R c Bissonnette, Parole Ineligibility, Multiple Murders Act, 2020 QCCA 1585
This article reviews the constitutional arguments upheld by the QCCA in Bissonnette and weighs them against the challenges that trial judges have encountered in applying s. 745.51 since 2012. By drawing on a qualitative review of cases in which s. 745.51 has been applied, as well as Charter principles, sentencing case law, and international practices, this article posits that the QCCA was correct in its approach to s. 745.51, both in finding it unconstitutional and in finding that the provision should not be read down to render it constitutional. This article advances the central argument that, in the context of an already problematic sentencing regime for murder, a piece of legislation that allows for consecutive periods of parole ineligibility of any length, even when its application is circumscribed to certain offenders, will likely continue to raise issues in its application and effects. It is submitted, therefore, that when Bissonnette is heard by the SCC, the QCCA’s decision should be upheld. Moreover, Parliament would be well advised to resist any attempts to rewrite this provision and pass another version of it.
Adelina Iftene, "R. c. Bissonnette and the (Un)Constitutionality of Consecutive Periods of Parole Ineligibility for a Life Sentence: Why the QCCA Got It Right and Why Section 745.51 Should Never Be Re-Written" (2021) 69 Crim LQ 313.