LETTER: Sentencing needs to fit the crime

PM should be working on cleaning up and bringing forward bills that will allow equivalent sentencing for crimes

With the federal election around the corner, is Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his party trying to make up for lost time?

The Conservatives are a party that is pro law, but I find the recent actions of the party in trying to pass multiple bills related to the Canadian Criminal Code, in such a short period of time, co-incidentally just before an election, going too far.

One of the new bills the government is proposing is a life sentence without parole for 35 years for the horrendous crimes like killing of police, correctional officers, terrorism, kidnapping, or sexual assault.

You would think the government has considered both the pros and cons for these new bills, but here are some things to think about.

Before the Conservatives start proposing a bill that deals with a 10-year extension on life sentences they should clean up the sentencing and justice system and work from there, fixing the problems they come across such as the equivalent sentencing for their crimes.

Is it fair if someone can kill six dogs and get six months in jail, but others do harsher more brutal crimes and get less time in jail for their crimes? Then there is recent sentencing of a Victoria woman who knowingly put her child at risk by placing glass in the baby food jar just so she could get money from the baby food company. The Victoria woman was sentenced to 18 months in jail, followed by 18 months of probation. This horrendous crime deserves a harsher sentence.

What about children lured or forced into pornography and sex trade? What punishment will the offenders who used these children, taken away their childhood and left them physically and emotionally scarred, receive? These children have had their “normal” life taken away from them, never to get it back. So, should the offender of the crime be given a life sentence for ruining and ultimately destroying a person’s livelihood?

The above questions are not new and have been asked by victims and their families for many years.

Pressure from citizen groups, the media, government representatives, law enforcement, and even the judicial system itself has not resulted in changes. So how can the government bring forward a new bill on life sentences without parole when they cannot even keep the sentencing and punishments in this country for equivalent to their crimes?

Should Harper, instead, be working on cleaning up and bringing forward bills that will allow equivalent sentencing for crimes before trying to extend life sentences?

Harper instead should be working on cleaning up and bringing forward bills that will allow equivalent sentencing for crimes before trying to extend life sentences.

Isabella Crossman, Victoria

 

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