Liberal inaction causes murder victim’s parents more grief

The Ilesics are dreading the fact that, in 15 years or so, they will have to come face-to-face with their son’s killer when he gets a chance to apply for parole.

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The Edmonton-area parents of a mass murder victim are distraught that their son’s killer could get out on parole sooner than expected, after Canada’s highest court struck down a law from Stephen Harper's tenure as prime minister.

Dianne and Mike Ilesic’s son Brian was one of three security guards murdered in 2012 by Travis Baumgartner, who, under the previous law, had no chance of parole until serving 40 years in prison.

On June 15, 2012, Baumgartner and four other employees of G4S Cash Solutions were delivering cash to an ATM at the University’s Hub Mall. Baumgartner staged a robbery and shot his colleagues, killing Brian and two others and leaving another man with permanent brain damage.

The Supreme Court of Canada recently struck down a law passed by the Harper Conservatives that allowed a judge to keep criminals in jail longer when they commit multiple murders.

“He pled guilty, he was sentenced to 40 years,” said Brian’s dad, Mike Ilesic, a former prison guard. “We felt a little bit of comfort knowing we’re not going to have to worry about this for 40 years."

Said Brian’s mom Dianne: “We were shocked when we heard the news" that Baumgartner would now be allowed to apply for parole 15 years from now. “Our response was ‘What, how could this be?’ I think that we are still a little bit in shock.’”

The Ilesics are dreading the fact that, in 15 years or so, they will have to come face to face with their son’s killer when he gets a chance to apply for parole.

St. Alberta—Edmonton Conservative MP Michael Cooper says the Liberals could have invoked the “notwithstanding clause” of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to overturn the court ruling, and could still try to introduce a new law that would keep mass murderers in jail longer before they’re able to apply for parole.

Cooper told Rebel News: “Instead of ‘respecting’ the decision as the Minister of Justice David Lametti said, he should have recognized that this decision is fundamentally unjust."

“We’re talking about slashing the parole ineligibility period for mass murderers — a rogue’s gallery of the worst of the worst.

“What the minister should have done is invoked the not-withstanding clause.”

Cooper said there’s also nothing stopping the Liberal government from passing a new law that could keep mass murderers in jail for longer before they’re granted parole.

The Ilesics are still traumatized by their son’s horrific death. “The way he was (Brian) was taken and the other victims were taken — the matter of the violence of it is very petrifying,” said Dianne.

Dianne said it’s hard to cope, but they manage. “Our faith has kept us strong. Our family has kept us strong. Our support group has kept us strong,” she said.

“We do something probably that is unique. We end up going to the Hub Mall on the day in the early hours of the morning of June 15. And we go to the ATM machine and we lay flowers there and we lay a candle there. And we light the candle. We have a quiet song. We say a prayer of reflection…”

Asked if they’re upset at a federal government that’s perceived by many to be soft on crime, Dianne said, “I think the federal government that we have right now is very soft on a lot of issues and to be honest we’re very disappointed in their response to what the Supreme Court has done.”

Baumgartner’s lawyer has indicated he will take advantage of the recent Supreme Court ruling by applying to have his client be eligible for parole after 25 years.

The Supreme Court’s May decision centred around the case of Alexandre Bissonnette, the gunman who killed six worshippers at a mosque in Quebec City in 2017. He was initially sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 40 years.

Bissonette's sentence has now been changed to allow him to be eligible for parole in 25 years.

The court said that having to wait 40 years to be able to argue for parole was cruel and unusual punishment.

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