Mandatory victim fines: It’s not about justice

December 23, 2013

For more on the mandatory victim fine surcharge and Peter MacKay’s unwillingness to engage in an honest dialog on the issue head over to iPolitics to access my latest article. 

Here is a preview:

The simmering feud between the Conservative government and the courts over the new mandatory victim fine surcharges recently threatened to boil over — with Justice Minister Peter MacKay accusing judges of showing contempt for the law and an Ontario Court judge calling MacKay a bully.

It’s not unusual (not lately, at any rate) for the courts to disagree with the government. Earlier this year the Ontario Court of Appeal struck down mandatory penalties — sentences, this time — that were key aspects of the 2008 Conservative omnibus crime bill.

Given the lack of evidence supporting the use of minimum penalties and the potential negative impacts of mandatory victim fines, the current confrontation was entirely predictable. Conflict between the courts and government is what you get when legislative ideology isn’t backed up by facts.

Turning a blind eye to evidence and expert opinion is a dangerous game. Poor policy choices can have lasting and substantial impacts on Canadians and their communities. This is especially true when it come to criminal legislation — legislation that affects public safety, the state’s power and the scope of individual rights.

[….] Continued at iPolitics