Canada's sex offender legislation: 'tough on crime', short on smarts!


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News updates

Posted on December 14, 2010 at 8:33 AM Comments comments (2)

NEWS UPDATE (11/26/2010):

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has last week published a report which reinforces much of what we have been trying to warn Canadians of for many months now. You can read their report here:



NEWS UPDATE (12/16/2010):

Yesterday Bill S-2 became law.

Amongst other things this bill will make inclusion in the National Sex Offender Registry automatic. Inclusion will be based solely on the nature of the offense, not by severity or risk of re-offense, nor will it differentiate between violent or nonviolent offenses.

The Conservative government has ignored the fact that there is little or no evidence that the Registry is effective. Instead of determing why it has not been effective the government decides to simply expand it and make it all-encompassing.

What do you think is going to happen when the number of individuals on the registry double, trebles, quadruples...?  which it will. Let's forget the resulting increase in monetary costs and cost in required manpower. What happens when a child does go missing, a thankfullly very rare occurance, and the police want to investigate former offenders in the area. Ignoring the fact that most former offenders never reoffend (which explains why the registry has  "not solved any crimes where the offender was unknown"), what will police do when instead of 1 or 2 high-risk offenders in the vicinity, there are now 200 people on the registry, with a variety of wide-ranging offences?

It unlikely that the new legislation, in the words of Vic Toews, Canada's Minister of Public Safety, "will better protect Canadians from being victimized by sexual offenders". For the conservatives that really isn't important. They have been successful in looking "tough on crime" while doing absolutely nothing about addressing the important underlying causes of crime; that, it appears, is good enough for them.

Response from the Senate

Posted on September 10, 2010 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (15)

To    "[email protected]"

date    Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 3:13 PM

subject    Re: A request for your review and response.






I reed all your email. I don't agree with you at all. First I don t believe the stats about sex offenders recidivism. The real stats are talking nearly 25% of recidivism like the criminal who killed my daughter. Secondly, those criminal need to be control no medicine or treatment possible for the majority


Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu


[email protected]

b. 613-943-4030

c. 514-231-8016


So we keep the road on adopting those bills.





I'm really very sorry for your loss. I certainly agree with you that some criminals, whether their crime was sexual in nature or otherwise, need to be controlled. These are individuals for whom, unfortunately for us all, neither medicine nor any form of treatment will be useful. Such individuals need to be singled out and they need to be subjected to continual supervision. Individuals like these, like the monster that killed your daughter, is the exception and are, thankfully, very rare.


Labeling every individual who has committed a sexual offense as a 'sex offender', with all that such a label entails, does not make those individuals equal. Yes, the man that killed your daughter offended sexually. He was also a murderer and perhaps a psychopath. Do you believe then that all individuals who offend sexually are murderers and psychopaths?  I certainly hope that you do not. Why then would you argue that these individuals should be treated equally?


Here are the cases of two individuals who are/were on the sex offender registry. They, like the majority of individuals on the registry are not rapists and murderers. Do you believe that they should not have the opportunity to pay their debt to society and to be reintegrated into the community? Do you truly believe that any measures the government decides to take against 'sex offenders such as these are justifiable?


You said that you read our email in its entirety. I thank you for that honor. Did you also have an opportunity to look at our website and the research it provides? I think that you did not, for if you had, you would have found the evidence to be incontrovertible. Let's assume however, for the sake of argument, that you are correct and that the recidivism rate for individuals who have offended sexually is 25%. This infers then that 75% of these individuals pay their debt to society and never commit another crime. How then can you say that "those criminal need to be control no medicine or treatment possible for the majority"? No matter what you may believe the rate of recidivism to be, the majority of offenders never commit another crime.


Once again, I am so very sorry for your loss. What that man did to your daughter was horrible, but your anger- however justifiable it may be, does not justify the harm that Bill S-2 and Bill C-23b will do to the majority of former offenders who are now law-abiding, productive Canadian citizens.


Thank you for your time,


Steven Yoon

Canadians For A Just Society




Responses from Government

Posted on August 15, 2010 at 9:14 AM Comments comments (1)



We have received welcome responses from some governmental sources. We only hope that the opposition parties will remember their comments, and the facts, when the proposed legislation comes to a vote in the fall!





