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Officials said Tories’ Paul Bernardo bill unlikely to come before Parliament: emails

OTTAWA — Internal documents show government officials in the Privy Council Office discussed a Conservative private member’s bill launched in response to convicted killer Paul Bernardo’s transfer to a medium-security prison. 

Emails obtained by The Canadian Press through access-to-information law show that staff noted the bill would likely never come before Parliament for debate without the Liberal government being willing to move it up the priority list.

The bill proposed by Tory MP Tony Baldinelli seeks to change the law so that people convicted of multiple murders would be required to serve out their entire sentences in maximum-security institutions. 

Correctional Service Canada moved Bernardo in May, and a public uproar ensued as critics questioned the government’s handling of the move and families of Bernardo’s victims called for it to be reversed. 

A review of the decision found the decision to approve a transfer request from the notorious killer and serial rapist was sound and followed all applicable laws and policies.

Bernardo is serving an indeterminate life sentence, the stiffest under Canadian law, as a dangerous offender for the kidnapping, torture and murders of teenagers Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy in the early 1990s. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug.9, 2023. 

The Canadian Press


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