The federal Conservative government has recently announced legislation to eliminate pardons granted to criminals. If the bill, which was introduced on Tuesday, is passed, pardons would be eliminated and replaced with a more restrictive ‘record suspension.’ These record suspensions would be more difficult to obtain and would take longer to have granted. Those convicted of sex crimes against children or those with more than three convictions would be ineligible.
As the current system stands, there is generally a three to five year waiting period for criminals after a sentence has been served depending on the severity of the crime committed.
A pardon actually does not erase a person’s criminal record, but it may assist them in obtaining a job and travelling out of Canada. It is for this reason that opposition parties in Ottawa have said that before deciding whether or not to support the new piece of legislation, they want to examine it closely.
Some opposition party members also criticize the legislation as being proposed too quickly without a proper Parliamentary review; they have argued that a report done by experts would contribute to an evidence-based decision.
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