Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has criticized the decision made by Corrections Service Canada to transfer the infamous serial killer and rapist Paul Bernardo to a medium-security prison. Despite a review finding the decision to be “sound,” Poilievre attributed it to the Liberal government’s Bill C-83. He vowed to enact a law that would keep mass murderers like Bernardo in maximum-security penitentiaries for their entire lives.
During a press conference on July 20, Poilievre declared, “I commit today that when I am prime minister, I will adopt a law keeping all mass murderers, just like Paul Bernardo, in maximum-security penitentiaries where they can do no more harm.” He firmly believes that individuals who commit heinous crimes should remain imprisoned until they die, stating, “Paul Bernardo should leave prison in a box, when he’s dead. He should never be out of a maximum-security penitentiary. To allow it is an injustice to the victims and their families.”
Poilievre’s comments followed a review of the decision to transfer Bernardo, which concluded that Corrections Service Canada had made a well-grounded decision. Bernardo, known for kidnapping, torturing, and murdering Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, as well as sexually assaulting and killing his 15-year-old sister-in-law Tammy Homolka in the 1990s, is currently serving a life sentence with no chance of parole.
Unbeknownst to the public, Bernardo was quietly transferred from a high-security prison to a medium-security facility on May 29. This move allows him to spend less time in his cell and interact with other inmates. Poilievre attributes this transfer to Bill C-83, a piece of legislation that was passed in 2019.
Bill C-83 abolished administrative and disciplinary segregation in all federal institutions, aimed to improve mental health services and support for indigenous people, and strengthened independent oversight within the Canadian correctional system. Poilievre asserts that the decision to transfer Bernardo was in line with the directive within this bill. He claims, “Bill C-83 requires the commissioner to give the least restrictive environment to all prisoners, including mass murderers. That was a decision that Justin Trudeau made.”
To address this issue, Poilievre proposes two options. The Trudeau government could issue a directive to keep all mass murderers confined to maximum-security penitentiaries, or they could adopt Conservative Bill C-342, which mandates the same restriction. Bill C-342, a private member’s bill, aims to permanently assign a maximum-security classification to all court-ordered dangerous offenders and mass murderers.
Poilievre emphasizes that the transfer of Bernardo was not the fault of Corrections Service Canada but a consequence of implementing the law passed by the Trudeau government. He places the responsibility on the government to rectify the situation by either issuing a directive or adopting the Conservative bill.
In conclusion, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre criticizes the decision to transfer Paul Bernardo to a medium-security prison, vowing to establish a law that would confine mass murderers to maximum-security penitentiaries for the duration of their lives. Despite a review affirming the decision’s validity, Poilievre attributes it to the Liberal government’s Bill C-83, which aimed to improve various aspects of the correctional system. He proposes alternative solutions, urging the Trudeau government to issue a directive or adopt Conservative Bill C-342 to rectify the issue and ensure the just treatment of victims and their families.