Sturgeon River-Parkland MP Dane Lloyd – Morinville News File Photo
by Colin Smith
Anyone who lived in St. Albert during this century’s second decade will remember the billboards and posters seeking information about Lyle and Marie McCann, who went missing in 2010.
As a youth driving around the community, Dane Lloyd, now MP for Sturgeon River-Parkland, thought of his grandparents. What if it happened to them?
In 2017, Travis Vader was convicted of manslaughter in connection with their presumed deaths and received a life sentence. Vader has not admitted to killing the McCanns, and their bodies have not been located.
On March 1, Lloyd introduced a private member’s bill in the House of Commons that would create consequences for convicted killers who refuse to provide information regarding the location of the body or remains of their victims.
Bill C-437, the Addressing the Continuing Victimization of Homicide Victims’ Families Act would amend the Criminal Code, Corrections and Conditional Release Act and Prisons and Reformatories Act to provide for consequences at sentencing, in parole eligibility determination and for conditional release applications.
The bill was seconded by Louis-Saint-Laurent MP, Gérard Deltell and given first reading by the House.
Currently, there are no specific requirements for sentencing judges or parole boards to consider ongoing refusal by offenders to share relevant information relating to the location of the remains of homicide victims.
Among the measures in the proposed legislation are in increase in the period for eligibility for full parole from one-third to one-half of their sentence or 10 years, whichever is less, for convicted criminals who do not divulge the location of victims’ remains.
Lloyd became acquainted with the McCann family while working as a political staff member before being elected as an MP in a by-election in 2017.
He became aware of similar cases in Australia that led to the state of Queensland enacting a law denying parole to killers who do not reveal the location of the bodies.
In developing his bill, Lloyd consulted with the McCann family, as well as Parliamentary legal experts. He has dubbed it McCann’s Law.
“By withholding where he left their bodies, Vader is able to continuously re-victimize our family,” Brett McCann, the McCann’s son, is quoted as saying in a press release from Lloyd’s office. “And without a proper funeral and memorial, our family is unable to fully grieve and reach a measure of closure.”
“This isn’t about being vindictive and punishing criminals,” said Lloyd. “This is about giving the tools to our justice system to help families find the remains of their loved ones.”
As private members’ bills are allotted little time for discussion in the House of Commons, the chances are slim that the act will be passed before Parliament adjourns in June, not to meet again until after next year’s election. Lloyd says that he will reintroduce the bill if re-elected.