Month: October 2017

What is the solution to problematic sexual assault judgments?

​This week, I was privileged to be a witness at the House of Commons standing committee on justice and human rights, speaking to the Members of Parliament about Bill C-51. Bill C-51 proposes a number of significant and deeply disturbing changes to the sexual assault regime under the Criminal Code.
 
There’s too much to say about that, so I’ll save my breakdown of the problems for another blog post. But for today, I want to focus on the problem of sexual assault judgments and what can be done to fix it.

How do you solve a problem like fentanyl?

Not a day goes by when we do not read stories about the carnage that fentanyl is wreaking on our communities. The BC Court of Appeal has issued a stern warning for those who traffic in fentanyl: the starting point for sentencing is a jail sentence in the range of eighteen months. And given the evidence and attention about fentanyl deaths, it’s hard to cry foul at these guidelines. 

As a result of the severe consequences of fentanyl trafficking, the BC Government has been repeatedly asked about what they are doing to address the situation. Some have suggested a pro-social approach, enhancing opportunities for rehabilitation for drug users. Others have pointed to studies that have shown that decriminalizing hard drugs actually leads to a decrease in deaths associated to those drugs. Others still think the answer is to arrest all the traffickers, round them up, and throw them in jail. 

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