Bold Justice Reform?

April 3, 2018

So episode 74 – a new record.  But you know that right? Because you subscribe to the show on iTunes and have already rated and reviewed the podcast – right? You should.

Hey look we have a sponsor! Let the podcast money start rolling in! But seriously a huge thanks to Emond Publishing!

This episode we are joined by good friend of the podcast (TM) Peter Sankoff to take a deep dive into Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould‘s new BOLD justice bill. The legislation, Bill C-75, was billed as a silver bullet to unclog our courts and bring about a “cultural shift” in the justice system. The changes may be bold, but in this case the proposed reforms will likely result in more delays, more racial inequality and more unfair trials.

Bill C-75 promises to speed up court cases by eliminating preliminary hearings for all but the most serious matters. Also, quietly slipped into the bill is a provision that would allow Crown prosecutors to simply file written copies of police officers’ evidence instead of actually calling them at trial to testify. Not only will these changes waste more court time than they save, they will erode fundamental safeguards of trial fairness.

Perhaps most galling is what is not in the new law: the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences. This change would reduce court delays and increase fairness. It also has decades of evidence and study to back up its positive impacts. And, if you care about such things, it was also an explicit election promise.

Bill C-75 has been widely condemned in the legal community. It has also shown that, like her predecessors, Wilson-Raybould is willing to draft reactive legislation based on one high-profile case, is willing to disregard evidence, is willing to sacrifice trial fairness, and is willing to break promises.

The Liberal’s flagship justice bill is massive and it is already in trouble. The debate about this bill is not going to be quiet and will not be going away any time soon – so lets dig in….

We also have some new art – it is still new because it is way easier to just copy and past this section each week – from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle – serious he is crazy good – go check out his work.

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Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

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