Mr. Speaker, I will be speaking in support of the motion and sharing my time with the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
It is a motion that would not be necessary if public safety had been seriously considered. We are facing a tragic situation, which we simply cannot turn a blind eye to. Changes need to be made, and they need to be made right away.
A woman, Marylène Levesque, is dead, not killed by an escaped prisoner but by a violent killer out on day parole. We must ask how it was that Eustachio Gallese was on day parole in the first place.
In 2004, Mr. Gallese murdered his wife in cold blood by beating her with a hammer before fatally stabbing her with two knives. He was convicted in 2006 and sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole for 15 years. This wife killer should not have been eligible for parole until next year. How was it that he was out on day parole in the first place? Do court sentences matter anymore?
If it was not bad enough that he was on day parole, he also had no restrictions limiting his time with women. This was a man with a history of violence toward women, yet he was regularly out in the community consorting with female sex workers and he was violent toward them. In fact, he was banned from a massage parlour in the area for being violent and aggressive.
Then two weeks ago, he engaged with another sex worker, Ms. Levesque, in a hotel room and brutally stabbed her. This should not have happened. This woman should still be alive. Our correctional system, our parole system and the Liberal government failed Marylène Levesque and the public.
“Why” and “how” are the questions that Canadians are asking their government, and they deserve answers.
Actually, Canadians deserve more than answers. They deserve to feel safe in their communities and homes. They deserve to have a government that puts their safety first, not the sexual fantasies of a convicted wife killer.
Sadly, over the last four years we have seen too many times the system bending to criminals to give them more comfort, instead of providing victims with comfort. Whether it is allowing child killers to serve time in minimum-security healing lodges, or allowing wife killers unsupervised access to sex workers, criminal rights seem to come first under the current government.
It takes an outrageous act and a massive outcry before the government wakes up and does something. That action only lasts until a story is out of the headlines, and then we are right back where we started.
When this happens again, will we see some real action? I say when and not if, because it is probably only a matter of time.
Who will be the next victim? Who will be the next reoffender? Will it be Terrence Burlingham, who raped and murdered two young girls in the 1980s in British Columbia? In 2018, it was found that Mr. Burlingham posed a danger due specifically to the presence of sexual sadism, anti-social personality disorder and psychopathic features, yet Mr. Burlingham recently received permission for supervised absences.
Interestingly and sadly enough, back in the 1980s, Mr. Burlingham was under mandatory supervision orders arising from break-and-enter charges when he committed these grisly murders in the first place.
Will it be Shane Ertmoed? In October 2000, he murdered 10-year-old Heather Thomas of Surrey. He received a mandatory life sentence, with no eligibility for parole for 25 years.
Heather was visiting her father's Cloverdale townhouse. Three weeks later, her body was found floating in Alouette Lake located in my riding. Ertmoed told police he invited Heather into his townhouse, laid her down on the floor, removed her pants and underpants, and choked her while stifling her screams of protest.
He used his black football bag to carry her body along with her clothing to his vehicle and drove to Golden Ears Provincial Park before hiding the bag in dense forest. The next day he returned, recovered the bag, inflated a small dinghy and dropped the bag into the lake.
The faint hope clause under which offenders convicted of first-degree murder may apply for a reduced parole eligibility period after 15 years in prison was scrapped by the Conservative government in 2011. However, because this crime predated the law, he was eligible to apply for a hearing.
Heather Thomas, only 10 years old, could easily have been my daughter. Mr. Ertmoed worked in the townhouse complex next to ours and was very friendly toward my daughter and the girls she played with. They had a lemonade stand. They called him "the rocket".
In our society, women deserve protection and that is the objective of this motion.