know we've said this before, but apparently we're going to have to keep
making the point until someone in a position of authority takes notice:
Canada's criminal justice system is a mess.
We'd call it a joke, but there's nothing
funny about what is going on in a system that is supposed to make
law-abiding citizens feel safe when they go to bed at night.
Look no further than three items in the
news this week for a refresher course in how out of touch our so-called
justice system has become.
Columnist Mark Bonokoski reminded us a
couple of days ago about Henry Danninger, who was returning to freedom
after serving two-thirds of a paltry five-year sentence for the vicious
killing of a university student.
Then came the warning from police about a
dangerous bank robber who was on the loose after escaping custody.
James Taylor had seven years left on his 28-year sentence when he
decided he'd prefer freedom to life in Beaver Creek. Maybe someone in
Correctional Services Canada would like to explain, for starters, why
Taylor was being housed in a minimum security camp if he was indeed
such a threat.
No. 3 involves the stranger-than-fiction case of Albert Walker, the con
man and embezzler who knocked off a pal in England, then managed to
wangle a transfer back to Canada to do his time, where he'll be
eligible for day parole after just 12 years in the slammer. That's
despite the fact that a first-degree murder conviction in Canada
warrants an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25
The Walker deal isn't just counter to
common sense; it's the opposite of what was said officially by the
Canadian government at the time the killer's transfer was negotiated. A
memo back then from Fred Mohlmann, senior policy analyst for the Public
Safety Department said sentences for transferred inmates should mirror
what they would get for the same crime in a Canadian court.
Walker's ex-wife, Barbara McDonald,
expressed fear for her family's safety when the transfer occurred last
spring. She was appalled at the prospect of a parole hearing process
and his possible release in just a few years.
"It's way too early, considering all that he has done," she said. "He got a very sweet deal."
deals seem to be the hallmark of the Canadian justice system. It's time
the Harper government showed it wasn't kidding when it promised to