Great news! Today Ralph Goodale, Public Safety Minister, announced a plan to overhaul Canada’s pardon system which was made, in Goodale’s words, more punitive under the Conservative government.
I couldn’t agree more. The changes to the pardon system were done purely for political reasons and I believe the Conservative government should be ashamed of its stance on pretty much anything related to crime and punishment. It’s probably fair to say that most of the people working in criminal justice would agree with me.
Based on the announcement this review should include:
- The User Fee Act which increased the cost of filing a pardon to $631.
- Review of the increase in waiting periods to apply for a pardon.
- Review of the term “record suspension”.
These are just most obvious aspects of the changes to the pardon system that need to be re-adjusted. If I am able to get a meeting with Mr. Goodale I would like to discuss the following.
- Review of the policy regarding unpaid fines: a major obstacle to applying for a pardon is unpaid fines. Our position is fines must be paid but it should not affect waiting periods. We have clients with unpaid fines from 30 years ago that now must wait an additional 10 years for a pardon.
- Review of the strikes clause: 3 strikes rules are notoriously misguided in criminal justice.
- Review of the services industry and the need for government regulation.
So stay tuned. This is a very, very good development. I would also suggest getting a file going today. With a strong majority government there is a very good chance these changes could take place within the year and hopefully much sooner. Let us be the ones to stay informed and make sure you get your pardon as soon as possible.
Anyone with questions can direct them to me personally.
514-842-2411 x 227