Elizabeth May issued the following statement in response to the introduction of Bill C-53, which would impose an unprecedented mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison without parole for certain crimes:
“It is ironic that a Prime Minister who fixates so strongly on “barbaric cultural practices” wishes for our justice system to regress so far into medievalism. It is a fundamental principle of Canadian law that rehabilitation is possible and necessary. What does it say about our society if we make laws that say we can lock up a human being and throw away the key? What incentive would such a prisoner have to work to understand the horror they have caused? Will they ever need to learn compassion? What will deter them from attacking fellow inmates and guards?
This bill is not about public safety. It is about telling Canadians that if they do not trust Harper, there will be a terrible criminal roaming about their neighbourhood. No matter that this bill would apply to very few people, no matter that Parole Boards already do keep dangerous criminals in prison, no matter that the courts will likely deem this bill unconstitutional, no matter that mandatory minimum sentences have been proven not to work, no matter that our prisons are already overfilled, no matter that the murderers to whom this act would apply would likely never be released under the current regime. This bill is not about facts at all. It is about terrifying Canadians into voting Conservative. It is about election pamphlets.”