Robert Pickton now eligible to seek day parole. Tories say it is ‘unacceptable’

Click to play video: 'Families of Pickton victims protest day parole eligibility'
Families of Pickton victims protest day parole eligibility
WATCH: Families of Pickton victims protest day parole eligibility – Feb 21, 2024

Prolific Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton is now eligible to apply for day parole, a move Conservatives say is “unacceptable.” It is the latest case putting a spotlight on Canada’s justice system and the impacts high-profile cases have on the families of victims.

Pickton was charged with 26 murders for the deaths of women who disappeared from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and was convicted of second-degree murder for six of them.

He was sentenced to life in prison in 2007. He is now in his 70s.

In a statement released Thursday, Conservative justice critic Rob Moore said that “monsters like Pickton should never be eligible for parole.”

“Much like Paul Bernardo, the only way Robert Pickton should ever leave prison is in a coffin,” he said.

“Pickton’s parole eligibility means that for every two years from now until his death, he can retraumatize the families of his victims by making them explain why he must be held in prison.”

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Advocates and family members challenging RCMP application to destroy Pickton exhibits'
Advocates and family members challenging RCMP application to destroy Pickton exhibits

Police raided Pickton’s pig farm in Port Coquitlam, B.C., more than 20 years ago, where the remains or DNA of 33 women were found following searches made due to reports of illegal firearms.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

It was there that a vigil was held Wednesday night and attended by family and friends of the victims.

Many of Pickton’s victims were of Indigenous ancestry.

“The fact that he can actually apply is horrific,” Palexelsiya Lorelei Williams told Global News Wednesday. She is the cousin of Tanya Holyk, a victim of Pickton’s.

“Our justice system is horrific. It’s racist and puts Indigenous women’s lives in danger,” she said. “It makes me sick to my stomach.”

Moore said Conservatives want legal changes so that convicted killers like Pickton serve consecutive sentences to guarantee a life behind bars.

Story continues below advertisement

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre posted a similar statement on X, formerly Twitter, saying Conservatives want to see the possibility of consecutive sentences.

Sentences in Canada are served concurrently by default, and an attempt to impose consecutive sentences to delay parole eligibility for Quebec City mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2022.

Pickton’s eligibility for parole comes after serial killer Paul Bernardo was transferred from maximum to medium-security prison in May 2023, a move that received significant public backlash.

— with files from Global News’ Elizabeth McSheffrey and Angela Jung.

Sponsored content