IN THE HOUSE – ‘We just cannot apply a policy to only one woman’

(Image: Correctional Service Canada)

Excerpts from debate in Parliament on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018) as Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod spars with the Liberals over the transfer of convicted murderer Terri-Lynne McClintic to a healing lodge in Saskatchewan:

Cathy McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo) (Conservative)

Madam Speaker, I first want to correct the record. This has never been about healing lodges having a role to play in our correctional system. Certainly the Conservatives, as the member indicated by referring to the report, recognize that there is an appropriate role for them. What we are saying today that it is not an appropriate role for someone who quite recently killed an eight-year-old girl, continued to commit violent offences when she was in facilities and is now in a healing lodge, which is actually aimed at supporting people transitioning back into their communities. She is not going to transition back into her community until 2031.

The other thing I want to note is that what we are asking for is appropriate and well within the role of government. The member is reaffirming today that it is not possible for the government to reconsider a a policy that is completely inappropriate, which other governments have looked at in the past, and that it is unable to change it. Is that what she is saying, that the government is unable to change inappropriate policies that keep Canadians safe?

Karen McCrimmon (Kanata—Carleton) (Liberal)

Madam Speaker, we are saying that the rule of law must be paramount and that micromanaging individual offender decisions is not following the rule of law. The minister has asked for a review by the commissioner not only of this transfer but also of the overall policies and procedures that are currently in place, and we will wait for a report.

Cathy McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo) (Conservative)

Madam Speaker, if the Liberals believe it is outside the law for politicians to give directions to CSC on the security classification of prisoners, do they believe that section 17 of the corrections and conditional release regulations is also unlawful?

Karen McCrimmon (Kanata—Carleton) (Liberal)

Madam Speaker, I do not have a copy of that particular section, but I believe it will outline the same powers and authorities, the relationship between politicians and the departments. It is our job to write the legislation and ensure the policies are in place. It is the job of the departments to enforce those through procedures and policies.

Cathy McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo) (Convervative)

Mr. Speaker, what troubled me about the speech the member just gave was his talk that Conservatives want laws to be based on one case. What we have clearly said from the beginning is that sometimes we recognize an injustice from one case, and that action needs to be taken. That was done frequently in the past when something happened to show that our system was clearly unjust, often through an example as horrific as the Tori Stafford case. It is the government’s job to change the policies and take action to make sure it is fixed.

The member is beating all around the bush, but not recognizing that as legislators and as the government, they clearly have the ability and responsibility to recognize that this is not just a bad practice, but a horrific event with a horrific outcome and that they need to take action. Why are they so reluctant to acknowledge the need for action?

Anthony Housefather (Mount Royal) (Liberal)

Mr. Speaker, in some ways, I am in violent agreement with the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, whom I greatly respect. I agree this was a horrible crime and this person a horrible criminal, and it seems completely wrong that she is in this facility. I do think that the minister has taken steps to say that we have to review this policy and that we just cannot apply a policy to only one woman.

As the member said, we have to look at this as an example of a policy that has gone wrong, and that is why, as she heard in my speech, my proposal was that people convicted of first degree murder not be eligible to go to these lodges. I hope the minister will listen to me.

Source: Open

About Mel Rothenburger (6874 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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