Canadian completely agree. I have first hand knowledge of sexual abuse and the mental pain never leaves.And who knows how much of a different personality I may have had without the abuse? I look over my shoulder every day, and have always to have a light on in my bedroom at night., and the abuse happened almost 30 years ago. I am mostly a happy person , but the pain runs deep.
      I think offenders should get life without parole.

  13. "As a former newspaper columnist, I think I have pretty rock-solid law-and-order credentials."

    Ok. That's cool.

    As a former (is that the right word?) victim of a pedophile, I think I have pretty rock-solid pedophile-law-and-order credentials.

    Colby, we're not talking about parole. We're talking about a pardon. And I think we're under-reacting, frankly.

    1. As JohnQ helpfully notes, pedophiles have a very high recidivism rate. Surely that should be taken into account before we even nominally wipe the slate clean, even if other measures are taken to protect his offender data?

    2. I dunno, perhaps people are "overreacting" because of the juxtaposition of accusations of crimes James hasn't yet been tried for on the one hand – crimes every hockey fan in Canada who could read a newspaper in Canada knew were out there – versus the guy walking free and getting a pardon as if he'd served time for every crime?

    Surely it's not too much to ask a guy to confess all his crimes before he gets considered for a pardon, for example?

    3. I've had my own life nearly destroyed at least twice by uncontrolled flashblacks and other PTSB symptoms, all from one little "incident" as a kid perped by a guy who ended up going down on six counts – mine not included.

    I don't get a pardon. So how am I "overreacting" if I think that a repeat offender should have to go above and beyond the call of mere 'good behavior' to earn a pardon from the government I fund, serve and elect?

    • Whatever you think of pardons, we can't proceed on the basis of "Bah, we all know Graham James is guilty of Y and Z as well as the X for which he was convicted." For the LAW to punish him for Y and Z, we have to give him a fair trial, and witnesses have to come forward. I'm calling attention here to the focus on the Parole Board decision. It makes no sense to blame Pierre Dion for James's sentence, for our penal policy on pedophiles generally, for the existence of child molesters, etc.

      • WOW! His point had NOTHING to do with your reply. He was talking about the PARDON and how it relates to him/her or the rest of us.
        1) The PARDON expunges his criminal record.
        2) For sex offenders from the Parole board website "When an individual who has been pardoned for a sex offence has applied for a job that involves working with children or vulnerable persons, a member of a police force or other authorized body may verify whether the applicant has been pardoned. Before doing so, however, they must obtain the applicant's consent in writing." GREAT! What if he doesn't give consent????????????????

        "Law and order credentials"………pppppfffffffffffftttttttttttttttt, better luck next time!!

        • If he doesn't give consent to the release of his record, he can't get hired for a job that requires the release of that record.

      • No, Colby, actually, we CAN proceed on that basis.

        1. Graham James has been convicted of criminal offences, and he's done his time. But what happens after is incumbent on him, not us. A pardon has nothing to do with due process – not least because due process is something expected from the state if the state is going to take away your rights. A pardon doesn't take away rights, it confers privileges – and in exchange, the state and the public are well within their rights to insist on, for example, confessions of any other crimes or actions that might otherwise void the privilege.

        2. I don't solely blame Pierre Dion – but hey, I've worked in government, and I've raised a cry, leaked a paper or two or even resigned in the face of problems that deserved sunshine or disclosure. All of those steps and others – like a letter requesting changes to legislation – were options for the Parole Board, yet they went on rubber stamping anyway.

        3. And your third point, below, is equally weak. It puts the onus on employers – as if they're the only group that matters here – to ask for his record. The onus should be on James to either prove his record should be expunged before he's employed, or to provide his record wherever there's a risk. It's not uncommon for pedophiles – convicted or otherwise – to work their way around disclosure rules by finding weak spots in the system through the process known hideously as "grooming." They migrate to self-employment or volunteer work where checks are unlikely, for example – which is precisely what happened in my own case.

        It's not shocking that pedophiles would work the system in that way; what's shocking is that you and the government's own rules seem content to make it as easy for them as much as possible.

