Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the residents of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, who, sadly, understand all too well what it is like to lose a friend, a family member, a loved one at the murderous hands of a convicted criminal.
My sympathy goes out to the family and friends of Marylène Levesque. She was murdered by the same man who murdered Chantale Deschenes. This man beat Chantale with a hammer, then stabbed her to death. Despite being convicted of a gruesome, misogynistic murder, this individual was given parole after only 15 years.
That we allow violent murderers on parole after such a short time troubles many Canadians. To learn that this dangerous woman-killer was encouraged by our justice system to pursue vulnerable women for his sexual gratification is horrifying. Many women feel like we have a justice system that is indifferent to violence directed at us. This case leaves us to feel like the justice system is the one directing the violence at us now. The scale of the failure in this case is enough to leave many people feeling hopeless, to despair that nothing will be fixed, that nothing will get better.
Those of us in the House do not have this option. We cannot turn away from the horror of this case and cases like it. It forces us to confront it. When will enough truly be enough for the House?
The House has already heard about Anastasia Kuzyk, Nathalie Warmerdam and Carol Culleton.
Carol Culleton had just retired from a career as a pay and benefits adviser with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Carol was also previously a small business owner, running a second-hand store with her husband. Carol lived in Ottawa but enjoyed spending the summer at her cottage on Kamaniskeg Lake near Combermere, a property which she was looking forward to selling, to downsize and simplify her life at retirement. Carol had been widowed in 2012, but had just started to find happiness with a new love, a man she described as her best friend. Carol Culleton loved and was loved.
Anastasia Kuzyk was a real estate agent in Wilno. She was known for being a hugely helpful, knowledgeable person with a great work ethic. Anastasia was a nature and animal lover. Anastasia was an accomplished equestrian who participated in numerous horse shows throughout her life, winning many ribbons and trophies. Anastasia was originally from northern Ontario, but moved to Wilno to work as a naturalist in Algonquin Park. Anastasia lived with her sister in their Wilno home. Her mother and another sister also lived in town. Anastasia Kuzyk loved and was loved.
Nathalie Warmerdam was a health care worker and volunteer. Originally from Toronto, Nathalie moved to Eganville with her husband, son and daughter in 2005. Nathalie worked in Eganville at the community care access centre and provided in-home care to recent surgical patients. Nathalie was also incredibly passionate in volunteering for co-operative police in the Killaloe area, a local community organization dedicated to securing positive changes in policing. Nathalie's 18-year-old daughter had just graduated from Opeongo High School earlier in 2015 and her 20-year-old son, Adrian, lived with her in Eganville. Nathalie was described as a beautiful person who cared about the well-being of her community. Nathalie Warmerdam loved and was loved.
On September 22, 2015, Anastasia, Nathalie and Carol were murdered by a man with a lengthy record of violently assaulting women. It is a day that will forever be burned into the memories of Ottawa Valley communities.
As horrific as that day was, it was all the days leading up to it when this irredeemable woman beater could have been stopped. The justice system and the different boards should have recognized the inherent danger his repeated history of violence against women posed. Instead, he was repeatedly set free as part of a series of events, which show how these women lived in a slow-motion horror film.
In 2010, the police arrested him for criminally harassing a woman for over a month. On the day his trial was to begin, the Crown stayed the charges.
In June 2011, he was charged with threatening to kill his soon-to-be ex-wife. Those charges would be stayed in 2012.
In July, he was arrested for assaulting another woman. Those charges were stayed in October.
On July 27, 2012, he was charged with assaulting Nathalie, threatening her son, threatening to kill the family dog, threatening to kill his ex-wife, again causing mischief to property and breaching probation orders.
When he was finally arrested on September 5, he assaulted a police officer and urinated on his jail cell walls. The assault and uttering threat charges were stayed after Borutski pled guilty to assaulting an officer and urinating. At this point, a prison rug had received more justice than multiple women. His guilty plea earned him 33 days in jail, and on January 8, 2013, he was released.
On December 30, 2013, he was charged with an assault after attacking and choking Anastasia. Since he had committed his latest attack on a woman while on probation, the Crown and judge expressed their concerns about Borutski ignoring probation orders and the increasing seriousness of his crimes. Their concerns amounted to 393 days in jail, including time served.
On December 27, 2014, he was released from jail. Only 269 days later, he would begin a killing spree that would shatter three families and devastate entire communities.
On the morning of September 22, he drove to Carol's remote cottage, and by his own admission, he chased her inside. She tried to lock the doors, but he broke through a window. He attacked her, grabbing a cable TV coil and began to choke her to death while she begged for her life. Rather than flee the scene, he lit a cigarette, smoked it and left it and his DNA in Carol's sink.
Finishing his smoke break, he resumed his murder spree. Stealing Carol's money and car, he drove to the home of his next victim, Anastasia Kuzyk. Anastasia's sister, Eva, was upstairs when she heard her sister scream. He had attacked Anastasia in her kitchen, but when confronted by the sister, he went to his car and returned with a shotgun. Eva was able to run away; Anastasia was not.
While Eva was calling the police, he was on his way to his last victim's home. Nathalie was at home with her son when Borutski arrived. Nathalie had known the type of man he was over the years and had taken steps to protect herself. She kept a shotgun under her bed. She carried a panic alarm. She had security cameras installed in her home. Those cameras recorded him walking into her home. He found her and began to chase her through the house. Her son was able to flee and call the police, but by then it was too late.
In just under two hours, three women had been stalked and murdered. The next five hours would see the largest manhunt in Ottawa Valley memory. Schools were in lockdown. Helicopters with infrared cameras searched the dense bush and extensive farm fields that make up the Ottawa Valley.
It is a day seared into the memories of each and every one of my constituents. It was the day that never should have happened but for a justice system that systematically denies justice to vulnerable women. Four times in the preceding five years he had been charged with attacking a woman, and four times the charges were stayed. He violated his probation when he attacked and choked Anastasia. Despite the court taking note of his increasing violence and his utter disregard for court orders, he was sentenced to serve an additional 160 days in jail. Does that sound just?
Chantale Deschenes was beaten with a hammer and stabbed to death. Her murderer spent only 15 years behind bars. Does that sound like justice?
Marylène Levesque was the victim of a system that showed more concern for the sexual gratification of a misogynistic murderer than for her personal security. Does that sound just? No. That is not what justice sounds like.
Let me read what Ontario Superior of Court Justice Robert Maranger said when he sentenced the man who had taken Anastasia, Nathalie and Carol's lives from us. He stated:
From time to time, a crime is so deplorable, so devoid of mercy, so cold-blooded, that denunciation, retribution and giving a sense of justice to the many victims and the community at large becomes the paramount and virtually singular consideration.
I would like to thank Justice Maranger for his words.
However, it should not take the slaying of three innocent women to remind us that serial abusers of women are not victims of society or poverty or bad parenting. They are evil men who, if given the chance, will inflict greater and greater harm on more and more women until violence against women is taken seriously. Parole boards should not let offenders out of jail before they have served their full sentences.
Mr. Borutski received 60 years. At the time of his sentencing, it was said that he would die in jail. We know only too well from recent events that only a small percentage of his sentence need be served, and the gruesomeness of this crime will be forgotten. We could again see this person on parole, and more serial murders, unless the Parole Board is fixed.