Senator calls curbs on Homolka ‘totalitarian’
‘Rehabilitation is more important,’ Liberal argues

Jun. 10, 2005. 06:55 PM


OTTAWA — A Quebec senator is standing by his contention that schoolgirl killer Karla Homolka’s freedom is being violated by a totalitarian-style law.

Liberal Senator Michel Biron’s comments raised eyebrows on Parliament Hill today, but he didn’t back down.

Conservative deputy leader Peter MacKay called Biron’s “moral support” for Homolka repugnant.

And one member of the Liberal caucus in the Commons called on Biron to resign.

The senator said there’s no excusing the horrific crimes Homolka committed, but he’s against the law imposing restrictions on Homolka’s post-prison life — including monthly check-ins with police and avoiding contact with former criminals.

He says he’s revolted by Section 810 of the Criminal Code and it should be scrapped because it repunishes criminals even after they’ve paid their debt to society.

“This law is the kind of law used in totalitarian regimes,” Biron said in an interview today.

“Rehabilitation is more important. We are not living in the time of Victor Hugo, with Les Miserables.”

Biron said he’s never met Homolka and isn’t excusing her actions.

“I want to reiterate my sympathy for the victims and the victims’ families . . . and in no way am I defending the crimes Homolka has committed,” he said.

Homolka will be released between June 30 and July 4 after completing a sentence for her role in the grisly sex killings of teenagers Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French.

She was given a reduced jail term after testifying against her husband Paul Bernardo. He is serving a life sentence for the killings.

Walt Lastewa, Liberal MP for St. Catharines, Ont., the scene of Bernado and Homolka’s crimes, said Biron should quit if he wants to lend her his personal support.

“I feel he has totally made bizarre statements and as far as I’m concerned he should resign,” Lastewa said.

“If he wants to do things in a personal light, he should resign from the Senate.

Biron, 71, attended the hearing in Joliette, Que., last week that resulted in conditions on Homolka’s release.

Appointed to the Senate in 2001 by then-prime minister Jean Chrétien, Biron is a former telecommunications executive and recipient of the Order of Canada.

Section 810 came into effect in 1994 amid a public uproar over repeat sex offenders who resumed targeting children following their release from prison.