Pardons in Canada are not well understood. For the most part, theÂ people who need a pardon look into the available avenues and in the process learn a little bit about Canada’s pardon program and how it works. On the other hand those who don’t need pardons in Canada usually don’t bother with it at all and as a result, understand very little about it. This makes sense.Â But every once in awhile I encounter someone with very little understandingÂ of the pardon program, no need of the pardon program, but who nonetheless has strong feelings about pardon and those who would pursue the removal of a criminal record.
Usually in this case I’m dealing with the farther leaning right wing crowd and more often than not this type of person has decided that the whole business of pardons is for the birds. Or to put it in other terms,Â theyÂ don’t believe that a person can change. Once a bad nut always a bad nut, they claim, and the tag of criminal record should always apply. Pardons simply undermine police ability to do their work.
But closer inspection of the pardon program in Canada’s reveals that the majority of those people who would pursue a pardon have been arrested long, long ago for relatively trivial matters. The criminal justice system rarely exists in a world of black and white. Those who are arrested are not necessarily bad guys. On the other hand those who stay away from the long arm of the law aren’t necessarily the good guys either.
TheÂ bottom line isÂ that everyone makes mistakes. And if we penalized ALL of us for life just because we made a mistake we would all be carrying a very heavy burden.
So if you don’t believe in the pardon program in Canada please give it some more thought because chances are you know someone who is a good person but who also has a criminal record. That person, just like all of us, deserves a second chance at a good name.