Ottawa, June 22, 2010

Dear Mr. Steven Yoon:


We acknowledge receipt of your submission concerning Bill C-23, An Act to amend the Criminal Records Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts and Bill C-34, An Act to amend the Criminal Code andother Acts.


Your submission will be translated and distributed to the Members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security for their information.


Thank you for your interest in the work of the Committee.







Roger Préfontaine

Clerk of the Committee

131, Queen Street, Room 5-78

Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0A6

Tel: (613) 944-5635

E-mail:  [email protected]


July 13, 2010

Thank you for your e-mail concerning Bill C-23. This bill has currently been sent to the Committee of Public Safety and National Security. Before the Liberal Party takes a firm stance on this bill, we would like to discuss it within the committee. We are concerned that the proposed changes were brought forward rather quickly, and that the government received insufficient expert guidance. While we support any measure that improves and increases public safety, we are sceptical about the Conservatives’ motives in invoking Clifford Olson, Graham James and now Karla Homolka to stoke public fears about pardons when they are aware that focusing on the rarest and most egregious criminal cases like these are not the way to develop good law.


Thank you again for writing and rest assured that your comments will be considered by Mr. Rae while this bill is being discussed in committee. Please do not hesitate to contact us or any other Member of Parliament about this or any other issue.




Andrew Rae

Office of the Hon. Bob Rae

Special Assistant


On Behalf of:

The Hon. Bob Rae

House of Commons

Confederation Building Room 365

Ottawa, ON

K1A 0A6


[email protected]




June 29, 2010

Thank you for writing regarding the changes to the pardon process in Canada.

First, I appreciate that the issuing a pardon for a convicted criminal  is a matter of concern for you and one that should never be taken lightly. Most recently, Canadians were concerned about the potential pardoning of Karla Homolka.

The recent Conservative legislation, Bill C-23, proposed significant changes to how pardons are issued. The bill would change the rules for the issuing of pardons for not only violent offenders, such as Homolka, but non-violent offenders, as well.

Regrettably, the Harper government rushed the legislation at the very end of this parliamentary session and used the Homolka pardon as a hot-button issue to stamp through C-23. New Democrats agree that such a horrendous criminal as Karla Homolka should not receive a pardon. We also think that important government legislation deserves significantly more time for review and consideration than the Conservatives allowed.

On this matter, New Democrats pushed for a compromise. Thanks to the significant work of NDP Welland MP Malcolm Allen, the change that would prevent serious offenders like Homolka from receiving a pardon was fast-tracked. You can read more about Malcolm's efforts to block Karla Homolka from receiving a pardon at this link: Instead of simply acting on a reactionary response to one violent criminal, all Parties voted in favour of this important amendment. On June 25th, the Senate passed this same section of Bill C-23.

New Democrats believe that being smart on crime is far more effective than simply being tough on crime. People make mistakes, and it is unfair to forever condemn and blacklist an individual for being an ex-offender. The model of our criminal justice system is based on the ideal that people can be rehabilitated, and become law-abiding citizens who contribute to society. That is why we have a pardon system in place. To reinvent the wheel completely in a matter of a few days is both short-sighted and reckless.

Again, I appreciate having the benefit of your comments to help with our study of Bill C-23 in the fall session of Parliament.




Jack Layton, MP (Toronto-Danforth)

Leader, Canada`s New Democrats


from Prime Minister/Premier ministre <[email protected]>

to Steven Yoon <[email protected]>

date Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 10:25 AM

subject Office of the Prime Minister / Cabinet du Premier ministre

Please know that your e-mail message has been received in the Prime Minister's Office and that your comments have been noted.  Our office always welcomes hearing from correspondents and being made aware of their views.


Thank you for writing.


Sachez que le Cabinet du Premier ministre a bien reçu votre courriel et que nous avons pris bonne note de vos commentaires. Nous aimons être bien informés de l'opinion des correspondants.


Je vous remercie d'avoir écrit au Premier ministre.