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Feds propose changes to Criminal Code to address systemic racism in the justice system | FULL

CA, 19 Feb 2021
The Trudeau government on Thursday tabled legislation to repeal mandatory minimum penalties for certain drug offences, saying they do not deter crime and unfairly affect Indigenous and Black offenders.

Justice Minister David Lametti said the amendment was “turning the page on a failed conservative criminal justice policy." Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth added that Canada is “not immune to the realities of racism” and the reform “will take meaningful steps” toward reducing the overrepresentation of Black and Indigenous people in the criminal justice system.

The bill introduced would also allow for greater use of conditional sentences, such as house arrest, counselling or treatment, for people who do not pose a threat to public safety. In addition, it would require police and prosecutors to consider alternative measures for cases of simple possession of drugs, such as diversion to addiction-treatment programs.

The legislation is one of several measures the federal Liberals have promised to address systemic racism in the justice system.

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