Justin Trudeau says changes to legal system expected in 'coming weeks'

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be meeting with Saskatchewan’s new premier today, as well as making other stops and announcements in Regina throughout the day.

Changes to gun laws, jury reform coming says Prime Minister

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes the podium from Ralph Goodale, minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, during a Laurier Club donor appreciation reception at the Hotel Saskatchewan in Regina on Thursday, March 8, 2018. (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said "in the coming weeks" there will be "legislation coming forward on addressing" issues related to the Canadian justice system.

Trudeau made the comment after he was asked about the aftermath of Gerald Stanley's acquittal. Stanley was acquitted in the killing of 22-year-old Colten Boushie on Feb. 9. 

"We know we need to make significant changes along the paths of reconciliation," he told CBC Radio One's The Morning Edition on Friday. 

Across Canada, those who were outraged at the verdict took issue with peremptory challenges in the jury selection process after potential jurors who appeared to be visibly Indigenous were dismissed. There were 14 challenges available to both the Crown and defence, which meant they could dismiss any potential juror with no reason required.


Trudeau's interview was wide-ranging, as he spoke about several issues including the Stanley trial, jury selection, rural crime, gun laws and broader national and international issues.

"We're going to be moving forward with a series of improvements to our gun laws that will be focused on both ensuring that people who want to continue, or need to continue, to have guns have responsible access to them while we bring in measures to ensure that we are keeping our community safe, we are reducing the amount of gun violence," Trudeau said.

Trudeau said he understands concerns raised by people living in rural and remote areas.

Police response times in rural areas is a hot topic among Saskatchewan residents. Trudeau said those types of concerns are also present among people living in urban areas.

As to how he would address those concerns, he said he would do so by listening and engaging in a dialogue.

Low income benefits for workers

Trudeau then switched the topic to changes made in the federal budget, specifically the Canada Workers Benefit.

The CWB is aimed at benefiting low income Canadians.

"There will be close to 50,000 people in Saskatchewan, low income workers, who will get more money through the Canada Workers Benefit because we will incentivize getting into the work force and staying in the work force," Trudeau said. 

Tariffs and NAFTA

On steel tariffs and the North American Free Trade Agreement, Trudeau said that the U.S. and Canadian economies were very much "integrated."

He also said that he would be meeting with steel workers in Regina next week on the same topic.

Trudeau said he was "happy" to renegotiate and improve NAFTA but added that tariffs by the Trump administration were "unfair" and potentially damaging to both countries.

"The level of integration of our economies means that our workers on both sides of the border benefit when we work together."

India trip

Trudeau also talked about his recent trip to India and the pulse crop negotiations between the Indian government and Canada.

He stressed that the majority of Canada's pulse crop exports would not impacted by pulse tariffs imposed by India.

"We actually came to an agreement on getting a science-based solution on the fumigation issue of pulses within this calendar year," Trudeau said of talks during the trip. 

With files from CBC Radio's Morning Edition