Government, MPs look for ways to derail Homolka pardon bid

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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Ottawa -

News that sex killer Karla Homolka could be applying for a pardon within weeks has MPs scrambling to find a way to head her off.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is urging opposition parties to agree to a last-minute deal to push the government's pardon-killing bill through quickly.
The NDP is proposing a stop-gap measure that would derail a Homolka pardon bid.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is blaming the government for jamming things against the summer adjournment timetable.
This issue could keep the House of Commons sitting past its planned summer adjournment on Thursday.
Homolka, who served a 12-year sentence in a plea-bargain for her role in the rape-murders of Ontario teens Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, was released from prison on July 4, 2005. She's eligible to seek a pardon five years from that date.
Bill C-23, which is before a Commons committee, would change the whole pardon system and bar those convicted of serious violent or sexual crimes from even applying.
Toews says there are still some crucial hours left to come up with a solution, but says he's determined to get his bill through.
"There is no valid reason to hold this bill back," he said. "This bill should be passed, it should be passed now.
"I do not understand why any MP would say they have concerns with this particular bill."
Ignatieff says no one wants to see a notorious sex offender get a pardon, but he blames the government for fumbling the timing.
The bill was introduced in the Commons on May 11 and was left on the order paper until it was raised for debate on June 7. It received second reading on Monday and was sent to the public safety committee.
"It's really the government's fault is this is coming up at the end of the session," Ignatieff said.
He warned that rushing things can lead to errors.
"I don't want to make mistakes simply because the government didn't do its job. It left the resolution of an important moral question to the very end of the session."
New Democrat Malcolm Allen has offered a private-member's bill that would allow the National Parole Board to refuse any pardon that would "bring the administration of justice into disrepute."
That, he said, would prevent Homolka from getting a pardon and leave MPs enough time to give C-23 the study it deserves.
Toews, though, said he sees major problems with Allen's approach, although he wouldn't detail his concerns.
Bill C-23 replaces pardons with what are called "record suspensions." It extends the waiting period before an ex-con can apply for a suspension and bans serious criminals from even asking for one.
While Toews didn't mention Homolka by name, he did hold out the spectre of her winning a pardon by getting her application in before the law is changed.
"More than 99 per cent of the applications are basically rubber-stamped after the waiting period," he said.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has invoked Homolka several times as justification for the legislation.

Organizations: NDP, House of Commons, Commons committee National Parole Board

Geographic location: Ottawa, Ontario

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  • Jim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    I find it interesting that the government didn't address the issue of pardons long ago. It wasn't until the Graham James pardon (of 2007) made the news earlier this year and created such a furor with Canadians that the Conservatives even thought of addressing the issue. By raising the spectre of Karla, they've been able to ram through legislation before their 3 month summer break.
    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/

  • Garry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    If there is ever a time for our members of the federal Gov to pull up their sock and prevent her from getting a pardon, now is the time. She is as guilty as her husband. He is still in jail.

  • Off wit
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    bring back capitol punishment, that will stop these things.

  • Newfie Guy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    She should never have gotten the plea bargain in the first place. If you've ever read any of the literature on these crimes then you'd know they had enough evidence to convict both of them anyways. How she got a plea bargain I'll never know.

    Either way she should never be allowed a pardon. This would be pretending these crimes never happened. I can understand a pardon for something like you stealing food to feed your starving family and being caught. But this was a bit more heinous then that.

  • Blackadder
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Get your duds in order by's. The Tory 'tough on crime' showboat is set to cast off... again.

  • Jim
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    I find it interesting that the government didn't address the issue of pardons long ago. It wasn't until the Graham James pardon (of 2007) made the news earlier this year and created such a furor with Canadians that the Conservatives even thought of addressing the issue. By raising the spectre of Karla, they've been able to ram through legislation before their 3 month summer break.
    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/

  • Garry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    If there is ever a time for our members of the federal Gov to pull up their sock and prevent her from getting a pardon, now is the time. She is as guilty as her husband. He is still in jail.

  • Off wit
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    bring back capitol punishment, that will stop these things.

  • Newfie Guy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    She should never have gotten the plea bargain in the first place. If you've ever read any of the literature on these crimes then you'd know they had enough evidence to convict both of them anyways. How she got a plea bargain I'll never know.

    Either way she should never be allowed a pardon. This would be pretending these crimes never happened. I can understand a pardon for something like you stealing food to feed your starving family and being caught. But this was a bit more heinous then that.

  • Blackadder
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Get your duds in order by's. The Tory 'tough on crime' showboat is set to cast off... again.