Shelly Glover, MP for Saint Boniface, demanded Friday that the Manitoba government appeal the decision to allow Vince Li, who beheaded a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus in 2008, to take unescorted trips.
The Criminal Code Review Board is allowing Li unsupervised leaves from the mental hospital where he has been receiving treatment since being found not criminally responsible for the killing of Tim McLean, 22.
It means Li will be on his own in public for the first time since he stabbed McLean and then ate parts of his body six years ago.
Glover, the government's heritage and official languages minister, said in a statement that the "insensitive" decision "is an insult not only to the family of Tim McLean but to all law-abiding Manitobans."
She said the province should have raised objections as the review board considered whether Li should be granted the extended liberties, and she is calling on the province to appeal its decision to approve them.
Province fires back at Glover
A spokesperson for the Manitoba government accused Glover of "trying to score political points with a very serious issue of public safety."
Rachel Morgan, who works in the cabinet communications office, said the review board that made the decision is under federal jurisdiction, "established under federal legislation and adheres to the federal Criminal Code."
The Manitoba government has asked the federal government a number of times to make public safety "the primary consideration when making decisions on these cases."
Morgan said if changes had been made it would have had an impact on the decision involving Li, but added those changes have yet to be enacted by the federal government.
Glover's full statement
Canadians expect that their justice system will focus on protecting the rights of victims and safeguarding the public from high-risk individuals.
The decision by the Manitoba government not to object to any of the recommendations made to grant Vince Li additional freedoms, including unescorted trips into Selkirk is an insult not only to the family of Tim McLean but to all law-abiding Manitobans. Today, our Conservative government is firmly calling on the province of Manitoba to immediately appeal this insensitive decision.
As a mother, a police officer and a member of the government that is focused on protecting public safety and the rights of victims, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Carol de Delley and the entire family of Tim McLean during this difficult time.
Our Conservative government has introduced the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act, which will protect the public from high-risk offenders, make public safety a paramount consideration for the review boards considering these cases, and will ensure that the safety of victims is always considered when decisions are made about people found not criminally responsible.
While the opposition continues to play politics on this issue, our government is addressing the challenges of mental illness in the criminal justice system, as well as protecting and respecting the rights of victims and their families.
The provincial decision to grant Mr. Li unescorted trips is wrong. We call upon Manitoba's Attorney General Andrew Swan to appeal this decision immediately.