OP/ED: Since when did the rights of prisoners start trumping the rights of their victims?

Rob Leggett
By Rob Leggett
April 12th, 2010

Do you know what these people have in common: Christine Anne Weller, Colleen Marian Daignault, Daryn Todd Johnsrude, Sandra Lynn Wolfsteiner, Ada Anita Court, Simon Patrick Partington, Judy Elizabeth Kozma, Raymond Lawrence King, Sigrun Charlotte Arndt, Terri Lynn Carson, and Louise Marie Chartrand.

It wouldn’t come as a surprise if you don’t know …. most people don’t realize the significance of these names or what they all have in common. Each one of these young lives was stolen before they were 19 years old.

The common tie to these 11 young people is none other than Clifford Robert Olson.

Ahhh…now there is a name we all recognize!

Everyone knows the name of Canada’s most infamous serial killer, but very few people know the names of Olson’s victims.

And society forgetting the victims’ names is the least of the most recent indignations their families have had to endure.

It began after the families of seven of Olson’s child victims obtained civil court awards in 1982, after Olson was convicted on Jan. 14, 1982, and each victim’s family was awarded an insulting $10,000 for their loss, while Olson received about $100,000 for leading police to the bodies of his victims.

Then the families were denied in a separate court bid to get access to the $100,000 the RCMP paid Olson in its notorious cash-for-bodies deal and the money was put in trust for his now-estranged wife Joan and their son, Clifford Olson III.

It has also come to the attention of the victim’s families that not only does he have his own website, but he is also selling personal items on a perverse auction site.

And as a further slap in the face it was revealed that Olson receives $1,169.47 a month for his Old Age Security (OAS) pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) from the federal government that is put in a trust account in the child killer’s name, and that his very first payment was $7,735.41.

It’s a travesty that the Canadian taxpayer is being forced to fund a trust fund for someone who has engaged in one of the most heinous crimes we could possibly imagine, but it is even more of a travesty that this man is alive at all. If ever there was a reason to have the death penalty in Canada, his case would be the one.

Harper has vowed that this will be changing and so it should, but what about the injustices we see every day that are becoming insulting to the families left behind?

Prisoners like Olson have the right to vote (thanks to the Liberals in 2003); they have the right to computer access, the right to pensions, etc.

But why are they entitled to these rights ? They removed themselves from society and should be afforded only the most basic rights, like food, shelter and clothing. The rest are not rights, they are privileges and it’s insulting to think that these people should have these privileges just because they feel deprived otherwise.

We in Canada are too concerned with coddling the dregs of society while we harass and insult their victims. Prison shouldn’t be fun, it shouldn’t be fair, it shouldn’t be a place we would want to be, and we shouldn’t be notorious for being there… it kinda defeats the purpose.

I want to remember these 11 young victims; I want all of Canada to remember them and in the spirit of justice we should treat prisoners like… well, prisoners.


Categories: General


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