Adopted June 17, 2023
Rural and urban Manitobans are rightly concerned about the increasing levels of crime and violent crimes. Our justice system seems incapable of ensuring our safety and security.
Successive governments have starved the justice system. There are no cheering crowds, photo ops or news headlines at the opening of a jail or courthouse. As a result, prosecutors and court officials are overwhelmed with cases causing delays.
Criminal defence lawyers take advantage of the situation, adding to delays. We will invest in building more criminal courts and jails and ensuring we will add judges, prosecutors, and support staff to allow them to operate efficiently.
The Supreme Court ruled that a reasonable time limit for an accused to appear before a judge was 18 months from the date of charges laid. There are provisions for extensions in some circumstances, but if those conditions are not met, the accused walks free.
Our objective is to have an accused appear before a judge within 90 days. That is possible if we have enough courts, judges, prosecutors, and support staff in place.
The downtown remand centre was overcrowded from the day it was completed. It is nice to have a remand centre across from the main courthouse, but it rests on precious land. We need a second remand centre and more jails built on rocky ridges unsuitable for farming, ranching or habitational development.
This is where we will use the charter notwithstanding clause to elect legislation that declares that persons accused or convicted of violent crimes will not be granted bail or allowed to vote. Engaging in criminal activity must have consequences with teeth. Those engaged in preying on their neighbours must give up their charter rights by default.