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Should Canadian Pardon Applicants Hire a Lawyer?

When a person with a criminal record wishes to obtain a pardon in Canada, they will sometimes approach a lawyer seeking his services in the matter. Is this necessary or useful? In order to answer this question, let us first look more closely at what getting a pardon in Canada involves.

Let us start by defining what we mean by a Canadian pardon. A pardon in Canada is a chance to have one’s criminal record set apart from the main database of the Canadian Police Information Centre (which records criminal activity in Canada), so that it will not appear on a criminal record check, except where a person who has committed certain violent or sexual offences wants to work with “vulnerable sector” people (children, seniors etc), in which case their conviction will be disclosed. The effect of a pardon is virtually limited to this; it does not erase, forgive or nullify a conviction, nor does it shorten or cancel a sentence. With the exception of those sentenced to life imprisonment or an indeterminate sentence, anyone with a Canadian criminal conviction may apply for a pardon after a period of ineligibility has passed, starting as soon as one’s sentence has been served.

The key to whether the services of a lawyer would be useful for obtaining a pardon in Canada is the nature of the application process. Pardons are granted by the Parole Board of Canada, an office of the federal government which is bound by strict rules of law when deciding on whether or not to grant a pardon. If the applicant meets the following criteria:

They have served their sentence and the period of ineligibility for their crime has passed
They have submitted a full, correctly prepared application package with a set of required documents to the Parole Board
They have lived an honest, crime-free life since the completion of their sentence
In the case of people who have committed more serious (indictable) offences, they include with their application an explanation of how obtaining a pardon will benefit them in their life as a rehabilitated convict

…the Parole Board will grant them a pardon.

A key implication of this process is that there is no need to convince anyone of anything. No court arbitration is involved, nor is any politician asked to grant mercy to the ex-convict. It is simply a matter of meeting standard eligibility requirements and providing all the necessary documentation. Thus, when applying for a pardon in Canada, the services of a lawyer are not of any great use as it is not necessary to convince the authorities of the validity of your case.

On the other hand, as noted in point 2 above, getting together all the required paperwork for a pardon application will be a lot of work. Would a lawyer not know what exact documents are to be obtained and what to do with them? Perhaps, but it is far more likely that a lawyer would not have the time to deal with this simple matter of bureaucracy. This is why the services of an agency that specializes in helping people obtain pardons would be of much more use. Such an agency will be able to navigate the client through the pardons process from beginning to end and will ensure that all the necessary documents are provided and completed in full before the application is submitted.

Ned Lecic lives and works in Toronto. He is a writer for a Canadian pardons agency.

Article Source:

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You think he is the first president to do it? He is just doing what they all do before they lose their presidency.

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47 Responses to “Should Canadian Pardon Applicants Hire a Lawyer?”

  • bigwiiman8:

    ninja gaden was hard low key

  • Darth666Ghost:

    Why wont they just say Xbox 3……But if they name it 720 they the 2 circles should look like nipples

  • Joseph C:

    And what about our border agents, falsely convicted and imprisoned?

  • smsmith500:

    I have no problem with the people he is giving pardons to, at least none of them are convicted terrorists or contributors to his Library fund.

  • tincoatr:

    Every president issues pardons. Do you know how many tax evaders and others the previous president (Clinton) pardoned?

  • swampy:

    I guess you are fine with the terrorists Clinton pardoned.

  • realst1:

    What did you expect? Bush is a criminal. Drug dealers and swindlers makes perfect sense with Georgie Cokehead Bush. Of course he is going to pardon as many criminals and steal and ruin as much as he can before he exits the White House.

    Wow! All the Repugs who screeched about Clinton pardons are fine with Georgie’s? What about the law and order and honor? Yeah, I thought so, it was just because Clinton was a Democrat, not because they believe in justice.

  • unreliablenarrator:

    The right of the president to pardon people for crimes is part of the US Constitution, so it has been part of our nation since the beginning.

    If you want to change it, go bribe some Congressman to complain about it for you.

    Good luck.

  • ladyscorpio:

    We shouldn’t be surprised…I mean, look at how he screwed up the country? It’s just like he’s mocking us now with his last days in office. He just doesn’t care.

  • tz51548:

    All presidents do it, and they are oftentimes controversial. it’s not that big a deal – not the people that he has pardoned so far, anyway.

  • mary p:

    Bush doesn’t and has never cared….guarantee there was something in it foe him!! “He is a dirty dog!!

  • T.J.:

    Well at least he is not selling pardons to the highest bidder like Bill Clinton did. Bush has been very stingy with pardons compared to other recent Presidents.

