In 1971, in Canada’s parliament, then solicitor general Jean Pierre Goyer spoke these words: “We have decided from now on to stress the rehabilitation of individuals rather than protection of society.”
Not rehabilitation of the individual “and” the protection of society, but rehabilitation “rather than” protection of society.
I wrote about this in a December 2010 opinion piece for the National Post at the time convicted British Columbia serial child murderer and rapist Clifford Olson had for the umpteenth time engaged in his own circus-like manipulation of Canada’s justice and societal systems.
Olson had just giggled arrogantly and publicly about being in receipt of Old Age Security cheques on a monthly basis, accomplishing what he’d set out to do — create a public rage.
It was what I added to The National Post piece that earned me criticism as a neanderthal.
“If final adjudication of Olson’s status were mine to determine he would long ago have felt a noose placed around his neck and a trap door giving way. … I have no interest in Olson’s well-being and am truly sorry regulations blocked correctional authorities from providing Olson his longstanding wish to be placed into general population of a Canadian penitentiary. In that arena Clifford Olson’s chances of survival would have mirrored those he granted his victims.”
Olson died on Sept. 30, 2011, of natural causes.
As I also wrote in that National Post piece, during a live broadcast from perhaps 25 years ago with members of the inmates’ committee at Joyceville Institution, I asked what would happen if Clifford Olson were to be placed among the general population at Joyceville. The answer was immediate: “he would be murdered.”
The prison justice code (certainly in men’s facilities) is why serial rapist and convicted murderer Paul Bernardo is kept in his cell 23 hours a day and away from other inmates With his erstwhile wife Karla Homolka, Bernardo sexually assaulted and murdered Karla’s 14-year-old sister Tammi and abducted and held captive Ontario teens Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, before murdering them both.
Karla Homolka, now free following the much-publicized “deal with the devil” she struck with the Crown, was sentenced to a mere 12 years in prison. Her “prison time” included being held in so-called condo living quarters. Four inmates per “condo,” each with her own room and key.
Homolka and her roommates held notorious “girls night in” parties with delivery pizza before Correctional Service Canada officials, shamed publicly, deigned put an end to the party prison environment. At least for Homolka.
Bernardo had the opportunity to petition for parole last year, but decided instead to wait for opportunity this October. Stand by, that’s just days from now.
I had the privilege of getting to know Kristen and Leslie’s parents Doug and Donna French and Debbie Mahaffy. They asked me to moderate the memorial service for Kristen and Leslie in Burlington, Ont., and serve as national trustee for the families Victims Assistance Fund during Bernardo’s trial.
The Frenchs and Mahaffys are wonderful people who were thrust into the public spotlight under the cruellest of circumstances, yet initiated efforts to safeguard Canada’s children from soulless and predatory criminals.
WATCH BELOW: Paul Bernardo facing weapon possession charge, may effect chances for parole, lawyer says
Years earlier, Sharon and Gary Rosenfeldt, stepfather and mother of Daryn Johnsrude, a victim of Clifford Olson’s, would regularly participate in broadcasts. They had founded the national organization Victims of Violence dedicated to speaking on behalf of victims and their families. Gary and Sharon cared deeply. Canada’s federal government of the day, perhaps not so much.
On one occasion, when Clifford Olson was granted a Section 745 parole opportunity hearing, the then so-called Faint Hope Clause, Olson was flown by private jet from his prison in Saskatchewan to the hearing in B.C.
Meanwhile, Gary and Sharon, who lived in Ottawa, were instructed by the federal government to make and pay their own way to B.C.
WATCH BELOW: Father of Tori Stafford speaks up against relocation of Terri-Lynne McClintic
Today, as Canadians rage over the almost casually accepted by the Justin Trudeau government move of Terri-Lynne McClintic to an Aboriginal healing lodge, Rodney Stafford, father of McClintic’s then eight-year-old Tori remains haunted by it all. His daughter would now be 18.
Michael Rafferty, McClintic’s boyfriend and fellow killer, who raped Tori, will also have rights and opportunity extended.
They and Bernardo have never been stripped of the right to vote or the right to personal privacy.
After an anonymous voice on the phone self-identifying as a disgusted guard at Kingston Prison reported Paul Bernardo was engaging in cohabitation in the trailer where inmates with spouses or accepted partners may overnight, a CSC spokesperson said on air, for all to hear, “Mr. Bernardo has his privacy rights.”
Surely, though, child killers are never released from prison. Think again.
Harold Smeltzer was found guilty of the 1980 first degree murder and sexual assault of five-year-old Kimberley Thompson. Smeltzer drowned “Kimmie” in a bathtub and disposed of her body in a garbage bag.
Smeltzer would eventually be granted day parole, during which he acknowledged feeling attracted to an underage girl.
Was this reason enough for revocation of parole for this child killer, who admitted to sexually assaulting as many as 40 young girls?
Not according to the parole board involved. Last year’s decision states: “The board is satisfied that your risk would not be undue on a further period of day parole and that your ongoing release will continue to facilitate your successful reintegration into the community.”
Horror for Kimmie’s mother Evelyn Thompson.
And there it is, full circle.
“We have decided from now on to stress the rehabilitation of individuals rather than protection of society.” — Canada’s solicitor general, Oct. 7, 1971.
Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.