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The other day I wrote a piece commending NDP MP Peter Stoffer for acting more conservative than the Conservatives for his proposals to remove the GST from books and home heating fuel. I think both his private members bills are worthy of support and still encourage everyone to contact their own MP and recommend a YES vote on those two proposals.
Today I'm writing about Mr. Stoffer's personal pet issue, making the murder of a police officer "more illegal" than it already is.
Technically, of course, that's not correct. I just really liked the sound of it.
Technically, what Mr. Stoffer wants is harsher penalties for those who murder police officers.
The applicable current Criminal Code sections read as follows:
S. 231.(4) Irrespective of whether a murder is planned and deliberate on the part of any person, murder is first degree murder when the victim is
(a) a police officer, police constable, constable, sheriff, deputy sheriff, sheriff’s officer or other person employed for the preservation and maintenance of the public peace, acting in the course of his duties;
(b) a warden, deputy warden, instructor, keeper, jailer, guard or other officer or a permanent employee of a prison, acting in the course of his duties; or
(c) a person working in a prison with the permission of the prison authorities and acting in the course of his work therein.
235. (1) Every one who commits first degree murder or second degree murder is guilty of an indictable offence and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life.
(2) For the purposes of Part XXIII, the sentence of imprisonment for life prescribed by this section is a minimum punishment.
The only thing "more severe" than being imprisoned for life would be capital punishment, and I do not believe that is what Mr. Stoffer has in view. I have contacted him about this point but have yet to hear back from him.
The text of Mr. Stoffer's amendment of section 235 reads as follows:
(2) Section 235 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):
(3) For the purposes of Part XXIII, every one who commits first degree murder where the victim is a peace officer is guilty of an indictable offence and shall be sentenced to
imprisonment for life without eligibility for parole.
It appears Mr. Stoffer wants an explicit declaration that cop killers cannot be eligible for parole, even though the current penalty clause would seem to make that notion implicit.
Earlier on I called this his "personal pet issue", and with good reason.
Acting as though the current Criminal Code penalties aren't enough, this is the sixth time Mr. Stoffer has brought forward his Private Members Bill to amend "the Criminal Code to impose more severe penalties on persons who assault peace officers and to eliminate the possibility of parole for those who murder peace officers."
The reality of the situation for cop killers is that they are never getting out of prison.
The Conservative government has already repealed the so-called "faint home clause" that gave 1st and 2nd degree murderers the opportunity to apply for parole after serving 15 years.
That makes me ask a few questions:
1. Is Peter Stoffer paying attention on Parliament Hill?
2. If he is paying attention, then what is the point of his Private Members Bill C-239?
3. Why did he and his party vote AGAINST removing the "faint hope" clause?
I still haven't heard back from Mr. Stoffer or his parliamentary assistant...