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Robinson avoids jail-time.

Vancouver -- It was no surprise. Former NDP MP Svend Robinson, Canada's number one "gay" activist, pleaded guilty in a Vancouver courtroom, August 6, 2004, to the theft of a $64,000 ring which he needed for his "engagement" to his partner. Thefts of that value are theoretically punishable by a sentence of up to ten years in jail, with an accompanying criminal record.

However, Judge Ronald Fratkin ruled Mr. Robinson had already taken enough punishment. "You don't kick somebody when they're down," he opined as he sentenced the ex-MP to 100 hours of community service--whatever form this "service" may take.

As Link Byfield of the Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy in Edmonton put it, the fact that Robinson was even charged and brought to court "alone is ah achievement; . the initial handling of the Robinson case by the media, the police, and the prosecution office smacked of political favouritism" ("Just between us," August 9, 2004).

Robinson resigned from Parliament at the time he tearfully confesssed to the theft, but not before leaving ah egregious legacy in the shape of Bill C-250, which added sexual orientation to the Hate Crimes Act. Now, however, unburdened by a criminal record--as his sentence contained a conditional discharge--he may once again be eligible to run as an MP in future elections. He will also be entitled to claim his annual MP's pension of $86,663 in three years' time* Moreover, he was thrown a few plums his way in the interval between crime and trial. Despite his resignation, he represented Canada and his party at a spring conference on "integrity in government" in Edinburgh, Scotland. Since his return, he has been offered a job as claims officer for the BC government employees' union.


Oh, well, Judge Fratkin also said, "Mr. Robinson needs help." And Canadians are certainly pulling for him. It might seem appropriate to reword the old phrase "Life Reilly" as "Life of Robinson."
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Oct 1, 2004
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