If not, when will you?
I admit to being guilty of jumping the gun when I first learned that Graham James was pardoned. I actually believed that meant he was parolled and probably free and clear to work and/or hang around children again; more unsuspecting prey.
Hell, goes to show, sometimes even the best of us; those of us who usually do investigate and think outside the box can sometimes come oh so close to drinking whatever kool-aid corporate media comes up with.
Then, sometimes you get an article like this editorial, from the Grope & Fail. Yes, the one basically calling for Ottawa not to jump the gun on rewriting rules for pardon. It didn’t take me long after that to realize that James did indeed complete his sentence, however inadequate it may have been for the harm he caused to Sheldon Kennedy and others. Furthermore, in order for him to have gotten the pardon, he must have been keeping his nose clean for the past five years; a requirement to even be granted such a thing.
Now Stevie gets all hot and bothered over it enough to call puppet Vic Toews to change the way pardons are done. But why? Is this more about shifting blame away from himself and his flunkies? Or did he find some celebrity molester to use as a strawman to convince the public that we must change the way pardons are issued, if not scrapping pardons entirely?
I am believing that it’s a bit of both; particularly the latter. With the latter, I’m definitely starting to see a pattern. It looks like Steve is going to find strawmen to convince Canadians to drink his kool-aid; whether it’s tough on crime, pardons, torturegate or universal social programs.
Remember not that long ago Steve got hot and bothered over Clifford Olson being eligible to receive his old age pension? My co-blogger did a masterful job describing how Olson is being used to set the table (as well as social programs) for cutting old age pensions for everybody. We all know Olson is one of the most despicable monsters on the face of the planet. The Left Hand was expressing concern that Steve would only want the voters to look at Clifford Olson and be distracted while he sets the table for some more sinister deed; further gutting social programs; getting rid of old age pensions.
I think James has now become the ‘Clifford Olson’ for pardons. Let’s all focus on the outrage at him being out in public again, while Steve guts the pardon program: a program that actually isn’t broken; it actually works quite well.
Since pardons are designed to help ex-convicts reintegrate into productive society, Ottawa should avoid the temptation to rewrite the Criminal Records Act because of one lone controversy. There have been 234,000 pardons issued since 1970, and fewer than 3 per cent have been rescinded – though even a suspicion or allegation of wrongdoing is grounds for doing so. More than three million Canadians have a criminal record; integration is important for society.
If this strategy of putting James front and center of the whole pardon issue in order to justify scrapping it and convincing Canadians that the pardon system is actually broken, society would be much much worse for it. The crime rate would surely go up even.
The fact is, many of us have done something stupid after turning 18. Perhaps we have a past we’d very much like to shed in favor of leading a normal productive life and having positive relationships with functional people; the potential to earn and living and thus, pay taxes. Pardons allow for these folks to achieve all of that and more.
Without pardons, what motivation would an ex-convict have to stay clean? Without pardons, many would not be able to find work, or choices of employment would most certainly be limited if they’re lucky to find work; more than likely, it’s a minimum wage dead end job either cleaning or on an assembly line or general unskilled labor. Nothing wrong with those jobs, but shouldn’t someone with a dubious past they’re trying to shed with potential be entitled to more choices? Should they be condemned forever?
Like Dan Gardner of the Ottawa Citizen says, Steve issuing an impulsive order on Good Friday to push Toews to come up with some kind of pardon reform or legislation to scrap it entirely, much like his ranting about Clifford Olson’s pension is indeed an ” Atrocious way to run a country”. Gardner also wonders how and who leaked the fact that James even received a pardon in the first place? This is an important question, given that it’s not legal for police, prosecutors, or other officials to reveal pardon information. Only if the minister personally approves the release of such information, and only if he does so in accordance with the criteria in law, is it legal. Steve, of course, is not stopping to wonder where the leak came from or how to deal with it. Why would he?
In fact, I would venture to say that this is yet another case of ‘faux’ outrage. I’m sure Steve and Toews are yucking it up somewhere; celebrating an instant strawman to fall into their laps to pursue Steve’s big dreams of that tough on crime a la Americana.
