Criminal Code Changes Needed to Keep Violent Offenders Off the Street: Goertzen[October 14, 2022] Provinces from across Canada have agreed, with a push by the Manitoba government, on the need to change federal bail provisions that too often result in dangerous offenders being released back on the street after being charged with violent offences, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said. The consensus was achieved at the conclusion of three days of meetings in Nova Scotia between provincial and federal ministers of justice and public safety.
“The Manitoba government came with a clear message that too many violent offenders are being granted bail only to them victimize someone else while on bail,” said Goertzen. “I was pleased that all provinces agreed that there needs to be changes to federal bail provisions in order to protect our communities.”
Specifically, the Manitoba government brought forward suggestions to make bail harder for accused violent offenders who use a bladed weapon, as well as making bear spray that has been modified for use on humans a prohibited weapon.
In addition to offering support for these suggestions, provinces agreed to work on advancing further suggestions to make bail provisions more difficult for repeat and violent offenders to the federal government.
Goertzen also reiterated Manitoba’s concern about the understaffing of RCMP officers in the province and its objection to using scarce RCMP resources to enforce the federal gun buy-back program from law-abiding gun owners.
“Already rural Manitobans are frustrated with the lack of RCMP officers available in communities. We need to ensure the officers we have can focus their efforts on stopping crime, not on a federal program targeting law-abiding gun owners,” Goertzen said.
Goertzen urged the federal government to work toward disrupting the flow of illegal guns across the border and the production of 3D-printed guns and ghost guns. The minister noted that those efforts would be enhanced with the extension and enhancement of the federal Guns and Gangs Violence Action Fund.
At the invitation of the Manitoba government, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection presented on the increase of child exploitation online and the need to support victims and target predators.
“One of the most impactful presentations of the meetings came from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. Without question, we need to work collaboratively across national and international jurisdictions to do more to address the horrific crime of child exploitation and human trafficking,” Goertzen said.
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