Ottawa, ON – James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, released the following statement after tabling Bill C-296, Respecting Families of Murdered and Brutalized Persons Act:

“Today, I am pleased to once again table my private member’s bill Respecting Families of Murdered and Brutalized Persons Act.

“This bill will empower our courts with the judicial discretion to increase parole ineligibility when sentencing individuals who have been convicted of some of the most heinous crimes in our society — the abduction, sexual assault, and murder of their victims.

“Currently, most of these callous criminals are eligible to apply for parole after serving 25 years and can again every two years thereafter. While some of Canada’s worst criminals such as Clifford Olson are never granted parole, these convicts intentionally use the parole system to revictimize the families of their victims, resulting in the families unjustly having to relive the trauma of losing their loved ones.

“I first tabled this bill in 2013 after learning of the heinous crimes that killed Tori Stafford and Noelle Paquette. The primary focus of my bill is not about keeping criminals behind bars, but about doing everything possible to avoid re-victimizing the families of victims from attending unnecessary and painful parole board hearings. 

“We must continue to do more to ensure justice and respect for the families of victims and I am hopeful this bill will once again receive support across party lines.” 

Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, Conservative Senator for Quebec, also expressed his support for Bill C-296, and said:

“With this bill, the families of victims will not be revictimized each time a convicted criminal applies for parole at parole board hearings (PBC), who too often make requests that they do not comply with. Having supported many families through this process, I know that preparing for hearings causes them a great deal of harm and this bill could save them from having to go through this painful process repeatedly.”