April 24, 2019
Mr. Irving Kulik
Canadian Criminal Justice Association
101-320 Parkdale Avenue
Ottawa ON KIY 4X9
Dear Mr. Kulik:
Thank you for your correspondence, sent on behalf of the Canadian Criminal Justice Association and addressed to my predecessor, concerning Bill S-251, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (independence of the judiciary) and to make related amendments. I regret the delay in responding.
As you know, Bill S-251 was introduced in the Senate by Senator Kim Pate on May 29, 2018. The Bill passed Second Reading in the Senate on November 27, 2018, and was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
As you may know, I am currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system, including changes and sentencing reforms made over the past decade. Accordingly, I am committed to advancing sentencing reforms that will stand the test of time and to ensuring that all Criminal Code provisions align with the fundamental principles of sentencing.
I would like to assure you that any changes brought forward by our government will be based on the best available evidence and will benefit from our ongoing and thorough collaboration with Canadians, key stakeholders, and the provinces and territories, which are responsible for the administration of justice.
To this end, it may interest you to know that the Department of Justice Canada prepared a series of fact sheets dealing with child sexual offences, drug offences, and firearm-related offences subject to mandatory minimum penalties (MMPs). The Department has also canvassed the views of Canadians through the National Justice Survey 2017 on, among other things, discretion in sentencing and MMPs. Further details are available at www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/jr/index.html.
You may also be interested to know that departmental officials have been asked to analyze the proposed amendments to MMPs contained in Bill S-251, as well as the broader policy and legal implications the amendments would have on our criminal law and sentencing regime.
Please be assured that our government remains committed to ensuring that our criminal justice system meets the highest standards of equity, fairness, and respect for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Thank you again for writing.
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada