FERNANDO: Fixing Our Broken Justice System

Canada’s Justice System Is Broken, But Common Sense Can Fix It

By Spencer Fernando, Exclusive to the National Citizens Coalition


To a certain extent, all policy is ultimately made by people who are somewhat insulated from the consequences.

Elected representatives don’t live in the worst neighbourhoods, and they don’t struggle financially the way most Canadians do. The idea is that they are protected from some negative aspects of life so they can devote their time to addressing national problems and making life better for Canadians.

That insulation from day-to-day concerns is supposed to be matched with an understanding of what an honour it is to serve the public, and an understanding that every political role is temporary. Power is supposed to be exercised on behalf of citizens, never forgetting that power comes from the citizens in the first place and ultimately rests with the populace, not in any one person.

And so, there is a duty to remain connected to the concerns politicians are insulated from. There is a duty to remember that life isn’t as good for most Canadians as it is for those in the House of Commons.

Unfortunately, many within the Liberal government have abandoned that duty entirely.

They have allowed their insulation to turn into total disconnection.

As a result, they govern in a way that not only fails to improve the lives of Canadians, but actively makes things worse.

Their disconnect from the reality facing Canadians – and their evident disinterest in addressing that disconnect – has resulted in the federal government failing at the most basic tasks.

Chief among those failures is the failure of our justice system to keep the most dangerous people behind bars.

The justice system is supposed to ensure that our rights are protected and that criminal individuals are appropriately punished for their crimes and kept away from the general population.

The evidence shows that isn’t happening.

Crime in Canada is surging. As you can see in the chart below, that surge coincides with the Liberals’ time in office, as almost all the progress made under the past Conservative Government has been undone.


Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/525173/canada-violent-crime-rate/

According to Statistics Canada, the homicide rate hit a 30-year-high in 2022:

“Police reported 874 homicides in 2022, 78 more than the year before. The homicide rate increased 8% from 2.08 homicides per 100,000 population in 2021 to 2.25 homicides per 100,000 population in 2022. This was the highest rate since 1992.”

Even for the most partisan backer of the government, the facts are simply indisputable.

The Conservatives took office in 2006 having promised to toughen the justice system. They increased sentences for a wide variety of crimes, seeking to keep criminals in prison for a longer period. They tangled with the courts, with some tough-on-crime policies struck down and others remaining in place. Still, the crime rate went down dramatically.

The Liberals took office in 2015 having campaigned against many of the tough-on-crime measures of the Conservatives. They repealed many of those measures, lightened penalties for a wide range of crimes, and made it easier for criminals to avoid jail in the first place. The crime rate has risen dramatically.

The justice system is now so weak that it would almost be hilarious – if the consequences weren’t so grave.

For example, a convicted murderer and abuser of children has been granted bail in B.C.:

“A person convicted of killing a sex worker in 2003 and also assaulting children has been granted bail on charges they violated a long-term supervision order.

On Feb. 21, Vancouver Provincial Court Judge Nancy Adams granted Jatin Patel, 49, bail on the same conditions as contained in the supervision order.

Adams said any risk Patel may pose could be managed in the community by the Parole Board of Canada.”

And – as you may have heard – mass murderer Robert Pickton is now eligible for day parole. While he may never get it, the fact that he is even eligible points to a system that is completely broken. How else could one describe a system with over 75 judicial vacancies, a record amount and urgent concern that continues to go ignored by Trudeau’s latest lackey for an Attorney General?

This brings us back to the point I made at the outset – the massive disconnect between this government and the lives of most Canadians.

The justice system is completely abstract to the Liberal government. It has become something they use to show how ‘compassionate’ they are, how many ‘second chances’ they can give to the worst of the worst to signal how enlightened they are. They don’t see how their ‘compassion’ towards criminals is really cruelty towards law-abiding people.

They don’t live in the neighbourhoods that released killers will terrorize. They don’t pay the price of surging crime. 

Meanwhile, the rest of us must deal with it. We feel our cities and towns becoming less safe. We feel the outrage of following the rules and then watching sadistic killers get a slap on the wrist. 

We see the rising chaos and dysfunction.

For us, it isn’t a game. It isn’t theoretical. It isn’t virtue-signalling.

It’s our lives and our livelihoods.

We have been subject to a radical experiment; an experiment that would only ever be tried by those so far removed from the potential consequences they may as well be living in a different country.

The only saving grace here is that because the justice system has become so out of touch with Canadians, because it has shifted in such an extreme pro-criminal direction, fixing it should be easy.

All a future government has to do is actually appoint judges, toughen sentences to keep vicious criminals in jail, and the crime stats should start turning around.

Not every problem is simple to address of course, but a problem caused by easing sentences for criminals can be largely solved by toughening those sentences. 

If a criminal is in prison, if someone with a propensity for crime is locked away, they can’t victimize innocent people.

And, while the courts – which have largely bought into the stunningly weak soft-on-crime agenda – strike down tough-on-crime policy, the government can use the Notwithstanding Clause to defend those policies.

For far too long our safety and security in this country has depended on the whims of a Liberal government that seems to save all their compassion for criminals while having none for those who follow the law.

It’s time to reverse that.

It’s time for common sense crime policy.

It’s time for a justice system that actually lives up to its name.

Spencer Fernando is one of the most popular and prolific political voices in Canada. He is a writer and campaign fellow for the National Citizens Coalition. Join the mailing list to receive his exclusive weekly columns in your inbox.

For more from Spencer, visit his website, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.