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Killers like Bruce McArthur should wait longer to apply for parole: Tory MP

Conservative MP James Bezan stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on October 25, 2018. As Bruce McArthur and the Quebec City mosque shooter await their prison sentences, a Conservative MP is trying to change the law to increase the amount of time a convicted killer must spend behind bars before they can apply for parole. Tory MP James Bezan has a private members' bill that would give judges and juries the ability to increase parole ineligibility for convicted killers from the current 25 years to 40 years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — A Conservative MP is hoping to increase the amount of time a convicted killer must spend behind bars before they can apply for parole just as serial killer Bruce McArthur and the Quebec City mosque shooter await their sentences.

James Bezan’s private members’ bill would give judges and juries the ability to increase parole ineligibility for convicted killers to 40 years, up from the current 25 years.

A first-degree murder conviction comes with an mandatory life sentence of 25 years, but if the judges in the McArthur and Alexandre Bissonnette cases decide their multiple murder counts should be served concurrently, they can apply for parole in 25 years.

Bezan says the rules place victims’ families in the difficult position of having to attend parole hearings for serious offenders who often do not qualify for parole.

A previous, almost identical bill introduced before the 2015 federal election did not make it through the often onerous legislative process.

Bezan notes the Liberals while in opposition backed that bill, and now hopes the party in government will help pass his legislation before June when MPs will leave for the summer and turn their attention to this fall’s federal election.

 

The Canadian Press