Alberta Justice Minister Tyler Shandro is telling Ottawa it must pass promised amendments "immediately" to make it more challenging for repeat offenders to get bail.
Justice Minister David Lametti met with his provincial and territorial counterparts in March. He said Ottawa would move forward quickly on "targeted reforms" to the Criminal Code to update Canada's bail system.
Shandro hopes they follow through on their promise for changes "immediately," stating the law on bail is "fundamentally unsound" and needs serious reform.
"Alberta calls on the federal government to walk the walk, live up to its promise and make this change now. It is the right thing to do," he said.
"Victims, law enforcement and all Albertans have been waiting far too long for this to happen."
The proposed changes would reverse the onus for repeat violent offenders seeking bail, including crimes involving knives and bear spray, while making changes related to violent crimes with firearms.
The federal government passed Bill C-5 last year, which removed mandatory minimum sentences for some drug, firearms and tobacco-related convictions. They said clause 14 of Bill C-21 would increase penalties for those convicted of certain firearms offences to reduce violent gun crime.
An order paper question recently submitted by Simcoe North MP Adam Chambers uncovered that 390 people faced convictions for firearms offences under sections 95, 96, 99, 100 and 103 of the Criminal Code of Canada between 2016 and 2021.
He asked how many offenders received the maximum sentence for these crimes under Bill C-21. Federal records indicate nobody convicted of these crimes during that period received the legislated maximum penalty of 10 years.
Moreover, Ottawa promised to introduce legislative changes as early as this session of Parliament.
"We have a broad consensus on a path forward," said Lametti, who claimed reforms would address the challenges of repeat violent offenders.
"Bail is a constitutional right, but it is not absolute," he said. "Our laws are clear that bail can be denied where there is just cause when it is necessary for the safety of the public or to maintain the public's confidence in the administration of justice."
On December, 27, 28-year-old OPP Const. Grzegorz (Greg) Pierzchala died while responding to a call for a ditched vehicle in Hagersville, Ontario — his first-day working solo.
Court documents revealed Randall McKenzie, one of two people facing first-degree murder charges in the officer’s death, is a violent offender recently out on bail for a separate case involving assault and weapons charges.
In September 2021, Ontario Premier Doug Ford criticized the justice system for failing to "get its act together" after a man accused of killing a Toronto police officer received bail.
In what investigators called a deliberate act, a 55-year-old officer died on July 2 after being struck by a vehicle while responding to a reported robbery at Toronto City Hall. The accused Umar Zameer faced one count of first-degree murder but went out on bail.
"This is beyond comprehension," tweeted Ford.
"It's unacceptable that the person charged for this heinous crime is now out on bail. Our justice system must get its act together and start putting victims and their families ahead of criminals."