Standing up to mandatory victim surcharge fees

Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada is deflecting criticism of a new, mandatory victim surcharge, saying judges opposed to the measure will eventually 'see the wisdom' of making sure victims of crime receive proper help. (CP/Sean Kilpatrick)


Judges faced with mandatory and arbitrary sentencing under Prime Minister Stephen Harper's so-called Tough-on-Crime laws are arguing justice is not necessarily served. If they lose their discretion, this is affecting victim surcharge fees and credit for time served. Today we look at the divide between the Law and Justice.

A recent change to the law means judges are no longer allowed to exercise discretion over victim surcharge fines for poor convicts

Some of Canada's judges believe a new law gets in the way of justice. When what's called the 'Increasing Offenders Accountability Act' came into effect in late October, it not only increased victim surcharge fees, it made them mandatory. Prior to the law's passing, judges could waive the fines if they believed the offender was too poor to pay.

  • Honourable Justice Colin Westman argues that mandatory fees are arbitrary and therefore at odds with justice. He is a member of the Ontario Court of Justice and joined us from Kitchener, Ontario.

  • Robert Goguen is the Conservative MP for Moncton - Riverview - Dieppe. He is also the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice. Robert Goguen was in Moncton, New Brunswick.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Gord Westmacott, Idella Sturino and Sujata Berry.

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