As promised in the 2013 speech from the throne, our government has introduced legislation to make sure a life sentence means a life sentence, for those who commit the most heinous crimes.
The Life Means Life Act would ensure that offenders who are convicted of heinous crimes or high treason will be imprisoned for the rest of their natural lives with no access to parole.
A life sentence under this act would be applied to premeditated murder involving sexual assault; a kidnapping-related offence; a terrorism-related offence; the killing of police officers or corrections officers; or conduct of a particularly brutal nature.
In addition to the mandatory sentences mentioned above, courts would have the discretionary option to impose life sentences without parole in any other first-degree murder case or in cases where an offender, previously convicted of murder or of an international killing under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, commits a second degree murder.
Eliminating parole eligibility would eliminate the trauma that parole hearings cause to the families and loved ones of their victims. To address constitutional concerns, this legislation will permit a criminal serving life without parole to apply to the Minister of Public Safety for exceptional release after serving no less than 35 years.
The proposed legislation on life sentences without parole would align Canada’s criminal justice approach with likeminded countries such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the U.S. and Australia.
My Private Member’s Bill, C-587, which I tabled four months ago, is aimed at establishing similar ineligibility for those convicted of the most heinous murders. The Government’s Life Means Life Act will fulfill the objective of my bill and I will let C-587 die on the order paper to allow the government’s bill to be completed as soon as possible before the coming election.
– Colin Mayes, MP