Mr. Speaker, reducing penalties for serious crimes sends the wrong message to victims, law-abiding Canadians and criminals. The government is failing to take criminal justice issues seriously. Sadly, for Canadian women, the Prime Minister has developed a reputation for obfuscation when clarity is required. The Prime Minister sets a bad example.
The female reporter who was subjected to an unwanted sexual advance by the Prime Minister in her workplace is still waiting for an admission of responsibility. His hypocrisy in lecturing others while failing to account for his own behaviour sets a bad example at a time when members of his own party are lecturing Canadians that bad behaviour is encouraged by the things politicians say or do not say.
The following open letter appeared in a Toronto newspaper this week. I cite it because it is important that the government hear directly from the casualties of its neglect of the rights of victims and their families. It states:
When I was 10 years old, one of Canada’s most notorious pedophiles — Peter Whitmore — kidnapped, tortured and raped me in an abandoned house in rural Saskatchewan after repeatedly slipping in and out of the justice system’s oversight.
And so you might imagine the rush of anger, pain and sadness I felt reading the recent news that Terri-Lynne McClintic — who kidnapped, raped and killed eight-year-old Tori Stafford in 2009 — was moved from a maximum-security prison to an Indigenous healing lodge.
I feel the pain of the Stafford family. The justice system is once again failing to protect our children.
It was the Liberal government that released Peter Whitmore from his eighth time in a federal prison for the abduction and rape of a myriad of different children before his sights fell upon me in 2006.
When I tell my story publicly, I usually ask the audience: “What is the most important thing to us and to the future of our country?” The answer is plain and simple. Our children. How could someone as callous and destructive as McClintic be moved to a healing lodge? How can people who are supposed to ensure justice is done allow this to happen?
This is not the first time the Liberal government or parole boards have failed to keep child abusers locked up. Over the past few months, I have come upon multiple cases of convicted pedophiles and child murderers being released or having their sentences reduced.
For example, Ryan Chamberlin, a Saskatchewan hockey coach who admitted to sexually abusing four young boys after a prior history of sexually abusing children, was released after serving less than four years in prison.
His mother told the media: “It is so sickening to even think he’s going to be back out and I can’t do anything more about it,” adding that men like her son can’t change and the federal government must act to keep them behind bars.
Cyle Larsen, a pedophile who has multiple convictions and has not sought treatment, was released recently after serving 12 months in a Calgary correctional facility. The Edmonton Police Service went so far as to issue a public statement saying they fear Larsen, who plans to live in Edmonton, “will commit another sexual offence against someone under the age of 16 while in the community.”
The striking statement, according to the force, was issued as part of its “duty to warn the public about the risk Larsen poses.”
“Larsen is considered an untreated child sex offender with pedophilic interests towards both male and female children,” police said. “Larsen has a history of opportunistic offending against children known to him, however, (he) is also believed to be at risk of offending against victims unknown to him and has shown he will groom and/or lure his victims if given the chance.”
McClintic, a convicted child murderer, who is anything but a model prisoner, is being moved to a healing lodge intended to rehabilitate prisoners with light sentences. Translation: her punishment for murdering and assaulting a child will now amount to living with minimal security in a facility that receives child visitors.
What kind of person does not understand that these “people” do not change? Predators are predators. A 25-year study of sex offenders in Canada found about 3-in-5 offenders reoffended (based on sex re-offence charges or convictions or court appearances data). That figure increased to more than 4-in-5 when all offences and undetected sex crimes were included in the analysis.
These loopholes are making our justice system look like a game of catch and release with no more than a slap on the wrist for a consequence. The real punishment is handed off to victims and their families.
What makes this such a painful blow for victims and families impacted by these monsters is the failure of the [Liberal] government to stand up for the rights of the victims and survivors.
Some people are offended when victims speak out seeking justice. They appear to defend the rights of predators who destroyed lives. Predators like mine, who raped and abducted many children in his pedophilic career, were allowed to walk free from a federal prison on his way to the front door of my parent’s Saskatchewan farmhouse in 2006.
Eight times the system failed to stop a monster from getting back on the streets. Eight times a family was ripped apart never to be whole again. Eight times he slipped through the cracks and on the ninth time he chose the wrong child and the wrong family; a family who is not giving up until justice is truly served.
I am raising my voice for those who cannot to let the Stafford family, victims and victims’ families know that they are not alone while standing against the failing justice system. I am standing up for the protection of our children. I am speaking out for what is right.
The author of this letter is a farmer and a volunteer firefighter.
Bill C-75 needs to be chopped up to allow for careful consideration and proper debate. Anything less would be to fail Canadians.