Mandatory going?

Feb 12, 2017

CBC News – Alison Crawford
Liberals looking to eliminate many mandatory minimum sentences, justice minister says – Wilson-Raybould says mandatory minimums contribute to backlogs in Canada’s courts

The federal Liberals and the Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice, says they have been an exhausting review of every law now requiring mandatory minimum sentences.  The intent is to eliminate the mandatory except for the most serious of cases.  Wilson-Raybould is acknowledging that the mandatory sentences are in part responsible for much delay in the system.  Critics wonder if judicial discretion is sufficient for many cases, why not simply eliminate mandatory altogether?   Action soon promised.

CBC News – Evan Dyer
Pre-clearance bill would give U.S. border agents in Canada new powers – Bill to expand border co-operation could also see permanent residents denied re-entry to Canada

Known as Bill C-23, the Bill would give US border guards on Canadian soil and serving at Canadian airports additional authority to detain Canadian citizens.  The Bill, dating back to a Harper / Obama agreement in 2015, has already passed both the American congress and the senate.   Canadians who present at US Immigration and decide that something is fishy would no longer be able to turn around and walk away from the pre-clearance.   Related article: Toronto Star – Rob Drinkwater and Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press     RCMP say 21 refugees arrested for crossing border in Manitoba

National Newswatch – Steve Lambert, Canadian Press
Freedom granted to man who beheaded passenger on Greyhound bus in Manitoba

Nine years ago Will Baker was convicted or stabbing and beheading a fellow passenger on a bus in Manitoba.  Convicted under the Not-criminally Responsible (NCR), Baker has since been in treatment.  In accordance with the law, Baker has now been determined no longer a threat to anyone and has been fully released from supervision.  Related article: Canadian Press   Concern expressed about release of man who killed Greyhound bus passenger  Related article: Toronto Star – Today’s Videos (A 1min, 32 second video interview)    Beheaded man’s mom speaks against absolute discharge for killer   Related article: University of Manitoba UM News – Debra Parkes   Op-Ed: Vincent Li case shows need for mental-health reform

Toronto Star – Alyshah Hasham
Appeal of sex assault conviction could have far-reaching consequences

For the first time in legal history, a man convicted of sexual assault has been ordered to pay the legal fees of his victim.  Restitution orders have previously applied to therapy costs and lost wages by in this case Justice Marvin Zuker ordered Mustafa Ururyar to pay $8,000 in the victim’s legal costs as well.  The Criminal Lawyers’ Association sought intervenor status on the appeal of the sentence.  The point at issue is the necessity of legal advice for victims.  Related article:  Globe and Mail – Patrick White and Robyn Doolittle   Unfounded: Over 10,000 sexual-assault cases to be reviewed

Ottawa Citizen – Andrew Seymour
Inmate says she was strip-searched, handcuffed after jail-cell miscarriage

The inquiry into a Jan 25 miscarriage by an inmate 13 weeks pregnant at the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre has prompted a judge to call the treatment of 28 year old Alyssa Bennett “nightmarish and inhumane.”  The treatment defied attempts by her lawyer, her social worker, her Elizabeth Fry worker and even a crown attorney to get her into hospital.  The Ministry of Correctional Services has launched an investigation and refuses to comment.   Related article: Senate of Canada – The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights Senate investigates human rights in Canadian prisons

Parliament of Canada – Iqra Khalid, MP, Mississauga/Erin Mills

Motion 103, now before the House, comes for debate in the House on Feb. 15.  It is a motion to establish January 29 as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia.  The motion also calls for government to establish “a parliamentary committee to study systemic racism, religious discrimination – including Islamophobia – and recommend ways for the government to develop a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to address these issues in Canada.”  Supporters are asking for letters / calls to MP’s.   Parliamentary site / text for Motion 103: