New Brunswick’s attorney general says the decision to reduce parole wait time for a Moncton man who killed three RCMP officers is “disappointing and regrettable.”
Justin Bourque shot five members of the New Brunswick RCMP in June 2014, killing three and severely injuring two. He was given three life sentences for first-degree murder.
It would have required him to wait 75 years before he could apply for parole, but a recent decision by the New Brunswick Court of Appeal means Bourque can now apply after serving 25 years.
Ted Flemming issued a statement on Friday, recalling the day Moncton residents were “left in terror” after Bourque committed these “horrific crimes.”
“There are no words to describe Mr. Bourque’s actions. They caused immeasurable pain and loss to the families, friends and colleagues of the fallen and injured officers,” he said in the statement.
“His actions left deep and permanent scars in the policing community and Moncton area, as well as across the province and country.”
The decision by New Brunswick’s Court of Appeal follows a ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada in May 2022 that struck down “cruel and unusual sentences” for people convicted of mass murder.
That was after lawyers for Alexandre Bissonnette, who killed six Muslims at a Quebec City mosque in 2017, went before the Quebec Court of Appeal, calling stacked sentences unconstitutional.
Flemming said the appeal court’s decision is “disappointing and regrettable to say the least,” noting it all but assures families will have to participate in parole hearings.
He said offenders being offered parole sooner does not serve society’s best interest, but clarified that Bourque remains sentenced to life in prison.
“The reduction in parole ineligibility means Mr. Bourque may apply for parole after 25 years of incarceration,” said Flemming. “It does not mean he will be released after 25 years of incarceration.”
He said the Parole Board of Canada takes the protection of the public extremely seriously and will consider that duty if Bourque ever applies for parole.
“It should also be noted the attorney general will have the right to present at the parole hearing,” said Flemming.
“New Brunswickers should expect the attorney general to oppose Mr. Bourque from ever being released.”