A Big Change in British Columbia: No More Hiding Behind New Names

Last Updated: June 17, 2024By

A Big Change in British Columbia: No More Hiding Behind New Names

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Hey there! Have you heard about the big news coming out of British Columbia? It’s all about making sure that people who have committed serious crimes can’t just change their names and hide from their past. Let me tell you what’s going on.

No More Hiding for Criminals

So, imagine you live in a nice neighborhood, and suddenly, you find out that a child-killer has moved in next door. Scary, right? That’s what happened in British Columbia. The province’s health minister, Adrian Dix, decided to step in and put a stop to this.

New Rules for Name Changes

On Monday, Dix announced that British Columbia is going to change its laws. Basically, if someone has committed a really bad crime, they won’t be able to change their name anymore. This rule isn’t just for adults—it’s for younger offenders too, as long as they were tried and sentenced as adults.

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“Allowing these individuals to hide their identity through a name change is extremely troubling to victims and their families and can result in safety concerns for members of the public,” said Dix. The new prohibition would apply to adults, as well as offenders under 18 but who are convicted and sentenced as adults.

Why This Matters

This all started because of a guy named Allan Schoenborn. Back in 2008, he did something really terrible—he killed his three kids. Later, he changed his name to Ken John Johnson and tried to keep it secret. But the province’s review board said, “No way!” and didn’t let him keep his new name hidden. Schoenborn was found not criminally responsible in 2010 because of a delusional disorder and was placed at a psychiatric hospital in the city of Port Coquitlam. The amendment tabled by Dix would still apply to people found not criminally responsible.

A Big Step for Safety

Dix wants to make sure that this can’t happen again. “What this legislation does is it says that people who have been found guilty of very serious offenses—violence against other people, acts against children—will not be permitted to change their name,” he said. “The focus here is the offense and not the verdict.”

Support from All Sides

Not only is the government on board with this change, but even the conservative opposition leader, Kevin Falcon, supports it. He tried to pass a similar law earlier this year. “This is a huge problem for the safety of communities,” Falcon said. “When government balances competing interests, I put the interests of community safety well above the interest of Allan Schoenborn to have his name changed so that he can move around the community unnoticed.”

Famous Cases

You might be thinking, “Is this really a big deal?” Well, it is! Some other notorious criminals in Canada, like Vince Li, Karla Homolka, and Kelly Ellard, have changed their names too. But people found out their new names anyway. “It’s obvious to all British Columbians that nobody should be able to evade accountability for their criminal activities by changing their name in this province,” the premier, David Eby, said in April.

What’s Next?

This new law is a big step towards keeping communities safe and making sure that victims and their families don’t have to worry about offenders hiding behind new identities. It’s all about making sure everyone feels secure and that justice is served.

So, what do you think about this new law? Do you think it’s a good idea to stop criminals from changing their names? Let me know!

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