Duncan tables bill to change parole periods in heinous crimes

In this supplied photo, SDSG MP Eric Duncan tables a private members bill seeking to change parole eligibility periods for people convicted of heinous crimes. The private members bill was tabled Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (Eric Duncan via Newswatch Group)

OTTAWA – Local MP Eric Duncan has tabled a private members bill aimed at supporting families of victims of brutal crimes.

Duncan’s legislation would amend the Criminal Code of Canada, allowing judges to increase the parole eligibility period on life sentences from 25 to 40 years in cases of abduction, sexual assault and murder.

Duncan calls it “a compassionate bill that supports victim’s families, who have already been traumatized enough.”

The MP believes it would protect against “re-victimization” since victims’ families usually attend parole hearings to argue why the criminal should remain behind bars.

Quebec Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu has also tabled an identical bill in the Senate.

A similar bill went through the House of Commons during the legislative session between 2015 and 2019 but was not passed before Parliament dissolved for the 2019 federal election.

While private members bills rarely become law, Duncan is confident this one can be passed with bipartisan support.