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Bail reform ‘could not be made much stronger’

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Canada’s justice minister has stated that due to constitutional mandates, the government was unable to create a stricter bail reform than the one they have just proposed.

In an interview on Rosemary Barton Live airing Sunday, David Lametti stated that the government has very little leeway when it comes to infringing upon Canadians’ right to freedom under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“My honest answer is that I don’t think you can go further,” Lametti told CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton.

“What we’ve done here is target a really narrow set of offences: repeat violent offenders with a weapon,” along with some firearms offences,” he said.

“By staying in that very, very narrow lane, we feel that we’re quite compliant with the Charter, but we’re also addressing a number of very specific needs.” 

The Liberal government initiated more all-encompassing bail change prior in its rule, following decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada.

A new bill, C-48, has been proposed to make it more difficult for convicted criminals who have committed violence and used weapons previously to obtain bail. This is achievable by introducing a “reverse onus” stipulation.

In most cases, in order to prevent release on bail, prosecutors must demonstrate that the accused is either a flight risk, a danger to the public, or that detention is necessary to “maintain confidence in the administration of justice.” Reverse onus places the burden on the accused.

In response to requests by police associations and premiers from across Canada, the government has passed a new bill. This is especially pertinent following the shootings of multiple cops in recent months.

Minister Lametti stated that the bill was produced as a result of conversations with various organizations from all over Canada. Moreover, he promised to ensure that the alterations in the bail process would not have negative outcomes for Black and Indigenous people or any solutions targeted at reducing their overrepresentation within the criminal justice system.

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