Problems have arisen in our communities due to violent offenders being released on parole, and who with alarming regularity resume their criminal activities in breach of their parole conditions. Shootings, murders, assaults and the lucrative activities of drug and human trafficking are frequently resumed by these offenders. This greatly endangers the lives of the public and our communities.
This problem has been accelerated by amendments to the Criminal Code in 2019 and 2021 by Justin Trudeau and his Minister of Justice David Lametti.
These amendments take a more lenient approach to the parole of violent criminals. When questions were raised in Parliament on March 29, 2023 by opposition MPs, Mr. Lametti stated that the amendments were necessary “to address the problem of systemic racism and systemic overrepresentation of Indigenous and Black people in the justice system”.
Since the Criminal Code amendments, indigenous and black people have continued to be overrepresented in the justice system. Available data indicates that there has been an increase in offenders released on bail and parole, which has increased drugs, guns and violence endangering the public and police officers.
Many of the violent offenders suffer from mental illnesses and substance abuse which ought to have been treated prior to their release or granting bail.
In April 2023, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police notified the Canadian premiers that there is a link between the rise in violence caused by people released on bail and parole, and the federal legislation passed four years ago.
In January 2023 all 13 premiers sent a letter to the federal government requesting that the bail system be toughened and to “stop coddling” prolific offenders.
Some recent examples of the havoc caused by offenders in the month of March 2023, include:
- A 16 year old high school boy was stabbed to death at a Toronto subway station by a stranger who had been released on parole in a sexual assault case two weeks previously. At the time of the offender’s release, the judge had ordered he be provided with treatment for his mental health problems and substance abuse. This never occurred.
- On March 27, 2021 in Louiseville, Quebec, a police officer, the mother of two, was stabbed to death while attempting to arrest a suspect who had a long history of violent crime existing over a 10 year period. The offender had been released from prison for a number of reasons which were not disclosed.
Private Member’s Bill C-325
To alleviate such problems, on 10 March 2023 MP Pierre Paul-Hus (Charlesbourg-Haute-Saint-Charles) introduced Bill C-325, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (conditions of release and conditional sentences).
Bill C-325 provides that if an offender on parole breaks the conditions, he be liable to serve up to two years imprisonment, breaches of condition be recorded on the offender’s record, and offenders of certain violent criminal acts (e.g. sexual assault) be precluded from serving their sentences in their homes and in their communities.
Bill C-325 provides a much needed opportunity for changing the way in which we protect our families and communities while also furthering the safe re-integration of offenders into society, which is ultimately the best way to protect our families and communities. A full and frank discussion on Bill C-325 provides the potential for much needed reforms and greater public awareness of the issues involved.
It is hoped that this will result in constructive scrutiny of the Parole Board of Canada’s failures to properly carry out its mandate, as well as judicial failures to properly safeguard society from dangerous offenders.
Please contact your MP regardless of party and urgently request that he/she support Bill C-325. Click the link to find your Member of Parliament: https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/search