Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday March 5, 2015
New law will ensure some criminals stay in jail for life, Stephen Harper says
The federal government will introduce new legislation to ensure that a life sentence means exactly that — a sentence for life without parole — Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Wednesday.
The new bill will apply to those convicted of first-degree murder involving the killing of police officers or correctional officers; terrorism; kidnapping or sexual assault and crimes “of a particularly brutal nature.”
It would also apply to those who commit high treason.
“Next week, our government will introduce legislation to ensure that for the most heinous offenders and the most horrific crimes a life sentence in Canada will henceforth mean exactly that — a sentence for life,” Harper announced in front of a crowd that included families of murder victims.
Currently, those who are convicted of first-degree murder face an automatic sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Harper said that in order to address constitutional concerns, under the new law, some killers serving life without parole will be permitted to petition the minister for public safety for release after serving no less than 35 years. (Source: Toronto Star)