Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson was in Edmonton on Tuesday, pushing the Tories' three point plan to improve the country's justice system.

After outlining some of the policies the Conservatives have already put forward - such as implementing a new citizen's arrest bill, as well as establishing tougher penalties for white collar crime  and elder abuse - Nicholson said much work remains to be done.

"We are here to do a better job for victims in this country," Nicholson said at a round table discussion. "We believe people lose confidence in the justice system if they perceive that the consequences of a crime are inadequate or that the punishment doesn't fit the crime."

So one of the government's three objectives is to enhance the rights of victims by bringing forward a victim's Bill of Rights. Nicholson said the legislation will aim to make it easier for victims to receive restitution when they or their families incur losses - "something which too often remains difficult," he added.

Another goal the department is working on is improving the efficiency of the justice system, specifically by "focusing on measures to make the bail and extradition regimes more effective."

The final point of focus is taking further steps to hold violent criminals more accountable.

Nicholson spoke about the new 'Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act," which is supposed to address concerns raised by victims of crime and provincial governments with respect to the accused being found not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder.

The act, which was introduced last month by the prime minister, will "enhance the involvement of victims when decisions are made about whether that individual can or should be released," Nicholson explained.

"We will be introducing additional legislation to further crack down on criminals who commit sexual offences against children," he added, "and to ensure sentencing takes into account each young life that has been devastated by a sexual predator."

"Sexual exploitation is apparently becoming more violent, while the children who are being exploited are younger than ever," Nicholson says, citing a 2009 ombudsman report that indicated 58 percent of all victims of sexual offences reported to police were aged 17 years or younger.

"Children are the most vulnerable members of society. They must be better protected from sexual predators."

The changes are part of the government's "Safe Streets and Communities" plan.

It's estimated that the total cost of crime in Canada is $100 billion per year.


Last updated on: 2013-03-12 | Link to this post