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North Okanagan-Shuswap MP questions Bernardo transfer

COLUMN: Mel Arnold calls for criminal justice

Mel Arnold

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP

Canada’s justice system should deter and punish violent criminal offences, but the Bernardo prison transfer fiasco raises questions of the Trudeau government’s handling of violent offenders.

Bernardo’s many brutal crimes and a parole board review two years ago that found Bernardo had “no remorse, no empathy, no insight” were not enough for the PM and his Minister of Public Safety, Marco Mendicino, to be aware of Bernardo’s transfer from maximum security prison, let alone intervene to stop it. Mendicino is responsible for Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), but when news of Bernardo’s transfer broke, both Mendicino and Trudeau claimed they did not know of the transfer even though their offices were informed months earlier.

The doctrine of ministerial responsibility is central to Parliament as it holds ministers responsible for the actions and inactions of their ministries; Mendicino and Trudeau’s claims of being oblivious to the transfer do not absolve them of ministerial responsibility.

Soft-on-crime Liberal legislation has made life easier for violent criminals. Bill C-83 established prison selection based on giving inmates the least restrictive environment possible while bill C-75 established catch-and-release bail policies allowing criminals to reoffend. Canada needs crime reduction and greater public safety, but Trudeau’s government is failing these outcomes.

On June 14, my Conservative colleague, MP Tony Baldinelli, introduced bill C-342 that would require maximum security prison for dangerous offenders and those convicted of multiple first-degree murders. I support this legislation because criminal penalties must fit the crime and provide deterrence- and dangerous offenders belong in maximum security.

Common sense Conservatives will bring home a justice system where public safety and victims’ rights, not criminals, come first and we will continue to fight for laws and a system of justice that we can depend on for our collective and public safety.

READ MORE: How Paul Bernardo’s prison transfer renewed old legal debate over two words

READ MORE: Trudeau learned of Paul Bernardo transfer day it happened, before Mendicino knew


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