  14. Does a pardon take him off the national sex offender's list? Anyone know?

    • And, does a pardon impact whether or not his prior convictions can be introduced as evidence of "prior bad acts" establishing a pattern of behaviour?

      • If I remember correctly, in Canada, previous convictions are not admissable as evidence for any new charges being tried.
        Now if we were in the U.S……………………………………

    • Short answer is no, sorry I don't have the link.

  15. Harper has asked Toews to review this incident. Both of them know perfectly well that each year thousands of people who have served their prison terms and lived without incident in the community for years, are given pardons by the parole boards. Our laws actually require this of the parole boards and only a very ignorant or a very deceiptful Prime Minister or Minister of Public Safety would act like this is news. The ONLY reason for the review is for the consumption of the right wing "law and order" crowd that Harper needs to satisfy from time to time. Harper will introduce another useless "tough on crime" bill that will die on the order paper the next time he prorogues Parliament of calls an election.

    • If they both know how the pardon process works in Canada (and if they don't they should), why were they not equally shocked that they weren't directly notified of the the thousands of other pardons granted in the past four years?

      • Harper and Toews know exactly how the parole boards are required to award conditional pardons and they also know how many are awarded each year. They may not be advised each and every time a pardon is awarded, but they are informed on a regular basis. Toews was the Minister of Justice for three years responsible for the parole system and he certainly would have been very regularly informed. More to the point, although he knew all along how conditional pardons are administered and how many are awarded, he made no attempt to legislate new regulations until there was a highly public incident and then he poured on the inflammoatory language demanding that the regulations had to be changed to keep the public safe. There is no attempt at rational policy development with this government

    • Give it a rest. What else could the Harper govt have done in this situation, realistically? Do nothing? If they did nothing, they would have been raked over the coals by the media, the opposition parties, the chattering classes, and all kinds of ballistic "ordinary citizens." So they're reviewing the incident, which in the circumstances is the understandable, and reasonably responsible, thing to do. Of course there's politics behind their actions here, but given the hyper-charged emotions that arise whenever pedophiles are involved, what would you expect?

      • What would I expect? I would expect the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Justice to inform the public that this conditional pardon was awarded under long standing regrulations that they were aware of for over four years and found no reason to review or revise during that time. I would expect those Ministers to acknowledge that they were fully aware of how many conditional pardons are awarded and have been for over four years. I would expect those Ministers to advise the public that there is no evidence that the parole system is not working in the interests of society and that they do not feel public safety is compromised, otherwise they would have acted to change the regulations four year ago. But then I realize there is no way any from the Harper government could possibly live up to these very ordinary expectations. The ONLY reason this government will take any action on this file is that they may be able to garner some votes from it, not that it will improve the outcome from the justice system.

        • You seem shocked and appalled that:

          1. The government is behaving in a reactive fashion to a news story; and that

          2. The government of the day does certain things in an attempt to court votes.

          Did you just land on this planet, or have you lived here for some time?

          That's a nice lofty set of expectations that you have. I doubt that in actual fact there's any government on this planet that lives up to them.

          • Oh well then Mr. Bean, we'll just give Harper a free pass shall we? What planet are you on?

          • Earth. Unlike some others who appear to be posting remotely.

            In any event, I'm not saying give the government a free pass on everything. But save the outrage (feigned or otherwise) for truly outrageous things. It turns out that a decidedly high-profile pedophile got a pardon. What SunshineCoaster suggested as an appropriate reaction by the government, while it would be nice in PrincipledPollyanaland, is completely unrealistic in the circumstances. If you want to be outraged by it, I guess that's your choice. But really, it's like being outraged at the law of gravity.

  16. All righty then!
    Perhaps the parole board can get busy helping Robert Latimer with his long overdue pardon!

  17. Perhaps public outrage about Graham James will be the catalyst needed to get the pardon system changed. Outrage over the thousands of nobodies getting rubber-stamp pardons have gone largely unnoticed. Why shouldn't a law and order government and victims groups use this high profile case to focus attention on the need to reform the system?

