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Other Topics => The Justice System => Topic started by: Sleuth on June 16, 2010, 12:48:40 PM

Title: Bill C-23
Post by: Sleuth on June 16, 2010, 12:48:40 PM
By CBC News, cbc.ca, Updated: June 16, 2010 1:59 PM
Tories call for quick vote on pardon bill

Tories call for quick vote on pardon bill

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is urging opposition MPs to help pass the government's tougher criminal pardon bill before the current parliamentary session ends, possibly as early as Thursday.

The urgency stems from revelations that convicted killer Karla Homolka could apply for a pardon on July 5 if the legislation is not passed. Bill C-23 would make it more difficult to obtain pardons.

"I think it's very, very clear that if this bill does not proceed, there will be all kinds of individuals who the vast majority of Canadians will say simply should not be entitled to a pardon," Toews said. "Right now more than 99 per cent of the applications are basically rubber-stamped after the waiting period. That is simply not acceptable."

Bill C-23 would make it impossible for people convicted of sex offences against minors to have their criminal records suspended, except in very specific cases. As well, the period of ineligibility for a pardon would increase to five years from three for summary conviction crimes, and to 10 years from five for more serious indictable offences.

But critics of the bill say pardons help offenders integrate into society because they lower the barrier to find jobs.

The NDP has proposed splitting the bill, so that the part that would pertain to convicted criminals like Homolka could pass quickly, while the rest of the legislation could be considered later. Toews dismissed that possibility, saying the NDP's alternative "effectively guts" the government's proposed legislation.

'I will not allow the gutting of the bill'

"If I can see some amendments in terms of cogent concerns and substantively the bill is upheld, I will consider those," he said. "But I will not allow the gutting of the bill. If they want to go back to their constituents and explain it, I'll let them do that."

Some Liberals have expressed concern that the Conservatives are using Homolka's name to pressure the opposition to pass the bill hastily. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said his party is willing to work with the Conservative minority government on it, but vowed that the Liberals would ensure the legislation is done "properly."

"I think Canadians are horrified at the idea that someone convicted of those crimes could ever get a pardon," Ignatieff said.

He pointed out that the government talked about changing the pardon system four years ago. "They prorogued Parliament, and then they tried to find solutions at the last minute," Ignatieff said.

Toews presented the bill in early May after it came to light that convicted sex predator and former junior hockey coach Graham James had been granted a pardon in 2007.
http://news.ca.msn.com/top-stories/cbc-article.aspx?cp-documentid=24593171
Title: Re: Bill C-23
Post by: jobo on June 16, 2010, 01:28:25 PM
No Pardon for Homolka.....never.  That's how I feel.  When I hear that she is married and even has a child, I think of her victims......They will never marry, never have children......Homolka was part of their demise.   I think she should still be in jail, like Bernardo.
Title: Re: Bill C-23
Post by: sally on June 16, 2010, 03:29:48 PM
Hello everyone:  This is my first post and if it is not permitted to provide this link, please just delete.  This is a facebook page set up to rally Canadians against the possibility of Karla getting a pardon:

http://apps.facebook.com/causes/cause_invitations/new?cause_id=475014

I also want to thank everyone for their posts on these various subjects, trying to keep topics alive and in the public forum.  I especially want to thank the administrators of the site for all of their hard work and for letting people state their opinions in an open, frank discussion.  Thank you!
Title: Re: Bill C-23
Post by: jobo on June 16, 2010, 04:20:58 PM
Thanks, Sally....exactly what I was looking for.
Title: Re: Bill C-23
Post by: Sleuth on June 17, 2010, 01:20:01 AM
Yea of course Liberals you're up to your usual shenanigans for stall tactics. Can't you guys and gals for once agree with everyone and just sign the damn Bill and then amend it later on down the road? Come on guys do the right thing, for once. It was the bleeding heart liberals who put us all in this mess to begin with. Thank you Trudeau.

 CBC News, cbc.ca, Updated: June 16, 2010 7:44 PM
Pardon bill agreement reached

Pardon bill agreement reached

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said an agreement has been reached between all federal parties to pass a bill that would prevent notorious offenders like Karla Homolka from applying for a pardon.

Toews said the NDP and Bloc Québécois have signed on to support the legislation, and the Liberals are just looking over some minor details.

"I can say that in respect of the critical elements of our bill, so as to prevent notorious criminals from receiving a pardon, we have an agreement," Toews told reporters.

