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


Responses from Government

Posted on August 15, 2010 at 9:14 AM



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.




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1 Comment

Reply Emily McNeil
11:13 PM on September 13, 2010 
Politicians are always good when they're tossing words around. Let's see how good their words really are when it comes time to vote.