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Home Policy Articles: Crime & Justice

Every Canadian deserves a safe and protected community in which to live. As society has evolved and changed, controversies about how to best prevent crime and deal with criminals have emerged. Debates in crime and justice policy centre on criminal legislation, the administration of justice, and effective policing. This policy area also considers the debates surrounding human rights and the rehabilitation of criminals. A more recent development in crime and justice policy is the emergence of criminal activity in the technological arena, including computer and internet crimes.

This section of will keep you informed on all these debates and more.



The Failed Experiment: Gun Control and Public Safety in Canada, Australia, England and Wales popular

In this study Gary Mauser looks at crime trends in Commonwealth countries that have recently introduced firearm regulations, those being Great Britain, Australia, and Canada. Mauser argues that the widely ignored key to evaluating firearms regulations is to examine trends in total violent crime, not just crimes committed with firearms.

A Civil Argument About Dignity, Beliefs and Marriage

Ian T. Benson wrote this brief regarding the Civil Marriage Act (Bill C-38). Benson argues that the central problem with the marriage debate is that the fundamental starting points of both sides are irreconcilable.

Compendium of Promising Crime Prevention Practices in Canada

In this document Wanda Jamieson and Liz Hart document the effective crime prevention practices which are being used across Canada.

Errors and Omissions in Bill C-38 as Passed by the House: The Need for Senate Recommendations for Amendments

In this brief Iain T. Benson argues that, in the case of divisive issues like marriage, special attention must be paid to process and analysis.

Euthanasia: Definitions, Concerns and Proposals

In this paper Dr. Arnold Voth explores euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide from a medical point of view.

Giving Animals Rights: Bill C-15B Portends Litigation Nightmare

Giving Animals Rights, a Frontier Centre Backgrounder by Robert D. Sopuck, argues that new animal cruelty legislation poses a risk to legitimate animal uses. Sopuck asserts that Bill C-15, an Act to amend the Criminal Code of Canada to include such provisions as harsher penalties for animal cruelty offences, has the potential to negatively affect established animal uses in agriculture, research and recreation. Sopuck cites, for example, the proposed Act’s definition of animals, which he claims is too broad because it no longer considers animals as property under the Criminal Code. Sopuck concludes that existing animal protection legislation is adequate and that the proposed Bill should be deferred.

How the Marriage Challenge Developed

In his paper Iain T. Benson explores changes in law and in society that have paved the way for the current debate about marriage.

Legitimacy on Trial: A Process for Appointing Judges to the Supreme Court of Canada

In this paper Ian Peach examines the process currently used for the appointment of Supreme Court Judges in Canada and compares it to the processes used by other industrialized nations. He argues for a change to the appointment process and suggests a model to this end.

Marijuana Growth in British Columbia

Stephen Easton argues that the cultivation and production of marijuana in British Columbia highlights the problems inherent in enforcing laws that are generally ignored by broad sectors of the populace.

Notes Towards a (Re)definition of the “Secular”

Iain T. Benson suggests that the term “secular” has received little analysis in any judgement by the Canadian courts. The author examines the meaning of “secular” in relation to the nature of human acts as based on faith, and also explores some contextual concerns.

Policing Alberta: An Analysis of the Alternatives to the Federal Provision of Policing Services

Cooper and Koop begin their paper by identifying four distinctive types of police services provided in Alberta those offered by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), municipal policing, First Nations policing, and regional policing (which has been a legal option under the Alberta Police Act since 1988). Cooper and Koop undertake an historical overview of policing in Alberta vis-à-vis the introduction and dissolution of the federal police in Alberta, setting the stage for the rest of their analyses.

Protecting Parental Liberty in a Child-Centred Legal System

According to Silver, in Canada the institutions of the family, private property and religion are under strain. She contends it is time to renew discussion about the “proper role of the family in a free and democratic society.”

Rolling Back Human Rights in BC: An Assessment of Bill 53 - the Government of British Columbia's Draft Human Rights Legislation

In May 2002 the Government of British Columbia tabled Bill 53, an Act to amend the British Columbia Human Rights Code. According to Shelagh Day, author of this evaluation of the proposed legislation, Bill 53 is the Government of British Columbia’s response to concerns over the functioning of the BC Human Rights Commission. Day stresses, however, that Bill 53 must be evaluated to determine whether it actually confronts these concerns. The conclusion of her evaluation is that it does not.

Secularism and the Deeper Questions of Religion and Society

In this brief paper Iain Benson comments on the banning of religious symbols in public schools in France.

The Enforcement of Corporate Criminal and Securities Laws

In late 2002 the Public Policy Forum convened a roundtable discussion on the subject of white-collar crime in Canada, inviting regulators, public service officials, private industry executives, and academics to participate. This publication, authored by David Brook, is a summary of the evening’s discussion. Brook explains that roundtable participants were asked to focus on four issues: 1) the adequacy of Canadian criminal and securities laws; 2) investigation; 3) prosecution; and, 4) sentencing. The report summarizes discussion on these issues and provides recommendations for actions roundtable participants felt could be taken to strengthen Canada’s legal system.

The Future of Marriage in Canada: Is It Time to Consider “Civil Unions”?

Iain T. Benson suggests that while the status of same-sex marriage is almost resolved in Canada, what has not been discussed is whether the government can use “marriage” as a category to determine benefits.

The Role of the Family in Democracy: Obstacle or Necessity?

Recently, the terms “family” and “family values” have become the focus of great concern on the political stage. However, David Brown says the debate about family is always important.

Threats to Cooperation Between Religion and State in Canada Today – Some Lessons From “One Man’s Story”

In his paper Bishop Henry asserts, “Constraining religious liberty diminishes our humanity.” Denying religious freedom robs humans of the ultimate meaning and direction in their lives.

Youth Justice Policy and the Youth Criminal Justice Act

Ross Green compares the Youth Criminal Justice Act of 2002 to the Young Offenders Act from 1984. He outlines the key policy directions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act and discusses where the changes in policy will have the greatest impact.