  • Melissa P:

    please…he signed a $ 700B (turned $ 850B) free pass to how many financial institutions, and we’re worried about a little tax evasion? 54 days and counting!

  • accounting_girl:

    He has pardonned half of the people Clinton and Reagan had, both serving the same number of terms as him.

    It always happens.

  • T.V. is a Mind Control Box:

    I know, here’s Clintons, wait til you read it!

     An Indefensible Pardon

    January 24, 2001
    Bill Clinton’s last-minute pardon of Marc Rich, the shadowy commodities trader who fled to Switzerland in 1983 to avoid American justice, was a shocking abuse of presidential power and a reminder of why George W. Bush’s vow to restore integrity to the Oval Office resonates with millions of Americans who otherwise disagree with the new president’s politics.
    Unchecked by any other branch of government, the president’s authority under the Constitution to pardon anyone charged with federal crimes is meant to be exercised with great restraint to correct an injustice or to further some societal good. Bestowing undeserved beneficence on a fugitive accused of evading $ 48 million in taxes and illegally trading with Iran in oil during the hostage crisis is hardly what the Constitution’s framers had in mind.
    Speaking from his new outpost in Chappaqua, N.Y., Mr. Clinton has said he used his pardons to restore rights to individuals who had “paid in full,” and were “out long enough after their sentence to show they’re good citizens.” That description may fit some of the other recipients on his final pardon list. But it surely does not describe Mr. Rich or his former partner, Pincus Green, both of whom fled the country to escape the judicial process. There is a huge difference between pardoning someone who has already paid all or part of his debt to society and pardoning someone who has avoided adjudication.
    We are unimpressed by Mr. Clinton’s assertion that Mr. Rich’s attorney, Jack Quinn, a former White House counsel, made “a very compelling case” for a pardon. Mr. Quinn, after all, will presumably be paid well for using his White House connections. True, Mr. Rich’s application also had the support of Ehud Barak, the prime minister of Israel, but that may be due to the vast extent of Mr. Rich’s charitable giving in his country.
    Mr. Clinton was fully aware that pardoning Mr. Rich, the ex-husband of Denise Rich, a prominent fund-raiser for the Clintons and the Democratic Party, would carry a distinct taint and invite irate protests from federal prosecutors like Mary Jo White in Manhattan. That is probably why he kept it a secret that he was considering a pardon, bypassing the normal process in which the Justice Department vets pardon applications and submits them to the president with a recommendation. Small wonder that Ms. White and other current and former law enforcement officials are said to be livid. Mr. Clinton’s irresponsible use of his pardoning authority has undermined the pursuit of justice.


    CHICAGO — President-elect Barack Obama tapped a major campaign bundler and a former U.S. attorney who got caught up in Bill Clinton’s 2001 pardons scandal to serve on the 14-member Justice Department review team announced Friday.

Alejandro Mayorkas, a former U.S. attorney in California, drew controversy in 2001 for calling the White House on behalf of Carlos Vignali, a convicted drug dealer who was seeking a presidential commutation. Mayorkas and a host of other California elected officials responded to pleas from Vignali’s father, Horacio, a wealthy Los Angeles businessman whom federal agents had suspected of drug trafficking. Horacio Vignali also paid $ 200,000 in fees to Hugh Rodham, a brother of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a successful effort an have his son’s prison sentence commuted by the outgoing president.


  • Bob:

    It is just an extra check. You, me, and everyone else can, if we want, file an application for a pardon. Imagine that you had an unfair trial and that the appellate court failed to take your case. If your application is good enough, you have a chance of being pardoned. If the president had no pardons to give, you would have no chance of pardon.

    The president typically doesn’t pardon iffy violent criminals. Those are the only criminals I really worried about because the rich campaign pals will always find a way out of jail. That is just the way it works.

  • Shieldgambit:

    if they are remorseful it is ok

    prison is more punative than rehabilitative

  • Warren T:


  • banjoleary:

    That is what a presidential pardon is. It lets criminals off. Bush has done this much less often than Clinton and Reagan who served as long as he has. In fact it is less than half as much as either one did.

    ALL presidents do it.

    So either learn about what is really going on or just keep quiet. If you cannot educate yourself then you have no business spreading your erroneous viewpoint around.

    You must be a socialist/liberal (communist) Demoncrap!


  • Cultural Vandal:

    Lou Dobbs says that five of them are big-time drug dealers!

  • phillipk_1959:

    171 you should have read the article.

  • James A:

    Actually Bush has been rather stingy with his pardons and commutes. He has only granted about half of what Clinton and Reagan granted at a comparable point in their careers. The power is built into the Constitution and is absolute.

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