  18. When this story first hit the news, the G&M article listed some numbers of how many people applied for parole in 2007. According to those figures…which don't seem to be up anymore…the board only denied something like one-hundred and something pardon requests out of several thousands of applications.

    Whatever the actual article numbers were, I grabbed my calculator at the time and it turned out that pardons appeared to have been granted in 99.3% of the applications.

    If these numbers are correct…surely the discussion should be broader than just about one individual case. It appears that receiving a pardon in Canada amounts to little more than a rubber stamp formality once you apply for it.

    • Yeah, we should make sure that all of those folks who were busted for possessing one joint back in 1985 or whenever have that hanging over their heads forever and are permanently hobbled from getting jobs or leaving the country.

  19. That's quite enough, Canada. Have you gone completely mad? Trudeau and his Little Red Book are to blame for this.

    Only in Canada can the unpardonable be pardoned.

    Will the last person to leave please turn off the lights.

    • The pardon occurred when the MInister currently fulminating held the portfolio whose responsibilities included the NPB. That he now, when confronted with incidents which transpired under his watch, chooses to so fulminate says far more about his capabilities and oversight than it does about deceased former Prime Ministers.

    • Fascinating link… thanks.

      • I strongly suggest you check out the rest of the site. They've got hours worth of interesting reading. It's a crying shame that they seem to have stopped posting yet again.

  20. Hey Cash, maybe he became a born again Christian, and got a letter of support from the Family Coalition.

  21. The final scene of Inglorious Basterds would be so apropos to situations like this.

    "Mr. James. When you get out do you think you might ever want to be around young children or coach hockey again?"

    Maybe he'll get an ECE diploma and work for the National Daycare Program? Would the taxpayer be on the hook if he did it again?

  22. This just ticks me off that we live in a society that would even think to pardon or parole or what ever to a pedophile. Start thinking of the victims as they are serving a life sentence for what has happened to them, sure there is help available to the victims but it never goes away fully, I know first hand on what life is like after. I will always have fear and next to no trust for anyone, and forget about a normal relationship. It's far to easy for someone who has not gone through it or is sitting there pushing a dam pen all day to understand. Leave those pedophiles in jail where they belong.

  23. Perhaps public outrage about Graham James will be the catalyst needed to get the pardon system changed. Outrage over the thousands of nobodies getting rubber-stamp pardons have gone largely unnoticed. Why shouldn't a law and order government and victims groups use this high profile case to focus attention on the need to reform the system?

  24. Indeed. But there may be circumstances when, say, a Minister of State misbehaves at an airport gate. What then? What will the serial '-gate' affixers do? Hinged fence?

  25. Is there some evidence that Graham James has re-offended since his release from prison?


    Perhaps not. Perhaps he's gotten a lot smarter and more cautious. But now that we can't easily know that he has a criminal record, it makes it easier for him to travel to some jurisdiction in or out of Canada and do another kid.

    Is this the Canadian definition of compassion?

  26. Liberals can best be portrayed by the justice system from Clock Work Orange. yes liberals, it was society which gave rise to schizophrenia, psychopathy and pedophilia, and we will darn well pay.

  27. Another case of Parole Board follies. This case doesn't even make the top "25 MOST DISGUSTING" decisions the Board has made in the last 5 years. When it comes to protecting child molesters and pornographers, Canada is the "JOKE" of the free world. Slap on the wrist Judges! Let's make a deal Prosecutors! Incompetent Parole Boards!

    All of the above need to apologize to the RCMP and Police Departments all across this land, as well as it's citizens!

    As for you Mr. James, please take your cleaned up name and join the Catholic Church. They will give you absolution to go with your pardon.
    Steven Baird
    Managing Director
    Street Smart Kidz

  28. Yes, our process/policies for pardoning may need thoughtful reworking; hopefully, not just a quick and dirty "tough on crime", vote-getter approach.

    At the same time, the SH government should be supporting social programs that help the victims; some not directly apparent. Drug and alcohol counselling programs is likely a good start. And, like it or not, rehabilitation programs for the perps that may help them and their innocent families move on with their lives, so all can contribute positively to our society.

