Weekly Commentary  

New laws and more gold

Around the world at any given time there are up to a couple of thousand Canadians in foreign jails.

The majority are in US prisons, and not for political reasons. Some have been convicted of non-violent crimes some are there because of very serious and violent offenses.

We have an international prisoner transfer agreement with countries like the US. In certain cases a prisoner in one country may request to be transferred back to the nation of their citizenship. If both countries agree on a particular request then the transfer takes place.

When the crime is a very serious one, the government of the country in which the crime took place may not want to send the perpetrator home.

In other cases the home country of the criminal may not want to bring a serious, repeat violent offender back home right away.

The year before I was Public Safety Minister the former Liberal government granted home-coming to 98% of convicted Canadian criminals who asked for it.

And the year before that one the federal Liberals granted home coming to 100% of all requests from criminals!

We stopped that automatic revolving door process and went to a system of considering each case on its merit.

It didn't take long until we began to be challenged on our policy of not automatically opening our arms (and neighbourhoods) to every criminal’s request.

So, to protect our policy position (and our law abiding citizens) we introduced this week, legislation that will help our position stand up in court. This new legislation will help us to continue to protect our communities from the most serious repeat and violent offenders.

This week we also introduced legislation to make the Sex Offender Registry more effective and protective. Previous to this, many cases of perpetrators of crimes against children were not required by judges to be on the Registry.

That will change with the new law. Also, any Canadian convicted of sex crimes in another country will be required to have their name on the Canadian registry.

And convicted sex offenders will also be required to register their DNA in a National Data Bank. We want to make sure our citizens, especially our children, are being properly protected.

On a more local issue, the Penticton Indian Band has been in court negotiations with the CPR (not the government) regarding parts of the KVR trail.

The Band has claimed for many years that the CPR acquired that land wrongly from them.

Now it appears that an agreement in principle has been reached between the Band and the CPR. When they finally come to an official agreement all parties have declared they will seek input from the public who may feel affected by any transfer of title.

I recently discussed this matter with Chief Jonathan Kruger. He is personally committed to working with the Regional District on a process of public input once the negotiations between the Band and the CPR are complete.

And on a final note, the Paralympics have ended in Vancouver in a mood of public jubilation and pride at what our athletes accomplished on the world stage. I attended sledge hockey and wheel chair curling.

Simply put, these events along with the other winter contests were as thrilling and exciting as you can imagine.

It made me feel prouder than ever of what we Canadians can do when we aim for golden excellence.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More Weekly Commentary articles

About the Author

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories