EDITORIAL: Kimberly’s Law good starting point

Creating new legislation, especially complicated regulations, takes time and patience

We applaud the family of Kimberly Proctor for standing up for change, knowing that doing so would thrust the tragic and painful case of their daughter’s murder back into the spotlight.

We are reminded of the efforts of Grant De Patie’s parents. Their lobbying for new regulations to protect late-night service station workers, prompted by their son’s death in 2005 as he tried to stop a gasoline thief in Maple Ridge, led to Grant’s Law, which ultimately mandated pre-payment for gas transactions.

Kimberly’s Law calls for a cluster of proposals, including changes to the federal Young Offender’s Act and a national strategy to single out youth with possible violent tendencies and steer them toward support.

Some of the lawyer-reviewed proposals have merit, such as the creation of specific protocols that would allow schools to more quickly identify individuals who show potential for threatening or dangerous behaviour.

Others seem unenforceable, such as making parents financially responsible for the human damages caused by their children, in cases of murders committed by youth.

Civil court already provides a venue to dispute instances of personal loss. Not only that, the creation of a blanket law for financial liability – even in murder cases – ignores the legal tenet that says every case must be heard on its merits.

While another proposal, the bumping up of youth to adult court for both murder trials and sentencing, makes sense, it would not jive with the financial liability request. How can we make parents responsible for the actions of their “adult” children?

Kimberly’s Law involves many jurisdictions and authorities. Therefore, the chances of it proceeding as written are very slim indeed.

But as with any piece of legislation, it takes time to hammer out the best workable solution, one that will have a lasting effect.

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