Toews said they split off the bill, meaning the new proposed legislation is not the full bill that the Conservatives had originally proposed. The rest of the bill will remain in committee as C-23B to be studied in the fall.

Toews said it wasn't everything he wanted, but that a compromise was essential to get legislation in place before summer.

Under the deal, the national parole board would be able to deny any pardon which would bring the system into disrepute

As well, the period of ineligibility for a pardon would increase to five years from three for summary conviction crimes, and to 10 years from five for more serious indictable offences.

All those convicted of serious violent offences would be prohibited from applying for parole for 10 years.

The urgency for the bill stems from revelations that Homolka could apply for a pardon on July 5 if the legislation is not passed.

Asked by a reporter if the bill would specifically prevent Homolka from applying for a pardon, Toews said: "I believe that people like the individual you mentioned would not fit the criteria for a pardon."

The opposition parties had been pushing back, saying that the government is using Homolka's name as a way to get badly drafted legislation passed without proper scrutiny.

The NDP had proposed splitting the bill so that the part that would pertain to criminals like Homolka could pass quickly while the rest of the legislation could be considered later. Toews had dismissed that possibility, saying the NDP's alternative "effectively guts" the government's proposed legislation.

Some Liberals had expressed concern that the Conservatives are using Homolka's name to pressure the opposition to pass the bill hastily.


http://news.ca.msn.com/top-stories/cbc-article.aspx?cp-documentid=24593171
Title: Re: Bill C-23
Post by: SAP on June 17, 2010, 06:08:42 AM
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/100617/national/homolka_pardon

MPs strike deal to head off Homolka pardon


Thu Jun 17, 1:40 AM
 

By Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

 
OTTAWA - Federal political parties have joined forces to ensure notorious sex killer Karla Homolka won't be pardoned for her gruesome crimes.


The four parties struck an 11th-hour deal late Wednesday to hive off measures in a pardon-reform bill that would effectively ban Homolka from receiving a pardon.


The measures are to be passed at all stages by the end of the day Thursday, when the House of Commons is expected to adjourn for the summer.


The Senate, which will sit several weeks longer, must also pass the bill before it can go into effect.


Other more contentious provisions of the bill will proceed at a more leisurely pace when Parliament resumes in late September.


Homolka, who served a 12-year sentence for her role in the rape-murders of Ontario teens Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, is eligible to apply for a pardon as of July 4.


“My family is forced to relive the pain and horror every time that woman’s name is in the news. A pardon would be unthinkable,” said Talin French-Doyle, one of Kristen French's relatives, in a press release.


“Forgiveness is the right of a victim, not a requirement of the State.”


There is no confirmation that Homolka actually plans to apply for a pardon. But the theoretical prospect led to an ugly round of finger-pointing Wednesday among the four parties over who would be held responsible if the pardon reform bill isn't passed in time to prevent a possible Homolka pardon.


With no party wanting to take the blame, a deal seemed inevitable despite the overheated rhetoric.


Public Safety Minister Vic Toews confirmed late in the day that a deal had been struck.


"On the critical area of our bill so as to prevent notorious criminals from receiving a pardon, we have an agreement," Toews said.


As to Homolka, he added: "That kind of a person would not be able to get a pardon."


Toews would not go into detail but sources said the parties have agreed to essentially split the original bill in two.


Under the provisions that will pass immediately, anyone convicted of a serious personal injury offence — including manslaughter, violent assault and sexual assault — will have to wait 10 years after release from prison before applying for a pardon. Currently, they must wait three to five years.


Moreover, the National Parole Board, which now rubberstamps most pardon applications, will be given the discretion to deny a pardon if it would severely damage the reputation of the justice system.


The latter provision is meant to ban someone like Homolka from receiving a pardon.

Provisions which will wait until the fall to proceed include a proposed ban on pardons for anyone convicted of three indictable offences. Opposition parties are concerned that goes too far, potentially denying a pardon to someone who may have committed relatively minor offences in their youth, such as forging several cheques.

Earlier Wednesday, Toews and his fellow Conservatives used the spectre of a Homolka pardon to try stampede the three opposition parties into speedily passing the entire pardon-reform bill.

"Enough games from the opposition," Toews declared at one point in the Commons.

"We are committed to preventing the pardoning of notorious criminals now. Why will the Liberals not support us?"

However, the opposition parties steadfastly refused to expedite passage of the bill in its entirety. They accused the government of deliberately delaying the bill — which was introduced a month ago and has made little legislative progress since — in order to create a last-minute crisis.

