Press Conference from Pierre Boisvenu: Pretty Impressive

Translation of Pierre Hugues Boisvenu’s press conference this morning on the Conservative agenda for crime and crime victims. I must say I am impressed. I has done exactly what he said he would do, and in short time. And I agree, the Bloc has been nothing but a political gadfly: No ideas, no road to lead us out of this mess. Bravo:

• Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Thank you for coming.

• I would like to especially thank the invited guests for their presence and their support in this announcement.

• I am very proud to be here today, as a member of this government that believes, like most Canadians, that our correctional system and our parole system must first take into account the security of our population.

• Like them, I am a proud member of this government who, when he was elected for the first time, promised  Canadians might adopt an approach different from that of the previous government. When the Bloc says  that our government has a hidden agenda on justice and public safety, I always ask myself where was the Bloc in the last two election campaigns?

• We believe that the public wants the punishment of serious offenders to match the seriousness of their crimes, and that the rights of Victims should have priority over the rights of criminals.

• Victims have expectations and want the government to keep its promises, particularly those of
making our neighborhoods safer and to keep dangerous criminals in prison.

• Canadians demand more rigor in the rehabilitation of criminals and the recognition of the right of victims to speak. This is what we do. The victims have a voice in Parliament, and it is good.

• I am pleased to announce that our government continues to fulfill its promises. Today, we have presented an important bill to amend the principles of the Corrections Act and the setting of conditional release, and thus put an end to the automatic advanced release of criminals, and increase the effort of rehabilitation.

• I remind you that all the measures announced today are the measures I have advocated as president  founder of AFPAD.

• The bill aims to ensure that a single principle will override all others in the present correctional system, including decisions related to parole release: “THE PROTECTION OF THE COMPANY”.

• The “protection of society” will become the principle directive and the fundamental objective of the correctional system and parole system. Victims will express themselves more and our cities safer. I
recall that one of the first principles of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the right to security. We will show that principal respect.

• In the present system the criminals get a break in early parole through the review process. To explain,

• Criminals who have committed  non violent crimes may get parole after serving  sixth of their sentence, and parole  after the third of their sentence. Therefore, a thief, a drug dealer, or someone who commits fraud is likely to be met by a victim on the street sooner, much sooner. This situation frustrates judges and police officers working hard to remove these criminals from circulation.

• Even if the Parole Board believes that the criminal is likely to reoffend, it is obligated to grant freedom.

• Under the current system, a criminal sentenced to twelve years prison is almost automatically delivered into semi-freedom into a community after only two years of incarceration, and given full parole after only four years.

• The public wants change and that is what our Government is committed to.

• The legislation would also ensure that the courts intend to force these criminals to repair the harm caused to their victims. The possible imposition of penalties tougher for these criminals is only part of the solution.

• The legislative measures our government has presented will eliminate the accelerated review so that offenders serve a larger portion of their sentence in prison before they are eligible for early release.

• To further analyze these early-release cases, our government will increase the number of permanent Commissioners from 45 to 60.

• Additional modifications will be made to the Corrections Release Act to confirm that the primary purpose of the Corrections and Parole systems is foremost the protection of the population.

• This bill is consistent with the principals of  the Service Review Committee CSC, established by our government in 2007 to reform the prison system.

• We have made a commitment and we will respect it today. We ensure that offenders will assume greater responsibility towards their rehabilitation.

• The proposed amendments introduce a Parole merit system. The changes proposed by our government will also allow police to arrest without warrant any offenders who appear to not respect their conditions of parole.

• Finally, the changes proposed by our government demonstrate that the rights of victims are the real priority.

• Victims should be heard, in particular, in the correctional process. The bill presented today will allow victims to have a voice.  For example, the  right to participate in the VAC Board Hearings and to make statements will be enshrined in this Act;  Victims will have access to information on the temporary absence with escort and transfer of offenders;  Victims may obtain information on the participation of an offender in rehabilitation programs;  Victims will know if an offender has been found guilty of serious breaches of discipline in a correctional institution.

Finally, as requested by the AFPAD, we announce creation of a National Advisory Committee on matters relating to victims, which will be co-chaired by the Ministers of Public Safety and Justice Canada.

• Ladies and gentlemen, our government has promised Canadians that new approach would be adopted with respect to the correctional system  and to make public safety  a priority, to require criminals to meet their commitments, acts and to recognize the rights of the true victims of crimes.

• Help and support for victims rests with the provinces. We need to remind the critics of our Government  from the Bloc Quebecois of this fact.

• We can reaffirm that no other  Government has gone so far in recognizing the primary rights of Victims Of Crime over the rights of  criminals.

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