MONTRÉAL, QUÉBEC--(Marketwired - Sept. 6, 2013) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Central Nova, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Steven Blaney, P.C., M.P for Lévis-Bellechasse and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, today met with victims of crime and justice advocates in Montréal to discuss key priorities for the creation of a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights.
"It is encouraging to see how much improvement has been made in the past few years to make our justice system more inclusive for victims of crime," said Minister MacKay. "But more must be done. These consultations provide a unique opportunity to discuss with those directly involved how our Government can give victims a more effective voice in our criminal justice system."
Minister Blaney supported Minister MacKay's comments.
"Since 2006, our Government has worked hard to make our streets and communities safer by taking action to ensure the voices of victims of crime are heard," said Minister Blaney. "I am proud of the progress we have made to help victims participate in the corrections and criminal justice system in a meaningful way."
This consultation follows the Government's commitment in February to entrench the rights of victims of crime by bringing forward legislation to implement a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights as a single law at the federal level. Views expressed by those at the Montréal consultation will add to information provided through other consultations across the country and to the online public consultation being hosted on the Department of Justice website. The online consultation has been extended until September 27, 2013, and is available at http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/victims-victimes/vrights-droitsv/. These consultations will ultimately contribute to enhancing victims' rights in Canada.
The development of a federal Victims Bill of Rights builds on the Government's record of achievements in giving victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice and corrections systems. These achievements include:
- Designating more than $120 million since 2006 to give victims a more effective voice through initiatives delivered by the Department of Justice Canada;
- Providing for $10.25 million for new or enhanced Child Advocacy Centres to address the needs of child and youth victims of crime;
- Creating the Federal Victims Strategy in 2007 and its permanent renewal in 2011;
- Establishing the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime;
- Introducing legislation to double the victims' surcharge and make it mandatory; and
- Eliminating the faint-hope clause, which allowed murderers to obtain early parole.
The Victims Bill of Rights consultations are part of the Government's Plan for Safe Streets and Communities, which is one of four priorities identified by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. This Plan focuses on tackling crime, enhancing victims' rights, and ensuring a fair and efficient justice system.
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