Lametti outlines justice priorities for new mandate

  • March 10, 2020

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada promoted his priorities for the justice system at the President’s Dinner in Ottawa on February 19.

David Lametti said that in the months since the October 2019 election the government has been focused on matters such as Indigenous reconciliation, medical assistance in dying, and judicial appointments, “only part of what is – by any definition – an ambitious agenda for the Justice portfolio,” said Lametti.

 “I would argue that much of the work that we intend to undertake over the course of this mandate will produce lasting effects that reflect the progressive conception of the country that Canadians chose last October.”

Lametti spoke about the difficult path to Indigenous reconciliation, while acknowledging the challenges raised by the installation of railway barriers and blockades in various parts of the country (in support of the Wet’suwet’en protest of the Coastal GasLink project) beginning in February.

“There can be nothing more important than the work of renewing the government of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership,” said Lametti. “As the protests and discussions of the past two weeks have underscored, we need to do more to establish and re-establish and maintain productive dialogues. The work needed to bring us further down the path of reconciliation is very much ongoing.”

Earlier in the day, the CBA adopted a resolution calling for the government to pass legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Lametti told the audience the federal government is committed to following through.

“The implementation of the (UN Declaration) is something that the Prime Minister has tasked me to do in my mandate letter, and it is a priority for our whole government.”

Regarding medical assistance in dying, Lametti noted that the Quebec Superior Court’s Truchon decision required the federal government to take action by March 11. Lametti requested an extension of four months beyond the March deadline and subsequently tabled legislation to amend the rules on MAID.

Lametti also spoke about taking steps to strengthen transparency and accountability in the judicial appointments. He complemented the CBA’s work in identifying deserving candidates for judicial positions and positions on the independent judicial advisory committees.

Finally, Lametti identified four changes that he hopes the 43rd Parliament will support:

  • Fulfilling the government’s promise to ban conversion therapy
  • Introducing more effective firearms control policies
  • Measures that combat online hate; and 
  • Establishing an independent Criminal Case Review Commission.

Watch the Minister’s full remarks.