Is it a pardon or not?
A pardon is a valuable thing. Who wants to have a criminal record tied to your back when you don’t have to? But is it really a pardon? The answer is both yes and no depending on what kind of person you are or how you tend to look at things.
While it is true that pardons are no longer called pardons it is still the same thing. You could call your cat a dog but it would still be a cat.
Since the conservative got their hands on Canada’s pardon program the term pardon has been changed to record suspension. But aside from making them slightly more difficult to obtain once a record suspension is granted your criminal record is removed. So it’s still a pardon.
Of course this is just semantic nitpicking and you can call it whatever you like. But whether you call it a pardon or a record suspension or a get back to work authorization application it amounts to the same thing and it is an important thing for anyone who has a criminal record to obtain.
For some reason the Conservatives were intent on changing the wording of the program. I suspect this is because deep down Conservatives aren’t really known for taking a rehabilitation approach to criminal justice. But I think it also might have a lot to do with the fact that when they really sat down to take a look at the Canadian pardon program they found themselves at a loss about what to do.
It’s understandable because as far as rehabilitation programs go it’s hard to imagine one being more successful than the pardons canada program. Approximately 97% of people granted a pardon never re-offend, which most people who work in criminal justice find remarkable.