Mr. Bob Dechert (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, CPC)
Mr. Speaker, as we are approaching the end of the session, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Mississauga—Erindale for the extraordinary privilege they have given me to represent them, since 2008, in this place. I hope to earn their trust again and return here in the fall. I look forward to seeing all of my colleagues here when I do.
I rise today to speak in support of Bill C-53, the life means life act. By eliminating parole eligibility for high treason and for the most heinous murders, the criminal law amendments in this bill would ensure that the worst offenders spend their entire lives in prison.
The reforms in Bill C-53 grew out of the commitment made by our government in last fall's Speech from the Throne to amend the sentencing laws to ensure that a life sentence means a sentence for life for the most dangerous criminals.
I predict that these proposals will be welcomed by the public as another important step by our government to protect Canadians from the most violent and incorrigible offenders. I also predict that they will be strongly welcomed by the families and loved ones of murder victims, who, under the laws that now stand, run the risk of being re-traumatized every time the offenders responsible for their losses apply for parole.
In that respect, I think of Sharon Rosenfeldt, the mother of one of Clifford Olson's victims, who, along with her family, had to go to parole hearings every two years, under the old faint hope clause regime, to hear Clifford Olson tell them why he should be released. They had to relive the trauma of losing their son every two years, time and time again.
In this respect, Bill C-53 would complement other victim-oriented measures sponsored by our government, such as Bill C-32, the Victims Bill of Rights Act. A key purpose of both Bill C-53 and Bill C-32 is to prevent those who have already been victimized by criminals from being re-victimized by the criminal justice system.
As I mentioned, the reforms set out in Bill C-53 target high treason and certain forms of murder. Both offences are currently subject to a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment, with the right to apply for parole after a set period of time in custody.
Topic: Government Orders
Subtopic: Life Means Life Act