Widow Shelley MacInnis-Wynn has received hundreds of letters in support of Wynn’s Law over the past two years.
Many are from victims of homicide – people who, like herself, know the pain of losing a loved one to a recidivist criminal. Others are from the families of fellow RCMP officers who hope to never know that feeling.
On Friday, MacInnis-Wynn and St. Albert-Edmonton MP Michael Cooper launched an online petition called Wynn’s Law Now, in the hopes that these voices, and thousands more, would help sway the Liberal government’s opposition to Bill S-217.
“I don’t think that the Minister of Justice (Jody Wilson-Raybould) is stopping to think about how it could affect her; how it easily could have been her life that was turned upside down. It could have been anyone,” said MacInnis-Wynn about her husband Const. David Wynn’s death at the hands of career criminal Sean Rehn.
In January 2015, Wynn was shot and killed by Rehn, who was released on bail despite having 68 prior convictions. His lengthy criminal history was never mentioned during his bail hearing.
Bill S-217, also known as Wynn’s Law, would mandate the presentation of this information during the bail process.
The Liberal government expressed concerns over Wynn’s Law during second reading debate last week, saying it could add undue burden to the legal system and lead to lengthy delays.
Cooper rejected the argument, saying that the practice is already common in many jurisdictions. He promised to lobby backbench Liberal MPs for support at second reading.
Although he has received some expressions of support in the past two weeks, Cooper said Friday that the government’s support was needed to ensure the bill’s passing.
“It’s encouraging, but what we need to really do is convince the government to change its position,” said Cooper. “If the government doesn’t change its position it’s going to be very difficult to get this legislation passed.”
He believes that if enough Canadians indicate their support for Wynn’s Law, the government will be forced to listen.
Cooper and MacInnis-Wynn are encouraging the public to log on to www.wynnslawnow.com and sign the petition before February, when the bill will be voted on.
As of Friday morning, the petition had gathered 268 signatures from eight of the 10 provinces.