In the National Post today there is a story about the Conservatives plan to Americanize our Criminal Justice System. Yet another example of their attempts to fix things that aren’t broken – it shouldn’t come as a surprise to any Canadian. –
” National Post article on August 2, 2006.”
Toews may push for easier dangerous offender labelling
Janice Tibbetts, CanWest News Service
Published: Wednesday, August 02, 2006
OTTAWA – With one of Canada’s most notorious pedophiles back in the news, Justice Minister Vic Toews said he is rethinking a Conservative campaign promise for a new law making it easier to designate repeat sex offenders as dangerous offenders and jail them indefinitely.
Mr. Toews, acknowledging he could have trouble passing legislation in a minority Parliament, said he may opt to work with his provincial counterparts to devise national standards for when to seek dangerous offender declarations under existing laws.
As it stands, the current law is seldom used and that should not be the case, Mr. Toews said in an interview.
“Prosecutors tend to be very reluctant to use dangerous offender legislation,” he said. “Quite frankly, in the last number of months when I have been discussing this issue on an informal basis with police and with Crown attorneys, sort of the front-line people, it’s been not so much a criticism of the legislation, but the lack of resources and the lack of a clear standard across Canada as to when they should be proceeding on dangerous offender applications.”
The Conservative campaign pledge, which Mr. Toews reaffirmed in May, would change the law to make it a presumption that someone convicted of three violent or sexual offences, regardless of their nature, would be declared a dangerous offender.
“Many sexual offenders are hard-wired, they are not going to reform themselves and certainly those are the kinds of people we have to look at when we apply dangerous offenders legislation,” Mr. Toews said.
Under the current law, a dangerous offender application can only be made at the time of sentencing for serious crimes. As of last year, there were 336 dangerous offenders in Canada.
Convicted pedophile Peter Whitmore, whose last conviction was for breaching the terms of his release for an earlier offence, is a classic example of an offender who falls through the cracks of the dangerous offender laws, despite a pattern of re-offending, critics say.
“The legislation is not adequate right now,” said David Butt, a lawyer and spokesman for the child-advocacy group Beyond Borders. “What the legislation requires to trigger the application is a serious sexual offence, and the past few offences have been in the nature of breach of probation, and being in the company of a young child contrary to the terms of his release.”
The Harper government’s promise has been compared to the controversial “three strikes” law in the United States, where repeat offenders are automatically imprisoned for extended terms if they have been convicted of three or more serious offences.
The problem with the U.S. law, Mr. Toews said, is that too many people have been imprisoned for less serious offences. Also, the automatic nature of the law eliminates discretion for judges, unlike the Conservative proposal that gives leeway for offenders to challenge a dangerous offender application.
In Canada, police sometimes notify the public, through a news release, when there is a convicted sex offender in a community.
We see several flaws in this approach.
– This classification of sexual offences is based on perversion (fear of sex is a perversion).
– There is nothing wrong with the current Canadian Justice System
– All consensual sex should be legal.
– When we provide extra powers to the government to strip rights from citizens they inevitably use these powers.
– The sex negative campaign of the Conservatives is based on a believe that sexual offences are the same as violent offences and the same as murder. This is a lie.
– This law will be used to target sexual minorities and no differences will be considered to the individual circumstances of the acts themselves. All acts are individual acts and must be regarded by the courts individually.
– To begin to base justice on categories of acts and to ignore the individual circumstances is flawed.
– This relies on the creation of CLASSES of criminals. There are no CLASSES of criminals. No good rapists and bad rapists. No good murderers and bad murderers. Those who try to make you believe otherwise are telling you a lie.
– The intent to use PUBLIC SHAME is the loss of the ability to ever be able to permit any criminal the opportunity to serve their time for the crimes they have committed. It is not possible to expect any individual to resume a normal life when they are subjected to LIFE penalties for acts which are harmless in themselves ( as all consensual sex acts are ). It is symptomatic of the loss between church and state to try and infuse again that sense of SHAME the Conservatives want so desperately in Canada.
ALL governments that are unable to maintain a separation between Church and State are the same. I’m sure it is just as pleasant to live in the United States of America as it is to live in Iran. This is no situation that any TRUE CANADIAN should find admirable. These CONSERVATIVE FREAKS do not belong in Ottawa but in Washington D.C. It is time to send them packing.