Niagara MP Tony Baldinelli wants to make sure infamous serial killer Paul Bernardo stays in a maximum security prison for the rest of his life.
“Paul Bernardo, in our community, is synonymous with evil,” Baldinelli said during a press conference in Ottawa on Sunday.
The conference comes on the heels of a decision to move Bernardo out of a maximum security facility and into a medium security prison.
Bernardo is a convicted murderer of two teenage girls, Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, and a rapist of 14 women.
Marcia Penner, a Niagara-on-the-Lake resident and childhood friend of French, joined Baldinelli and Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre at the press conference.
“We need to bring justice back to the victims and their families once and for all,” Penner said at the press conference.
Poilievre called the choice to transfer Bernardo to a medium security facility “unacceptable and outrageous.”
Contrary to what the Liberal party has said about Bernardo’s transfer, Poilievre said the party in charge does have the power to keep Bernardo in maximum security.
Poilievre said in a press release that the Liberals could have “reversed the decision” by ordering Correctional Services Commissioner Anne Kelly to force repeat murderers to serve their “entire sentences in maximum security.”
Baldinelli, who represents Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie, told The Lake Report that families are repeatedly traumatized when stories about Bernardo resurface.
They are traumatized every two years when they testify at Bernardo’s parole hearings, he added.
Baldinelli says the move to medium security is only possible because of an amendment to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.
“They called it the least restrictive environment in determining placement for offenders,” he said.
Baldinelli wants to reverse the 2019 amendments and reinstate a standard set by the Conservative government in 2012, which places offenders according to a standard of “necessary restrictions.”
Baldinelli said he did not have a clear idea of how the transfer would impact the restraints on Bernardo, but was concerned the switch would get him access to day passes.
Under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, medium security prisoners may be granted “an unescorted temporary absence” for medical reasons, community service, family contact or personal development.
These absences are capped at 15 days and can only occur three times a year for medium security prisoners.
Temporary absences are granted by the Provincial Parole Board and subject to conditions, including whether or not the inmate presents “undue risk to society.”
Maximum security prisoners are not entitled to temporary releases.
“If you’re classified as a dangerous offender, and involved in multiple murders, you should be spending your time in a maximum security institution,” said Baldinelli.
“Paul Bernardo should spend the rest of his days behind bars,” he added.
The Conservative MP said some violent criminals just can’t be rehabilitated.