Poilievre Says Paul Bernardo Should Leave Prison ‘In a Box’ Following Transfer Decision

Poilievre Says Paul Bernardo Should Leave Prison ‘In a Box’ Following Transfer Decision
Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre speaks to reporters at a media roundtable event in Toronto, Ontario, on May 24, 2023. (Allen Zhou/The Epoch Times)
Matthew Horwood

After a review found the decision by Corrections Service Canada to transfer serial killer and rapist Paul Bernardo to a medium-security prison was “sound,” Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre blamed the decision on the Liberals’ Bill C-83 and committed to keeping mass murderers in prison “until they die.”

“I commit today that when I am prime minister, I will adopt a law keeping all mass murderers just like Paul Bernardo in maximum-security penitentiaries where they can do no more harm and where they have no freedom to harm other people,” Mr. Poilievre said during a press conference on July 20.

“Paul Bernardo should leave prison in a box, when he’s dead. He should never be out of a maximum-security penitentiary. To allow it is an injustice to the victims and their families.”

The Conservative leader’s comments came after a review of the decision to transfer Mr. Bernardo to a medium-security prison found that the Correctional Service of Canada’s decision was well-grounded.

Mr. Bernardo is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole after kidnapping, torturing, and murdering Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, as well as the sexual assault and manslaughter of his 15-year-old sister-in-law Tammy Homolka in the 1990s.

Mr. Bernardo, who has been serving his sentence for the last 25 years, was quietly transferred on May 29 from a high-security prison to a medium-security facility. The transfer means he can spend less time in his cell and associate with other inmates.

Mr. Poilievre blamed the decision to transfer him on Bill C-83, which abolished administrative and disciplinary segregation in all federal institutions, increased mental health services and support for indigenous people, and bolstered independent oversight in the Canadian correctional system.

“Bill C-83 requires the commissioner to give the least restrictive environment to all prisoners, including mass murderers. That was a decision that Justin Trudeau made,” Mr. Poilievre said of the bill, which was passed in 2019. “The solution is very clear and very obvious. Either the Trudeau government should issue a directive, which is currently in its authority, to require all mass murderers to stay in maximum-security penitentiaries, or they should adopt Conservative Bill C-342, which would do exactly the same thing.”

Bill C-342 is a private member’s bill that seeks to “keep dangerous offenders and mass murderers like Paul Bernardo in maximum-security prisons” by requiring that all court-ordered dangerous offenders and mass murderers be permanently assigned a maximum-security classification.

Mr. Poilievre said Mr. Bernardo’s transfer was not the fault of Correctional Services Canada, which was just “implementing the law that Trudeau passed.”