NDP Public Safety Critic Alistair MacGregor issued the following statement:
“A new Globe and Mail report has confirmed something many Indigenous and racialized Canadians already know; they are much less likely to be paroled in the first year they are eligible compared to their white counterparts. It is clear that systemic racism is present in our justice system and the Liberal government must urgently address it.
Nearly two years after the Prime Minister knelt down and promised to act on systemic racism, Canadians are still waiting for meaningful change. Once again, the Liberals are saying the right things, but not backing them up with concrete action.
Indigenous and racialized people have been grossly overrepresented in Canadian prisons for years. Over the past two decades, the number of Indigenous people in federal custody has increased, exceeding 30% of the total prison population in 2020, while BIPOC Canadians made up 46% of the total population in the same year.
New Democrats have long called for action to fix this system that hurts Indigenous and racialized Canadians. This must include addressing the discriminatory effects of mandatory minimum sentences, increasing funding for legal aid programs, developing culturally appropriate bail programs, increasing restorative justice programs and community and better integration of Gladue principles into legal proceedings. We also called for the development and implementation of an African-Canadian Justice Strategy, which would include working with Black Canadians with experience and expertise on criminal justice issues.
New Democrats are committed to making Canada’s justice system fairer and to working with advocates and community members to create a system that better serves all Canadians.