December 23, 2019
Mr. Joel Lightbound, M.P.
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON KIA 0A6
Dear Mr. Lightbound,
On behalf of the Canadian Criminal Justice Association (CCJA), I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
As you may know, the CCJA, which this year is celebrating its centenary, has distinguished itself in the non-government sector of the criminal justice system in Canada as an organization that fosters productive communication, research, educational congresses, publications and public education.
The CCJA has frequently counselled the Government to institute critical reforms of the criminal justice system. For example, we have urged the elimination or significant reduction of the reliance on mandatory minimum penalties and mandatory sentencing provisions. We have also repeatedly recommended facilitating the availability of criminal pardons or record suspensions for individuals who have completed a reasonable period of time crime-free after serving their sentences.
While we understand the challenges the Government may be facing in a minority Parliament, there are areas that would attract support from a broad segment of Canadians. The chronic underfunding of legal aid across the country, the lack of truly independent criminal conviction reviews for suspected wrongful convictions and the frightening availability of assault rifles are areas that need to be addressed by the Government of Canada. We were glad to see some of these measures in the Speech from the Throne and hope to shortly be able to read the draft legislation.
We would welcome an opportunity to meet with you to discuss criminal justice topics of mutual interest.
Once again Mr. Lightbound, please accept our most sincere congratulations on your appointment and we look forward to fruitful collaboration.