"It's their fault, not ours," said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.

NDP Leader Jack Layton said the government deliberately waited until the dying seconds of the parliamentary sitting in a bid to "prevent debate on all the other items that are in (the bill) and perhaps pin it on this situation regarding Karla Homolka."

Liberal public safety critic Mark Holland was furious that Toews taunted him about supporting a pardon for Homolka — only minutes before the two men were scheduled to meet to discuss ways to split the bill precisely so as to prevent a Homolka pardon.

"The level of dishonesty is so disgusting," Holland fumed.

"Do these people have no bottom? Do they have no low to which they will not go?"

Title: Re: Bill C-23
Post by: Edsonmom on June 17, 2010, 09:09:17 PM
I could not agree with her words more!!


Niece of Homolka victim: 'Forgiveness is up to us'

By QMI Agency

ST.CATHARINES, Ont. – There are some crimes that simply cannot be forgiven or forgotten, says the niece of the woman killed by Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka.

"Forgiveness is up to us, the victims, not the government," said Talin French-Doyle, niece of the late Kristen French.

Homolka served 12 years for manslaughter after a plea bargain for her part in the rape and murder of French, 15, and Leslie Mahaffy, 14 of Burlington.

On July 5, if politicians in Ottawa do not reach an agreement to change the Criminal Records Act, Homolka will be eligible to apply for a pardon.

A pardon is a legal chance at a fresh start. It seals someone's criminal record, making them eligible to get a job, travel, adopt and volunteer like any other Canadian.

MPs in Ottawa are trying to derail Homolka's bid by debating Bill C-23, which would make dpeople convicted of violent and sexual crimes ineligible to even apply for pardons.

If a pardon is issued, French-Doyle said it would be like saying Canadians have forgiven and forgotten what Homolka did to her aunt.

"That's not OK. It's anything but OK," she said Wednesday.

She said her family is worried because of the precedent set by hockey coach Graham James — convicted of sexually assaulting some of his players in the '80s and '90s — who received a pardon in 2007.

Both St. Catharines Conservative MP Rick Dykstra and Welland NDP MP Malcolm Allen are concerned, because most pardon applications are approved.

Last month, French-Doyle was worried enough that she started a petition to urge Parliament to change the law to prevent someone like Homolka from getting a pardon.

"It started on Facebook, where I heard (Homolka) might be able to get a pardon," she said. "I got the petitions out there and in just a couple of weeks we had 1,700 signatures asking the government to fast-track C-23."

French-Doyle sent the petitions to both Dykstra and Allen, but only heard back from Allen.

"He asked me to come and meet with him, and I did," she said. "He seemed very concerned."

C-23 is currently locked in a parliamentary stalemate. The government wants to fast-track the bill before the House of Commons breaks for the summer and Homolka is eligible to apply. The Liberals want to have experts comment on the bill before passing it.

To fast-track the bill, the government will need the support of the entire House of Commons on both second and third readings and agree not to send the bill to committee.

If a deal between the parties on the language of C-23 cannot be reached, the bill may pass second reading but will be sent to a committee for hearings, said Dykstra.

Allen said there is little chance hearings could be completed before the fall, which is why he put a motion before the House Tuesday that would give the National Parole Board the power to deny pardon applications if a pardon would "bring the administration of justice into disrepute."

The language of his motion was taken directly from C-23, and Allen hoped it would act as a stop-gap measure to at least deny Homolka a chance to apply for pardon until new legislation can be enacted. However, the motion was defeated. It had the support of all three opposition parties, but the government voted against it, Allen said.

"I am very pleased that Malcolm has put his hat into the ring on this and tried to find a solution," Dykstra said. "The problem is that what he was proposing is not legislation and what we need is new legislation."

Dykstra said Canada needs legislation that applies to everyone, not a half-measure aimed at a specific person.

"There are other people out there who are not as famous who could be applying for pardons too. Just because they are not famous doesn't mean they didn't commit murder or a violent sex crime. It is imperative we have legislation in place to deal with it," said Dykstra.

"We can do it. We can show Canadians a minority Parliament can work, and we can find a compromise on Bill C-23 and it get done even if we have to stay here until 11:59 p.m. on July 4."

Allen said he was disappointed his motion was defeated, but was in talks all day Wednesday with the government to find a solution all parties can agree to.

"In our community, we understand the importance of this," he said. "I am hopeful that we can find a solution quickly."
http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2010/06/16/14415406.html