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Saturday, February 4, 2017
Son of Travis Vader’s victims demands action on Criminal Code ‘zombie laws’
Travis Vader life sentence an 'unbelievable relief': McCann son (The Canadian Press)
he’s not mincing words about Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who
he said has yet to acknowledge his lobbying efforts. “I mean, this is
just a question of basic politeness,” McCann told a conference call
shortly after Vader — now convicted of manslaughter — was sentenced to
life in prison, with no chance of parole for seven years. “A terrible
mistake was made by the court system on Sept. 15 and I had thought that
the roller-coaster that the court system has put our family through for
years would somehow elicit a more respectful response from my Canadian
office was asked Wednesday about why McCann has not received a reply.
Spokeswoman Valerie Gervais said the office would not be responding
until Thursday. Following the botched verdict, Wilson-Raybould promised
a review of unconstitutional Criminal Code provisions, with the view of
updating the laws to reflect high court decisions. She said the review
would be part of a larger review of the criminal justice system.
Conservative MP and deputy justice critic Michael Cooper said
legislation to repeal such laws would be uncomplicated and shouldn’t
have to wait for the minister’s larger review of the justice system to
be completed. The elder McCanns, in their late 70s, disappeared after
setting out from their Edmonton-area home for a camping trip to British
Columbia in July 2010.
burned-out motorhome and a vehicle they had been towing were discovered
in the days that followed, although their bodies have never been found.
Vader’s murder conviction was replaced with a manslaughter verdict
last September because a judge had inadvertently applied a law that was
declared unconstitutional decades ago. In originally finding Vader
guilty of murder, Justice Denny Thomas mistakenly used Section 230 of
the Criminal Code, which the Supreme Court of Canada struck down in
1990, but which has never been removed from the Criminal Code. McCann
wants the government to get rid of laws that have been struck down, but
still sit on the books. “The pain endured by my family because of this
co-called zombie law was enormous,” he said.
it seemed unbelievable at the time, I have since learned that there are
several other, many other, sections of the Criminal Code which are
obsolete or have been deemed unconstitutional.” McCann said he is
determined to get things changed. “I’m going to try and continue to
elevate the public profile of this issue, this issue of zombie law, and
hopefully the government will become motivated to act,” he said. “I’ve
taken this on as my mission, you know, for the next year or so. And I
hope something good will come out of ... what’s happened to my parents.”