Conservatives like mandatory minimums—the sentences that lead to life sentences for stealing a pair of socks. These laws take away judge’s discretion to tailor punishments to the crime.
It’s odd for Conservatives to give judges more discretion, but, in a weird way, that’s what they’re doing with bill C-587, which would allow judges to give longer sentences than required by the current law. Murderers who rape or abduct could be sentenced by their judges to up to 40 years without parole, instead of the 25 years—and only 25 years—they get now.
Judges would ask the jury for instruction. The judge could then, if she wished, give a life sentence without parole for a term between 25 and 40 years. Presently, all people serving life sentences are eligible for parole after 25 years.
C-587 is a private member’s bill, and it passed first reading with support from the Liberals. The NDP, including Mike Sullivan, voted against the bill.