April 5th, 2018

Jagmeet Singh calls out government inaction on discrimination in justice system

On Thursday, NDP Leader, Jagmeet Singh, called out the Liberal government’s failure to tackle discrimination in Canada’s criminal-justice system and reiterated his call for federal leadership to ban police checks, a practice (also known as carding) that disproportionately targets non-white Canadians.

“From that first contact with a police officer, all the way to the sentencing of a crime, the unfair treatment of racial minorities is evident across Canada,” Singh said, who has himself been the target of police street checks. “No one in Canada should be treated any differently in our justice system based on what they look like.”

Singh also slammed the government for breaking its promises to roll-back mandatory minimum sentences implemented by the Harper Conservatives. Mandatory minimums have a disproportionate effect on groups that are over-represented in jails, such as Indigenous Peoples who are incarcerated at a rate of 5 times their population across Canada, as well as African-Nova Scotians whose incarceration rate is 7 times higher within the province.

“I’m shocked that the federal government refused to take action on Republican-style mandatory minimums, which fail to deter crime and add more delays to the massive backlog in our courts,” said Singh. “Enough talk, we need real measures to improve our justice system and work towards ending discrimination in our courts and on our streets.”