Canada's Justice System is Too Lenient on Repeat Offenders, CTV/Strategic Counsel Poll Reveals



    - Poll also reveals Canadians show tremendous support for a "three
    strikes" rule -

    - Results released in advance of CTV broadcast of Mayerthorpe this
    Sunday -

    TORONTO, Feb. 7 /CNW/ - Canadians across the country overwhelmingly
believe that the country's justice system is too lenient on repeat offenders,
a new poll released today by CTV and The Strategic Counsel reveals. As the
third anniversary of the Mayerthorpe tragedy approaches, the issues
surrounding the horrible event continue to engage the nation. The poll
indicates that nationally, three in four people surveyed (75 per cent) agree
that the Canadian justice system is too lenient on repeat offenders, with
50 per cent saying the justice system is "much too lenient." Only five per
cent felt that it was "not at all lenient." Canadians also strongly indicated
they want to see major changes with respect to how violent offenders are dealt
with in this country. An extraordinary 72 per cent of respondents support
adopting a hard-line "three strikes and you're out" rule, similar to that
practiced in the United States, in which a person found guilty of three
violent crimes receives mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of
parole. Only 21 per cent opposed such a policy.

    The poll indicates that Canadians speak with a unified voice about the
issue among age, gender and regions:

    
    Q. Is the Canadian justice system too lenient when it comes to its
treatment of repeat offenders or individuals with multiple criminal
convictions?

    -  76% of women and 73% of men said yes.
    -  78% aged 30-49, 77% aged 50+ and 62% aged 18-29 said yes.
    -  Among regions, the strongest response came from residents of Alberta,
       where the Mayerthorpe tragedy occurred, with a whopping 83% responding
       that the Canadian justice system is too lenient on repeat offenders.
       Agreeing were respondents in Atlantic Canada and Manitoba/Saskatchewan
       (80%), Ontario (77%), British Columbia (74%) and Quebec (64%).

    Q. Should Canada adopt a "three strikes" rule, similar to that seen in the
United States, in which an individual convicted of three violent felonies
receives mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole?

    -  74% of women and 71% of men said yes.
    -  75% aged 30-49, 71% aged 50+ and 69% aged 18-29 said yes.
    -  Among regions, the strongest response came yet again from Alberta,
       with 80% of respondents saying they were in support of such a rule.
       Support for the proposal was also received by respondents from
       Atlantic Canada (79%), Quebec (78%), Manitoba/Saskatchewan (75%),
       British Columbia (67%) and Ontario (66%).
    

    "These findings provide a crystal clear perspective that Canadians want
tough measures taken against criminals, particularly repeat offenders," said
Tim Woolstencroft, Managing Partner, The Strategic Counsel.
    "It's time for the Liberal senate to pass the crime bill that has been in
front of them for quite some time," said Keith and Colleen Myrol, parents of
slain RCMP officer Brock Myrol. "Are they playing politics? Yes. Are they
being of service to Canadian families? Definitely not. This bill has merit.
It's not the be all and end all, but it's a very good place to start."
    CTV commissioned the poll to gauge current attitudes of Canadians towards
repeat offenders in the community and the effectiveness of the Canadian
justice system. The results of the poll are released in advance of the
premiere of the CTV Original Movie Mayerthorpe, airing Sunday, February 10 at
9 p.m. ET (check CTV.ca for local listings). The movie is a testament to the
strength and dedication of the families of four slain RCMP officers who lost
their lives at the hands of heavily-armed, habitual criminal James Roszko, who
ambushed them on his farm near Mayerthorpe, AB. Valuable input from family
members during the process helped set the tone for the movie to be as accurate
as possible, both historically and emotionally.
    "After viewing Mayerthorpe, we feel that this movie definitely shows the
failings of the justice system, not only for the average Canadian citizen, but
in such a way as to undermine the efforts of our police," said the Myrols. "We
sincerely hope that it gets Canada talking and helps to get Ottawa moving to
make the changes necessary to solve this problem."
    Mayerthorpe is a chilling dramatization of the events leading up to
March 3, 2005, when RCMP officers Anthony Gordon, 28, Leo Johnston, 32, Brock
Myrol, 29 and Peter Schiemann, 29 were murdered by James Rozko. The horrifying
event was the RCMP's greatest loss of life in a single day and left an entire
country asking "why"? As the three-year anniversary of the tragedy nears, the
question still remains.
    "Mayerthorpe is both a poignant tribute to the RCMP officers who died
that day as well as a complex portrait of a national tragedy. It will generate
many questions that deserve to be answered," said Susanne Boyce, President,
Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc.

    (xx) Media Note (xx) - Download photos from Mayerthorpe at ctvmedia.ca

    CTV / The Strategic Counsel Poll Information
    --------------------------------------------

    A CTV/ The Strategic Counsel Poll was conducted from January 31 to
February 4, 2008. The findings are based on interviews conducted by telephone
among a weighted national sample of 1000 adult Canadians 18 years of age or
older. A sample of 1,000 yields a margin or error of +/- 3.1 percentage
points. Note: Due to rounding, proportions may not total to exactly 100 per
cent.
    The survey asked two separate questions related to repeat offenders and
the Canadian justice system. The first statement posed was "Is the Canadian
justice system much too lenient, somewhat lenient, not very lenient, or not at
all lenient when it comes to its treatment of repeat offenders or individuals
with multiple criminal convictions?"
    The response was, much too lenient (50 per cent), somewhat lenient (25
per cent), not very lenient (12 per cent), or not at all lenient (five per
cent).
    The second statement was "Should Canada adopt a "three strikes" rule,
similar to that seen in the United States, in which an individual convicted of
three violent felonies receives mandatory life imprisonment without the
possibility of parole?" The response was strongly support (44 per cent),
somewhat support (28 per cent), somewhat oppose (10 per cent), or strongly
oppose (11 per cent).

    CTV, Canada's largest private broadcaster, offers a wide range of quality
news, sports, information, and entertainment programming. It has the
number-one national newscast, CTV National News With Lloyd Robertson, and is
the number-one choice for prime-time viewing. CTVglobemedia Inc. is Canada's
premier multi-media company which owns CTV Inc. and The Globe and Mail. CTV
Inc. also owns radio stations across the country, and leading national
specialty channels. Other CTVglobemedia investments include an interest in
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and in Dome Productions, a North American
leader in the provision of mobile high definition production facilities. More
information about CTV may be found on the company website at www.ctv.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Laura Heath, CTV Inc., (416) 332-4633 or
lheath@ctv.ca


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