Canada needs a ‘different culture,’ says Red Deer MP

A Parole Board of Canada decision to grant day parole to an impaired driver convicted of killing a Red Deer couple in early 2010 will be brought to the attention of federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen said on Tuesday.

A Parole Board of Canada decision to grant day parole to an impaired driver convicted of killing a Red Deer couple in early 2010 will be brought to the attention of federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen said on Tuesday.

Dreeshen met with Sandra Green — the mother of Krista Howe, who died along with her husband Brad on Feb. 7, 2010, in Red Deer — at his constituency office on Tuesday to talk about the board’s decision last Friday to grant day parole to 24-year-old Chad Mitchell Olsen of Sedalia.

“There’s not much we can do with interfering, but nevertheless we can make sure the voices of victims of crime are heard,” the Conservative MP said. “I plan on taking some of the information that we’ve heard in our discussions and presenting that to our public safety minister.”

The Howe family was upset to hear that Olsen was granted day parole after being given a three-and-a-half year jail term following an Alberta Court of Appeal decision. Olsen was originally sentenced last April to two years and three months after earlier pleading guilty to two counts of impaired driving causing death. Olsen was living in the minimum-security annex at Bowden Institution, but following Friday’s decision will be moved to a half-way house where he will face certain conditions.

Dreeshen said he was actually “surprised” by the parole board’s decision.

“I’ve had an opportunity to go and look at all the regulations, but I think it’s important that they look at the severity of the crime and the consequences of the actions that have taken place,” he added.

Dreeshen noted there’s a lot of money spent in the legal system in regards to cases such as these.

Recently, the Conservatives’ crime bill known as C-10 passed in the House of Commons, but is now awaiting passage by the Senate before it becomes law. It talks about mandatory minimum sentencing and different approaches to parole. It doesn’t specifically address impaired driving, Dreeshen said.

“We’ll be looking at some upcoming legislation that is going to help create a different culture, so that people will recognize there’s going to be consequences to their actions,” said Dreeshen.

“And I think that the parole side of this also has to be looked at in consort with those other actions we’re looking at.”

Dreeshen’s staff at the Red Deer office has fielded three phone calls and a couple of emails over the last two days in regards to Olsen’s day parole.

“I wish I had more (calls) — I haven’t had very many,” said Dreeshen. “I would welcome anyone’s comments on this particular issue because it does help me when I take these kinds of concerns to the minister.”

Dreeshen’s Red Deer office phone number is 403-347-7426.

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