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