  29. All pandering, all the time.

    Good on Colby for going a contrarian direction on this one.

  30. How ridiculous is all of this? A crime should only be pardoned if the accused was wrongly convicted. A crime that was committed and time served for it, does not deserve to be pardoned. The guilty must carry the consequences for their crimes as a consequence for their actions. Save the pardons for those who were wrongly charged and didn't commit the crimes, not for those who were found guilty!

    • Yes, we should make sure that all of those people who were busted for possessing one joint back when they were 18 years old have that hanging over their heads forever, so that they are permanently hobbled when seeking employment and are given the third degree whenever they try to enter the United States.

    • I would hope that if someone was wrongly charged and did not commit the crime that they would not be pardoned. But that their criminal record would be completely erased, since they did not commit a crime. From my understanding a pardon removes your name from a database so as to ease re-entry into society (work / travel purposes).

  31. Let's get back to the victims here! When Graham James was abusing Sheldon Kennedy, the other players on the junior hockey team referred to Sheldon as his "girlfriend". It was the worst kept secret in the league that James was a pedophile yet no adults reported his behavior or stood up for these children. Child molestation ruins lives. Pedophiles chose activities that put them in contact with children. James didn't just have one lapse, he preyed long-term on many children and exploited their dreams of becoming hockey players. He stole their innocence and their ability to have a content life. This isn't about politics or revenge. It's about ensuring that his criminal record always follows him.

  32. "You won't say James has paid his debt to society"…..so then it's ok to give a pedophile, with more victims coming forward all the time, a pardon???

    " A radio personality in my city was heard to growl that someone at the Parole Board “ought to be fired”. For what? Accurately foreseeing that James was no longer a danger to the public?"

    Your a phsychologist now too?

    Try reading up on pedophiles and you'll see they have the highest rate of repeating than most any other criminal act!
    All they become is quieter and smarter in picking their victims. James' 2 other victims (we know of) still haven't charged him due to the damage he inflicted on them at such a young age, and as grown men are still not able to be able to charge him formally, as they can't handle a trial.

    So we pardon him and let him loose on another country??


  33. Do you have children?

  34. I am a middle aged man who owns his own business. I have a cat, a nice home and have been married for over 30 years. I own a business and have one son who is a nurse, one son who is a teacher and one in his 3rd year of university. I am well respected in my community and active in civic affairs. I enjoy life and am reasonably content.

    Thirty years ago, I initiated an investigation while working in a government agency that resulted in my being convicted of indecent assault. Now, what do you think of me? I am still the same person as described above.

    Everyone convicted of this type of offense is "tarred with the same brush", regardless of circumstances. Although I was raised in an abusive environment with alcoholic parents and the offense occurred when I was under enormous stress, there is no justification for what I did. However one month later, knowing I was throwing my career in the garbage, I started the proceedings which led to my conviction (as I knew they would). By starting these proceedings, I made certain the ones I harmed would get some help. Since then, I have not had even had a speeding ticket but 30 years later, I am still being punished. I did not expect, 30 years later to still be paying for my crime (as despicable as it was). I believe that persons who want to be helped can be but most of the persons I spent time in counseling with were in denial and did not believe they needed help. I believe that a prolonged period of time before the granting of a pardon (i.e., 10 -15 years would be appropriate), however the possibility of not ever getting a pardon would give these people (including myself) no hope for a return to a useful life. As it stands now, my wife and I would love to travel but if the government follows through on the possible elimination of pardons for these sorts of offenses, we will not be able to. I only decided to start my application for a pardon now because of this; which is unfortunate timing. As 3/4 of offenders do not re-offend (despite what the public believes), a complete ban on pardons for these persons is unfair.

  35. PARDON is the key word here in my opinion….do the time.. but a pardon ?
    That is a slap in the face to the survivors ..who have to negoiate the twisted world of relationships warped by Graham James.
    James WILL re offend …the stats are in his favor.

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