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Government analyzes bail reforms

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is "carefully" and "swiftly" analyzing a letter from Canada's premiers calling for reforms to the country's bail system.

Premiers from all 13 provinces and territories signed the letter sent to Trudeau on Friday, writing that the time to act is now and "our heroic first responders cannot wait."

The letter was initiated by Ontario Premier Doug Ford's office following the late December murder of an Ontario provincial police officer.

One of the officer's two alleged killers was originally denied bail in a separate case involving assault and weapons charges, but was later released. In response to the provinces' request to review the bail system in Canada, this was Trudeau's response:

Canadians understand that we must have a justice system that is effective in keeping our people safe and that is fair. Every time changes are made to the bail system there are challenges and it particularly impacts indigenous groups and other minorities and we have to make sure that we take that into account. We all want a system that ensures that Canadians are safe in their homes, in their communities and that's why we are looking very carefully at the premiers' proposal. We will always put the safety of Canadians as a priority, that's what we have done in various criminal justice reforms and that's what we will continue to do. We understand that there is a real concern and we will work quickly on that review.

The provinces and territories agreed last fall to overhaul Canada's bail system and the federal government says the work is "ongoing."

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