Conservative MPs react to Luka Magnotta’s prison transfer

Conservative MPs are criticizing the federal government amid news that convicted murderer Luka Magnotta was moved to a medium-security facility two years ago, while prisoner advocates warn the scrutiny is purely political.

Magnotta, 41, is serving a life sentence for the 2012 murder of Chinese international student Jun Lin in Montreal. The gruesome murder made international headlines, particularly because the acts of necrophilia and cannibalism were caught on video and posted online.

On Monday, British Columbia Conservative MP Frank Caputo posted a video on X, formerly Twitter, detailing a visit he made to La Macaza, a medium-security prison 190 kilometers northwest of Montreal, to see living conditions. of notorious serial rapist and convicted murderer Paul. Bernard.

While touring the institution, Caputo said, “one of the guards commented that Luka Magnotta walked past (him).”

Caputo’s video, titled “Canada’s Most Horrendous Killers Live Better Than Most Canadians,” has since racked up almost half a million views, with input from several Conservative MPs.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre blamed Magnotta’s transfer on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Bill C-83, a law passed in 2019 aimed at making changes to the correctional system, in part to “ensure that the penitentiary in the (inmates) are confined is that which provides the least restrictive environment for that person.”

And House Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer pointed to the Liberals’ recent bail reform bill, which his party has called a “catch and release” policy.

“Trudeau not only lets dangerous criminals back on the streets, but when they are kept behind bars, they get the luxury package,” he wrote in X. “At their expense!”

A spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc’s office said decisions about the level of security for inmates are up to the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC).

“All decisions regarding inmate transfers are made independently by CSC officials,” LeBlanc spokesperson Jean-Sébastien Comeau wrote in an email to CTV News. “The safety of the public and CSC staff members is their primary consideration.”

In an emailed statement to CTV News on Monday, CSC spokesperson Kevin Antonucci wrote that Canada’s correctional system is “fundamentally based on the rehabilitation of offenders,” regardless of the length of their sentence.

“This criminal has been behind bars for almost a decade,” Antonucci wrote. “They remain in a secure institution, serving an indeterminate sentence.

“Our ultimate goal is to keep the public safe, and that’s exactly what we continue to do,” he added. “To be clear, there are no recent changes related to this offender’s situation, as the report seems to suggest.”

While CSC does not name the institution where Magnotta currently resides, it does confirm that the convicted murderer was transferred from the Port-Cartier maximum security institution two years ago.

In January 2022, Magnotta’s lawyers filed papers in Federal Court, hoping to force a transfer from the maximum security prison in Quebec to a medium security facility, alleging that CSC had denied an application made the previous summer. .

Conservative MP Michael Cooper called the transfer “scandalous”.

“This is a direct result of PMJT’s soft-on-crime policies,” Cooper wrote in locked up in maximum prison.” security.”

Conservative MP and opposition MP Chris Warkentin said the news is “kind of shocking”.

“Luka Magnotta and Paul Bernardo could play doubles tennis this summer and you’ll foot the bill,” he wrote.

The transfer of a notorious murderer also attracted a lot of attention last summer, when Bernardo was transferred from a maximum security facility to the medium security institution La Macaza.

The move prompted a new ministerial directive, after the transfer was largely kept secret within the government until it occurred, sparking a fury of political controversy centered on then-Minister of Public Security Marco Mendicino, who said that he was not informed of the transfer until the day after it happened.

In an interview with CTV News, independent senator Kim Pate, who is also an advocate for incarcerated young men and women, called online comments from Conservative MPs “all political.”

“People don’t understand what happens in prisons and assume that someone who is moved from maximum security to medium security somehow condones their behavior or facilitates their sentence,” he said. “The truth is quite the opposite. Most of the people making comments about this have never been inside those prisons.”

In an email to CTV News on Tuesday, University of Ottawa criminology professor and prisoners’ rights advocate Justin Piché said that while there is “no doubt” that Magnotta “committed horrific acts,” society has no license to subject inmates to “horrible conditions of confinement.” Successively.”

“It is unfortunate that the Conservative Party of Canada is once again peddling Club Fed rhetoric based on observations from a brief tour of La Macaza, as if access to any services and programming while behind bars somehow compensates for the dehumanizing and harmful nature of incarceration,” Piché wrote. “It is clear that the so-called government-in-waiting does not take seriously the deprivation of liberty, which is painful in itself.”


With files from Judy Trinh and Jordan Gowling of CTV News, and Rachel Aiello, senior digital parliamentary reporter for CTVNews.ca.

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