MP Report by Jay Hill, M.P.

Apparently, jealously is now a reasonable excuse for committing a murder in Canada.

By most standards, Norman Wicks, of Vanderhoof, was not a perfect man. Though married, he was juggling several lovers on the side.

Teresa Senner, one of Mr. Wicks? lovers, discovered his other lovers. When he still refused to leave his wife, she stabbed him in the groin in a fit of jealously, killing him.

She was convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter not second degree murder. Last week, a B.C. Supreme Court justice denied Ms. Senner access to her e-mail and sentenced her to what is essentially a simple curfew: house arrest.

While Mr. Wicks? was violently murdered, Ms. Senner will sleep in her own bed each night, prepare meals in her own kitchen, watch her favourite television shows in her livingroom, perhaps even enjoy the sunshine in her backyard and chat with her neighbours.

Mr. Wicks did not attack her. Ms. Senner did not act in self defence. Did Mr. Wicks deserve to die and his killer go unpunished because he wasn?t a nice guy?

In 1996, the federal Liberal government introduced conditional sentencing to the Criminal Code of Canada, which is how Ms. Senner was able to obtain her get-out-of-jail-free-card.

The Liberals believe in conditional sentencing because they believe punishment and incarceration should be a ?last resort? in Canada?s LEGAL system. Liberals believe that everyone can be rehabilitated and that jail time is not a necessity, even for the most violent crimes.

And that is one of the many fundamental differences between the Liberal Party of Canada and the Conservative Party of Canada.

Conservatives believe people should be held responsible for actions and for their crimes. Conservatives believe that prison sentences are a necessary form of deterrence in an effective JUSTICE system. Conservatives believe that victims and their families have a right to see justice carried out. Conservatives believe in mandatory, minimum jail sentences for violent crimes and I have personally introduced a private members? bill to enact this measure.

In vigourously defending its conditional sentencing loophole, the Liberal government accepts that because Ms. Senner might be a nice lady who committed a ?crime of passion? and might never do something like that again, her incarceration would serve no benefit to society.

The Conservative Party of Canada believes that a crime of passion is still a crime. We believe that our justice system must continually reinforce that murder is unacceptable in our society. Ms. Senner?s case will likely be used in the future as a precedent for defence lawyers seeking lighter sentences for their clients convicted of murder or manslaughter.

Sadly, this case is far from the only example of violent crimes going unpunished, and a new website, Justice Canada Monitor, lists many other lenient sentences, as well as information on youth crime, correctional services, conditional sentencing, victim?s rights, parole board decisions and more.

The site also lists the justice policies of the national federal political parties. If you are interested in becoming better informed about justice issues in Canada, check out www.justicemonitor.ca.