Manitoba Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen is in Ottawa today for a meeting on bail reform.
Goertzen says justice ministers met in Halifax last fall and have a unified opinion that bail reform is needed.
"We're seeing far too many individuals who are violent offenders, who are getting bail very easily and then committing another crime when they are out on bail," explains Goertzen.
He notes bail laws are largely contained within the Criminal Code and therefore any changes must come from Ottawa. Goertzen says provincial justice ministers have brought a unified message to federal Justice Minister David Lametti.
"We brought a unified message, we want to see those changes," he adds. "There was a commitment by the federal government to hold another meeting to propose changes."
That meeting is happening today. Goertzen explains it will include attorney generals, provincial justice minister and then federal Justice Minister Lametti.
"We'll be in Ottawa on Friday to hopefully hear from the federal government real proposals for meaningful change on bail reform," he notes. "And that's one step."
Goertzen refers to this as an important step because it is really difficult to keep communities safe when individuals who are dedicated to causing violence are not being held when they should be held.
Goertzen says we are all hearing the news reports, noting some of them are shocking in terms of young people who are either committing crimes or are the victims. He adds the way these random attacks are now happening is evident that something has changed in recent years. And, according to Goertzen, there must be a response.
"Part of that response is ensuring that where individuals have clearly shown they are dedicated to committing violence in the community, they have to be detained, not in the community," he says.
But Goertzen notes there is the other side to consider as well. He says we must ensure that people are getting supports so that they do not fall into a life of crime.
Goertzen says his government is promising record investments in social supports like supportive housing and shelters. But, then also recognizing that when an individual is committed to a life of violent crime, that there is strong punishment for that.