May 14 2010 VANCOUVER - Canada's western justice ministers are concerned changes proposed to the Youth Criminal Justice Act could endanger the public.
Justice ministers from the four western provinces wrapped up a two-day meeting in Vancouver on Friday talking about youth crime, organized crime and how to nudge the federal government to make further legal changes.
The federal government is in the middle of amending the Youth Criminal Justice Act and the justice ministers want to make sure their criticisms are heard.
Host Attorney General Mike de Jong said the changes could make it almost impossible to keep a youth in custody "even in circumstances where it would seem abundantly clear that maintaining them in custody is necessary both to protect the public and ensure their attendance in court."
De Jong said the ministers are also concerned about the sentencing threshold the act would place on courts.
"There are times, we believe as the four western provinces, when it is necessary for a young offender to be subjected to the full sanction of the adult sentencing provisions."
Given the proposals they've seen so far, de Jong said it may be difficult and perhaps impossible for a court to hand down an adult sentence to a youth.
De Jong said he, along with Alberta Attorney General Alison Redford, Alberta Solicitor General Frank Oberle, Saskatchewan Justice Minister Yogi Huyghebaert and Manitoba Justice Minister Andrew Swan, plan to go as one voice to the federal government to relay their concerns.
Another central focus of the meeting was organized crime.
Swan told the media at the end of the gathering that public safety isn't a partisan issue, and they all worked together sharing ways to create a "hostile environment" for organized crime.
"By attacking its financial roots, by finding more things we can do within our own control," he said.
Redford said she's pleased to see the federal government moving quickly on bail reform for gang members.
"There is no doubt that as western ministers, we've spent a fair amount of time talking about our approaches to organized crime and to gangs. We've taken a multi-pronged approach."
Also on the ministers' wish list from the federal government is improved wiretap and lawful-access legislation that would bring the law into this century and encompass technologies such as cellular phones.
The ministers say those changes are essential to investigating organized crime and other serious and violent offences.
h1. EXECUTIVE DIGEST
h2. May 13 2010
WHITEHORSE - A civil lawsuit against the Mounties has prompted the RCMP’s top cop in the Yukon to say a policing review in the territory could make a difference for people such as a First Nations man who died in police custody. Page 2
h2. May 14 2010
VANCOUVER - The first person convicted under Canada’s law against fundraising for a terrorist group has been sentenced to six months in jail. Page 3
h2. May 15 2010
EDMONTON - An impending Alberta law cracking down on body armour will be a toothless paper tiger when it goes hunting in the Internet jungle, predicts one distributor. Page 4
h2. May 17 2010
REGINA - Saskatchewan police who may prick their hands on a needle while patting down a suspect can now find out if the person has a disease. Page 5
h2. May 18 2010
TORONTO - The Toronto Police Service on Monday unveiled a host of initiatives aimed at addressing potential bias in the force, including human-rights training for all members and a revamp of the process for dealing with humanrights complaints. Page 6
h2. May 20 2010
OTTAWA - Police detectives investigating the brazen firebombing of an Ottawa bank are closing in on suspects who call themselves FFFC-Ottawa and expect to file search warrants in a case that has drawn global headlines, The Ottawa Citizen has learned. Page 7