The truth is, the public shouldn’t be hearing about details like the pardon of a sex offender who must be keeping his nose clean if he is pardoned, nor should they be hearing about the old age pension benefits of Clifford Olson. As this letter to the editor of the Edmonton Journal explains; no good can come of bringing up the names of these criminals repeatedly. In fact, it can bring back even more pain to their victims.
…if we want to enact new legislation for such heinous criminals as Clifford Olson and Paul Bernardo. it is this.
There should be a publication ban on their activities for the rest of their lives. If I was a victim’s parent I would want to know that they are locked up for life and never hear their names again, except for one thing, their death notice.
It must bring back such painful memories each time these beasts make the news.
The same goes for making James’ pardon public. The fact is, whether James received a pardon or not; whether or not it’s publicized or not: there is nothing to stop other of his victims like Theo Fleury to come forward and press new charges, which, no doubt would be dealt with accordingly, including rescinding said pardon. How does knowledge of this pardon actually help victims like Sheldon Kennedy continue going on with their lives as functionally as possible?
Way to go Stevie! Is that political agenda worth making the victims of your straw men suffer further pain? Oh, stupid question. Stevie, incapable of empathy, wouldn’t allow a tiny detail like perhaps causing a victims’ family further harm to get in the way of his agenda, now would he?
I wonder who they’ll use next? Can they perhaps find an infamous minor to promote a reform to put 14 year olds in adult prisons? What recently released convict suffering from an illness to finally scrap the Canada Health Act?
Hell, I wonder who would be the next straw man for which agenda? Any bets that it would perhaps be Paul Bernardo to push the return of Capital Punishment in Canada? Given how young Bernardo still is, he would be the better straw man to that end than even Olson, who at age 70, surely can’t have much time left amongst the living.
Update on that Pardon Thingey: Let’s add a straw woman to the mix: Karla Homulka. Yes, the she-devil herself who got a sweetheart deal as a result of crown prosecuters taking the easy way out.
Anyway, Brother Steve and Vic Toews are feverishly racing against the clock to rewrite laws on the pardon system. Homulka is eligible in July. Brother Steve and Vic are shooting for this Fall. I have no doubt that Steve is making ol’ Vic making this his top priority; 24/7.
Again, no I don’t think she deserves to be pardoned, just like I didn’t believe she should have been let out of prison at all or at the very least, not out in public without the strictest of conditions, but, as mentioned above, the blame remains squarely on those prosecutors who made this sweetheart deal with her. In fact, if the crown did more investigating that would have led to the inevitable discovery of the video implicating Homulka, I don’t think this would be in the news: she would still be locked up like her ex-monster, Paul Bernardo.
My problem with this is this is just all too convenient for Brother Steve’s real agenda. Oh yeah, they can talk only sex and/or violent crimes, but then, what’s to stop them from banning pardons on other crimes? Brother Steve hints as much when he muses about 99% of pardon applicants get one. Funny, how he only fumes about Graham James’ freedom to travel without mentioning criminal records. He doesn’t mention anything about James’ potential to earn a living.
Forget travel, as I’ve mentioned above, pardons are essential for those ex-convicts to be able to turn their lives around, so they can earn an honest living and be able to apply for housing. Take that away and odds, are the prison system would be bursting at the seams. To understand what I just mentioned: watch that Morgan Freeman movie The Shawshank Redemption.
Like James, if Homulka receives a pardon, her record will send red flags if she attempts to apply for jobs with children, or other position of confidence. She will never be able to get those kinds of jobs.
Again, Brother Steve only thinking of himself and disregarding the victim. The French and Mahaffey families don’t need to hear the name Karla Homulka splashed in the media everywhere they look. Maybe they knew about her impending eligibility for a pardon and perhaps not. The point is, they already know she’s loose and that’s what matters most, do we really need to fill them in on every little detail of her life? I can only imagine what new pain they could be feeling now.
Besides, with the all the media attention Bernardo and Homulka have received over the years, would a pardon really make any difference in Homulka’s life?