As always, it is important for constituents in our riding to try and respond to the questions I ask of you on my website or in my special mailings to your home. Recently, I contacted every household in our riding to alert you to some of the crime-fighting laws that our Conservative government is trying to get passed by the House of Commons. As usual, I have received a very generous response from concerned citizens of Crowfoot, and I am thankful.
Last week in Parliament we learned that the Liberal Senators have “gutted” Bill C-25, an Act to Limit Credit for Time-Spent in Pre-sentencing Custody. As I explained in my direct-mailing to you, Bill C-25 is one of the key pieces of anti-crime legislation that we were elected to implement. We want to end the practice of reducing criminals’ sentences at a two for one ratio for time served in pre-trial custody. For example, if a criminal is sentenced to a six year sentence, but was in jail for two years awaiting trial, then that person would serve only two years following the conviction and sentencing – four years for a six year sentence! Canadians have said, “Enough”! We have all seen the reports where sometimes, the two for one ratio turns into three and even four to one!
This Bill had passed the House of Commons and was being considered by the Senate Justice Committee when the Liberal majority of Senators on that Committee decided that they had had enough and would no longer support it. Opponents of C-25 complain of the ‘duress’ the accused suffers from a trial period that is too lengthy; they are concerned for the accused having to stay in certain prisons and jails that are ‘not up to snuff’. What I hear is that these unelected Senators are once again placing the rights of the perpetrator of crime ahead of the rights of the victim.
These Liberal Senators are ignoring the fact that Bill C-25 only applies to criminals who have been convicted and that are held in custody awaiting their sentence. To me, and the vast majority of constituents I have heard from, these convicted criminals should be considered as “already serving” their jail time. I have a real problem with ‘awarding’ them a two for one deal because a defence lawyer has pleaded and convinced a sentencing Judge that ‘the accused’ (now ‘the convicted’) has somehow suffered a hardship because they were serving a sentence that had ‘no end date’, or in a cell too cold, or the meals weren’t hot enough, etc.
We’ve also learned that Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is soft on crime. He is the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and has allowed his senators to continue the practice of two for one sentencing, in defiance of the will of the majority of the elected Members of the House of Commons.
Bill C-25 was passed unanimously by the House of Commons. Bill C-25 is supported by provincial justice ministers from all parties, as well as victims’ groups and police associations. Canadians have been clear that they want criminals’ sentences to reflect the crime. Everyone knows the age-old adage; “if you do the crime then you do the time.”
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or previous columns you may write to me at 4945-50th Street, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, toll-free 1-800-665-4358, fax 780-608-4603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.