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My Nikkel's Worth

A TV show that I love to hate (or is it hate to love?) is "Law and Order" and its many variants and spinoffs.

A TV show that I love to hate (or is it hate to love?) is "Law and Order" and its many variants and spinoffs. The drama of the courtroom can sometimes be fun to watch, with the proviso that one realizes this is dealing with American law, and in dealing with certain issues it really is different from Canadian law.

In my immensely humble pro-Canadian bias, I feel that by far our system vastly superior to the American one, and lots of times I can see the police and/or lawyers saying or doing things they simply would not be allowed to do here.

Once in a while, however, situations arise where Canadian law falls far, far short of what is right, and what is justice, and it's almost embarrassing to admit this is our system at work.A very recent example of absolute shamefulness was word that the National Parole Board had actually granted a pardon to convicted sex offender Graham James. It is absolutely unconscionable and beyond imagination that this man should ever be given a pardon. He wasn't just a one-time offender, he was a multiple offender who was in a position of trust as a hockey coach.

As such, the players under his care have an expectation that their coach is going to take care of them and train them, not abuse them and mess up their heads. Former NHL players Sheldon Kennedy and Theo Fleury were both affected by James and his actions, and were very public about the long-term ramifications of being his victims.

As the minister responsible for the Parole Board, Vic Toews, said, there is a substantive difference between a crime of this nature and, say, someone convicted of drunk driving who applies for a pardon. There should be a measure of accountability, or of judgment in such an application; instead, the law sucks so badly that apparently they had no choice but to give the (expletive deleted) a pardon, even though what he deserves is the exact opposite.

This needs to change; if that's what the law says, then our legislators need to get on the ball and get that changed before some other scumbag gets a pardon also.

Another example of how badly our laws work, was word just a little while ago that multiple convicted murderer Clifford Olson is now apparently receiving old age pension payments, even though he's serving time (as he should be) and has nowhere to be spending this money. Doesn't it fill you with pleasure to know your tax dollars are helping to pay for such ridiculous payments as a pension to a convicted killer?

Granted it won't be very much money, but still, it's the principle of the matter. Prisoners don't usually get other forms of payment, do they? I would certainly hope not. I realize this issue is not nearly on the same level as the James pardon, but both are examples where, in some states anyway, the U.S. laws are much, much better. For one thing, Graham James could've gotten a really long sentence, and for another, Olson could have been executed, and thereby justice would have been done, in both instances. Someday, hopefully some changes will improve our system.