Justin Bourque has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for 75 years for killing three RCMP officers and wounding two others, a New Brunswick judge has ruled. Bourque, 24, plead guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder of RCMP officers.
Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice David Smith handed down Bourque’s sentence in what he called a “difficult case.” He said it was, “One of the most horrific crimes in the history of Canada.”
When Smith delivered his sentence, Bourque stood to listen and didn’t react when the decision was handed down. Smith said no sentence could fix the despair that Bourque caused by his shooting spree. The judge said the five life sentences are mandatory, and the only question was the length of the sentence before he is eligible for parole.
This sentence means that Bourque will not be eligible for parole until he is 99 years old. Smith said Bourque’s decision to plead guilty is to his credit, but given the evidence was so overwhelming in the case, it doesn’t count for a lot.
The judge said Bourque showed little remorse for the crimes until the end of the sentencing hearing when he addressed the families. Smith spent the first part of his decision going over Bourque’s past. He described Bourque as being obsessed with guns, video games, heavy metal music and dependent on marijuana. He said Bourque felt oppressed by the police even though he had no criminal record.
Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc was present for the sentencing. Outside the Moncton courtroom, Roger Brown, the RCMP’s commanding officer in New Brunswick, said he was relieved with the sentence. “Am I happy with the verdict? I am,” Brown told reporters.
He said he was also happy with the quick manner of the sentencing process. Brown said it has been a difficult time for the families of the slain and wounded officers, the RCMP and people in Moncton. “The healing must now start,” Brown said.
The CRCVC offers our deepest condolences to the families of Doug, Fabrice and Dave. Six young children lost their fathers in a horrific act of violence and the road ahead will not be easy for them. We hope that the families will find some comfort in knowing that the sentence sets a precedent in Canada and that the public will be protected from the shooter.
Ottawa, ON – Our Nation’s capital is still reeling following the brazen attack at the National War Memorial on Wednesday, killing Corporal Nathan Cirillo, just two days after the hit-and-run death in Quebec of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. Those of us who travel up to Parliament Hill frequently to testify on pieces of legislation were shook, not to mention those who have lost loved ones in similar acts of terrorism around the world. It is hard to believe that something like this could happen in our peaceful city.
In the aftermath of this attack, most cities across Canada will remain on high alert. Naturally, we do not want another tragic event to occur. While the police and military continue to investigate, there will likely be calls to react with new legislation. Kent Roach has written an insightful piece looking at the attacks this week, Canada’s current counter-terrorism laws and the fact that we already have many laws to address national security threats.
It is our hope that existing systems will work together closely to provide the best supports to the victims’ families in the aftermath of these tragedies. We know that long-term recovery can be impacted by the initial response received. We hope that military, police and victim services agencies across Ontario will work collaboratively and over the long-term to support those who have been affected.
If your community needs information about how to be prepared to respond to terror incidents or incidents of mass victimization, visit www.terrorvictimresponse.ca. This site provides information resources to emergency management, law enforcement, victim services and government officials who may be required to deliver tangible support to persons harmed. Ensuring that victims and survivors can recover and normalize their lives is critical in fostering community resilience. Communities must be prepared to meet the immediate, intermediate and long-term needs of victims and survivors of terrorist acts/mass victimizations and can do so by incorporating victims into their official response plans. Victims and survivors must not be an afterthought.
The CRCVC offers our deepest condolences to the families of Nathan and Patrice, and stands with them in solidarity at this most difficult time.