Dalhousie Law Journal


criminal law, Canada, justice, discrimination, aboriginal, criminal code, reform, courts


Canada's criminal justice system has been shaken out of its stolid complacency in recent years by demonstrated instances of unfair treatment of religious, ethnic and racial minorities, and in particular our Aboriginal peoples.' Faced with a hue and cry directed at the justice system, the federal Minister of Justice asked the Law Reform Commission of Canada to study "as a matter of special priority, the Criminal Code and related statutes and to examine the extent to which those laws ensure that Aboriginal persons and persons who are members of cultural or religious minorities have equal access to justice and are treated equitably and with respect."2 The Law Reform Commission of Canada took the position that the plight of Aboriginal persons in relation to the criminal justice system was sufficiently unique that it justified individual treatment. The report being reviewed is thus haft ofthe Commissions' response to the ministerial reference. A second report dealing with cultural and religious minorities is to be released shortly.