Relatives of murder victim Kimberly Proctor are calling for tougher laws for youth crimes, a message that resonates with the federal Conservatives.
At Troy DeSouza’s campaign headquarters in Colwood on Thursday, Conservative cabinet minister Stockwell Day outlined a series of potential new crime bills, including amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
“We want Canada to be seen as a place where criminals … are being held accountable,” Day said, “that the damages, the consequences of crime are dealt with.”
Day said the laws should have more provisions for youth in the 16 to 18 year range to be elevated to adult court for serious, violent crimes. Day defined such crimes as anything from aggravated assault to homicide, and repeated violent crimes.
Jo-Anne Landolt, Proctor’s aunt, said the YCJA is too lenient on violent young offenders, such as Kruse Wellwood and Cameron Moffat, who pleaded guilty to the horrific murder of her niece.
“Since June when the young offenders were arrested, the family has been thrown into looking at young offenders, the young offender act,” she said. “We believe as a family there needs to be changes.”
Landolt called for young offenders charged with serious or violent crimes to be elevated to adult court, which would automatically mean adult sentencing for a guilty verdict.
Under the YCJA, young offenders can only be sentenced, not tried, as adults.
“If you do an adult crime, we think you should do adult time,” she said.
Landolt also called for judges to have more leeway on sentencing and the conditions surrounding that sentence.
In the case of a life sentence, as with the murderers of Proctor, young offenders can apply for parole after 10 years instead of 25 years.
Being forced to relive the crime in 10 years, and then possibly again every two years, is unfair and deeply traumatizing to the family, she said.