Record Suspensions Are Coming
Â Record Suspensions – Why Now?
With a Conservative majority government the crime bill is certain to be one of the first measures to be pushed through parliament. Although the pardons / record suspensions issue is not at the forefront of the crime push it is still important. I have been following Bill C23 since it first appeared in the house so here are my expectations on what we can expect to see in the Tory crime bill. They have pledged to pass this legislation within 100 days of achieving a majority.
The chances are good that the pardons side of the new bill will read exactly as Bill C23-B currently does. If so we know exactly what to expect. This will not mean the end of pardons / record suspensions but it will exclude a fair number of people from the program.
But there is an alternative possibility. With a Conservative majority it is possible that Harper could soften his approach slightly and make some amendments to the crime legislation. If that is the case the following is what I would expect from the new crime bill regarding pardons.
I am fairly confident about the following changes to the pardon program will take place even if the details of Bill C23-B are amended.
*The term pardons will be replaced with record suspensionsÂ (this is purely symbolic and not very important, people will continue using the term pardon)
*Sexual offences involving children will be ineligible for record suspensions
*Serious criminals will be ineligible for record suspensions (how they will define serious criminal is still up for grabs but the 3 strikes rule might remain and that would be the definition)
*Fee increase is certain to happen. The fee is currently $150 but will be increased to $631 (so if you need a pardon get going NOW!)
The following are some items that could perhaps be amended if theTories decide to takeÂ a more moderate approach.
*Changing the waiting periods from what they are now to 5 and 10 years (it is remotely possible that the waiting periods will be left alone, but I am not confident about this)
*The 3 strikes rule (it is possible this will be amended as there were even Conservatives who opposed this measure)
With a little luck we might see a softer approach now that Harper doesn’t have anything to prove. He is PM, for the next four years with no risk of a hasty election.
The bottom line about the Tory majority is that if you need a pardon get it started ASAP. Nothing is guaranteed anymore and there is a decent chance that if you start a pardon today we could get it into the Parole Board before the changes take place.