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Federal government ending entitlements for prisoners

Our justice system has the power to retire a killer from Canadian society, but it never intended to provide the murderer with a retirement behind bars.

Our justice system has the power to retire a killer from Canadian society, but it never intended to provide the murderer with a retirement behind bars.

Yet that’s exactly what has happened in the case of serial killer Clifford Olson, who murdered 11 children in 1980.

Canadians were appalled to learn recently that this ruthless mass murderer has begun to collect social security benefits, such as Old Age Security, while serving time in prison for his vile crimes.

Like Canadians across the land, the members of our Conservative government also find this state of affairs to be deeply offensive. And we’re taking steps to put a stop to it.

Our government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has proposed changes that will ensure killers like Olson will no longer receive social security that is intended for law-abiding Canadians who have contributed to the system.

It is wrong and unjust that prisoners who have caused such devastation and harm to society should still be the recipients of entitlements that are meant to support society.

Killers like Olson have forever altered the lives of their victims’ families, and they have traumatized the communities where they have committed their terrible crimes. It only adds insult to injury for the victims of violent criminals and their families to learn that their tax money is being sent to the perpetrator in prison for his personal benefit.

Implementation of our changes to the system will begin with inmates who are incarcerated in federal penitentiaries for two years or more. And we will work with provinces and territories to continue implementation in provincial and territorial institutions for criminals serving sentences of greater than 90 days.

It is estimated that our government’s proposed changes will save taxpayers many millions of dollars each year, but money is not the main principle here.

More importantly, our government through these changes, is making a strong statement that we will not allow the privileges that rightly belong to law-abiding citizens of Canada to also be enjoyed by criminals who, by the nature of their crimes, have forfeited their place in our society.

Blake Richards is the MP for Wild Rose


Airdrie Today Staff

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