Lametti says Tories exploiting tragedies ‘to score political points’ on bail reform

By CityNews Staff

OTTAWA — Canada’s justice minister accused Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives Thursday of using tragedies such as the killing of a young Ontario Provincial Police officer “to try to score political points.”

Lametti made the remark in the House of Commons while debating a motion put forward by the Conservatives, which calls on members of Parliament to push Ottawa to enact various bail reform. 

Raquel Dancho, the party’s public safety critic, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has failed to act in the face of violence committed by offenders who have been released on bail. 

She pointed to the fact that one of the two people charged with first-degree murder in the late December killing of OPP Const. Greg Pierzchala had initially been denied bail on a separate assault and weapons charge. He was later released, and after he failed to show up for a court hearing, a warrant was issued for his arrest. 

Dancho said premiers and police chiefs are demanding action from Ottawa, and the party’s motion says Ottawa must ensure that the justice system “puts the rights of law-abiding Canadians ahead of the rights of violent, repeat offenders.”

Lametti told the House he’s looking into concerns voiced by premiers, but defended Canada’s justice system, saying the law already stipulates that those deemed to pose a significant threat to society should not be released on bail. 

“I’m disappointed that the official Opposition is using tragedies to try to score political points,” he said. 

“Canadians know that these are serious and complicated issues and that there are no quick or easy solutions.” 

Both the NDP and Bloc Québécois said Thursday they would not be supporting the Conservatives’ push to ask the government take a tougher stand on bail, although their MPs agreed that the recent spate of violence seen in the country is distressing and solutions are needed. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2023.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

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