Metro Van mayors sign letter calling on feds to deny Robert Pickton parole

Eleven Metro Vancouver mayors have signed a letter calling on the federal government to deny serial killer Robert Pickton parole.

In a press release, Delta Mayor George V. Harvie says the mayors are “imploring” the Federal Minister of Justice to guarantee Pickton isn’t granted parole “under any circumstances.”

“Allowing Robert Pickton any opportunity for parole would not only undermine the integrity of our justice system but also jeopardize the safety and well-being of our communities,” the letter states.

“His demonstrated lack of remorse and the depravity of his actions serve as stark reminders of the danger he poses to society.”

Pickton was found guilty of six counts of second-degree murder in December 2007. When the Supreme Court of Canada upheld his sentence, first-degree murder charges involving 20 women were stayed because Pickton was already serving the maximum sentence.

Beginning Feb. 22 Pickton became eligible for day parole, with eligibility for full parole beginning in 2027 – 25 years after his original arrest date on Feb. 22, 2002.

Harvie’s letter has been cosigned by Mayor Jamie Ross of Belcarra, Mayor Ken Berry of Lions Bay, Mayor Brad West of Port Coquitlam, Mayor Ken Sim of Vancouver, Mayor Megan Knight of White Rock, Mayor John McEwen of Anmore, Mayor Mike Hurley of Burnaby, Mayor Nicole MacDonald of Pitt Meadows, Mayor Malcolm Brodie of Richmond and Mayor Meghan Lahti of Port Moody.

In addition to their requests pertaining to Pickton’s parole, the mayors’ letter also calls for a “critical reassessment” of parole and sentencing framework for mass murders and prolific offenders. It notes that Bill C-48, which enables life imprisonment without parole for convicted mass murderers, was struck down in a Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2022. The court’s decision in R. v. Bissonnette reportedly deemed parole ineligibility unconstitutional.

“It is crucial that our laws not only respect the Charter but also uphold the principles of justice, ensuring that penalties for heinous crimes are just and maintain public confidence in our criminal justice system,” the letter states.

Finally, the letter also mentions that to grant Pickton parole is to undermine the “Calls for Justice” included in the National Inquiry’s Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Speficially, the mayors refer to call 1.5, which asks governments to prevent violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

The letter was sent on April 24.

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