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GOVERNMENT OF CANADA INTRODUCES BILL TO END EARLY PAROLE FOR MURDERERS

CANADA – OTTAWA, June 5, 2009 – The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today introduced legislation that would amend the Criminal Code to repeal the “faint hope” clause. This would mean that criminals who commit first- or second-degree murder will no longer be able to apply for early parole.

“Our government believes murderers must serve serious time for the most serious crime,” said Minister Nicholson. “By ending ‘faint hope’ reviews, we are saying ‘No’ to early parole for murders. We are also sparing families the pain of attending repeated parole eligibility hearings and having to relive these unspeakable losses, over and over again.”

Currently, first-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence with no eligibility for parole for 25 years. Second-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence with no eligibility for parole for a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 25 years. Under Section 745.6 of the Criminal Code — the “faint hope” clause — offenders sentenced to life imprisonment can apply, at the 15-year mark in their sentence, for an earlier parole eligibility date.

Offenders who commit murder on or after the day this legislation comes into force will not be eligible for early parole under the “faint hope” regime. Those offenders currently serving their life sentence or awaiting sentencing will face tougher rules when they apply for early parole.

Jacques Gourde, MP for Lobtinière – Chutes-de-la-Chaudière and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue, took part in Minister Nicholson’s announcement.

“This is another example of our Government delivering on its commitment to strengthening Canada’s criminal justice system,” said Mr. Gourde. “We are continuing to follow through on our tackling crime agenda. We are standing up for victims of crime, and we are putting the rights of law-abiding citizens ahead of the rights of criminals.”

An online version of the legislation will be available at www.parl.gc.ca