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View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is with great concern that I rise today to speak to the motion before the House that condemns the decision of the Parole Board of Canada to grant day parole to a violent offender, which led to a young woman's murder by an inmate on day parole in January of this year, and to instruct the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to conduct hearings into this matter, including a review of the changes made by the government in 2017 to the board's nomination process with a view to recommending measures to prevent another such tragedy from happening.
On January 22, our country was shocked and saddened over the news of the death of Marylène Levesque. The vivacious young 22-year-old woman was found dead in a Quebec City hotel room. Her accused murderer, 51-year-old Eustachio Gallese, brutally murdered his own wife in 2004 by beating her with a hammer and stabbing her multiple times. He was subsequently sentenced in 2006, receiving a life sentence without parole for 15 years. However, in January of this year, the Parole Board of Canada, acknowledging risk, allowed this man with a history of domestic and, I would say, sadistic violence against women out on day parole, which resulted in the death of the innocent Marylène.
This incident is beyond unacceptable and highlights once against the failure of the Liberal government's soft-on-crime approach. As everyone in the House can remember, it was not too long ago in 2018 when the Liberals fought tooth and nail against doing the right thing and putting Tori Stafford's killer back behind bars after Tori's murderer had been transferred to a healing lodge. We now have another brutal tragedy in front of us, and the Liberals' limited reactions are designed to minimize the severity of what has happened.
We are in 2020, and there is no room for such tragedy in our society. It is time for the Liberal government to assume responsibility, take action, talk less and put the rights of victims, especially vulnerable women, ahead of the sexual needs of criminals. Murderers such as Mr. Gallese should never have been given day parole in the first place, but what this highlights and what is is troubling to me are the number of inexperienced members handling such sensitive files.
Current laws on sex work, introduced by the Conservative government in 2014, clearly indicate that it is illegal to purchase or advertise sexual services. This is not about whether sex work is legitimate work; it is about a murder that was preventable.
However, when Mr. Gallese's day parole was extended last September, a Parole Board officer noted that a so-called risk management strategy was developed in order to allow Gallese to meet women, but only to respond to his sexual needs. Really?
Such lack of judgment is extremely disturbing and clearly shows how low a priority the Liberal government gives to the safety of women and all Canadians. The government's mismanagement and revolving-door prison system is costing innocent Canadians their lives. This is not high-calibre decision-making.
Canadians are the ones at risk and the ones facing the consequences of this Liberal government's failures. By letting murderers loose on our streets, the Liberals are putting many women at risk, as well as men and young children.
We all know that in 2017, several Parole Board members sent a letter to the Prime Minister warning him about the potential ramifications of changes to the process for appointing Parole Board members. However, they never got a reply. What happened instead? Many of them did not have their terms renewed and were replaced by new members with very little experience.
In fact, last Wednesday, according to two former Parole Board members, the change to the Parole Board of Canada's nomination procedures directly resulted in the appointment of members with a lack of experience and may have been a critical factor in the death of the innocent Marylène Levesque.
Over the past couple of the days, the public safety minister has told the House of Commons that a full investigation will be conducted, jointly by the commissioner of Correctional Service Canada and the chair of the Parole Board of Canada, to determine the circumstances surrounding Gallese's release.
Considering the seriousness of the current situation, bureaucrats investigating bureaucrats is not enough. We are demanding a full independent external investigation. This is a matter of transparency, security and safety of all Canadians. If the Liberal government has nothing to hide and wants to be completely transparent with Canadians, it should stop hiding behind curtains and vote in favour of our opposition day motion tomorrow.
Our criminal justice system is discredited, our security is threatened, women are especially vulnerable and it is our duty as the official opposition to hold the Liberal government to account and shed light on errors in our systems.
This is about the safety of Canadians, particularly women. This investigation should not be taken lightly.
There must be justice for Marylène Levesque—
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