Cancel minimal sentences | A slippery slope for the safety of our communities
Justin Trudeau’s government’s C-5 bill, which eliminates minimum penalties for some serious firearms offenses, recently took effect. In particular, it aims to reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous, Black, or marginalized Canadians in the criminal justice system. With this measure, will liberals promote racial equality among the prison population at the expense of citizen safety?
Most recently, a ruling was based on this discriminatory law to avoid jail time for a so-called “racist” young offender who was arrested in the summer of 2020. Judge Eric Fanstein agreed with defense counsel’s arguments that argued that this law should apply to a client resulting from “diversity.” “. Police found MDMA, cocaine, methamphetamine, and cannabis in his home, and also found two illegal handguns hidden in bags, as well as two illegal chargers. He was convicted of drug trafficking and possession of illegal loaded weapons.
Due to the problem of gun violence in Montreal, the Crown was asking for a four-year prison sentence. The 24-year-old defendant had hoped to obtain leniency from the court by serving a 24-month home jail sentence. Judge Vanchstein, who said he was sensitive to the fact that the young man was suspicious of the police and was already a victim of racism, preferred this route by imposing a community incarceration rather than a prison.
A reminder of the facts is essential
1. Violence within the community is a reality in Canada, and the main victims of the murders come from the same communities as their attackers. Thus, Statistics Canada indicates that black victims are overrepresented in this type of crime, representing 49% of “racist” victims in 2021, which does not correspond to their demographic weight. We also learn that the victims of Aboriginal murders (and many murders of women) are six times as represented as non-Aboriginal people.
2. The over-representation of these homicide victims is directly related to the over-representation of Black and Indigenous violent offenders in our prisons and correctional facilities. These perpetrators are rightly arrested and duly sentenced for serious crimes that affected these communities.
3. The liberal government has preferred to address the over-representation of violent offenders rather than the over-representation of violent crime victims in certain societies.
In his great wisdom, he believes that by returning violent criminals to their communities more quickly, the problems of overrepresentation will melt like snow in the sun and the number of victims of homicide and femicide in these communities will decrease.
4. The government has addressed this overrepresentation by removing mandatory minimum penalties for several serious firearm-related offenses, including possession, aiming, and discharge of a firearm. A measure that would benefit violent offenders who are indigenous, black, or marginalized, creating a two-tiered justice system.
5- In 2021, four out of ten (41%) homicides were committed with a firearm. The firearm was found in 29% of these cases. Over 90% of the handguns found are not from Canada. Of the 297 gun homicides committed in 2021, nearly half (46%) were deemed gang-related by police. So the Bell C-21 attacks the wrong target, hunters and sport shooters.
6. Police services are working hard to find female and female murder suspects. They rely on objective facts and concrete information to catch and convict violent criminals, not on conscious and unconscious bias, as some like to say. We can easily imagine their disappointment with such decisions.
The race or skin color of offenders should not be taken into account in court cases. We risk weakening the perpetrators because of their non-compliance with the law.
Downplaying gun crime will only increase violent offenders’ sense of prevention and increase the representation of victims of homicide and femicide in some societies.
We support the Ontario Police Unions and the ADPQ (Association of Police Chiefs of Quebec) who are calling for an urgent review of laws, such as Bill C-75, that promote the release of dangerous offenders. A policeman recently paid with his life.
The rights of victims to life, health, and safety, regardless of the color of their skin, should always take precedence over the rights of violent offenders.
* Stefan Wall, retired SPVM supervisor; Annie Samson, Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee in charge of Public Security, 2013-2017, and Mayor of the City of San Michele, 2006-2017; Andrei Gelinas, retired SPVM Detective Sergeant; Supported by Muriel Chatelier, Communications Specialist; Stéphane Vogaing, former candidate for Parti québécois 2022; Frédéric Bastien, historian. Marisa Thibault, teacher; Caroline Morin, teacher; Jane Underhill, strategic advisor; Sylvain Saint-Amour, teacher; Celine LaMarche, Administrative Assistant