(Ottawa) A majority of federal lawmakers have allowed the House of Commons to pass Bill C-5 that would eliminate mandatory minimum sentences. This bill, which aims to fulfill a promise made by the Liberals in 2015, will therefore go to the Senate.
Posted at 5:29pm
At the end of the day on Wednesday, 206 elected officials supported C-5 versus 117 who opposed it. The Liberals could count on the support of the New Democrats and the bloc.
The Conservatives, who had opposed the bill on every occasion, voted against it.
Bill C-5 would amend the Criminal Code to remove mandatory minimum sentences for all drug abuse convictions and for certain firearms-related offenses.
Prosecutors would also need to consider using treatment programs or other support services rather than charging simple drug possession.
Justice Secretary David Lametti argued the changes were aimed at addressing the over-representation of Black and Indigenous people in the justice system.
These changes would reverse the “tough on crime” measures passed by Stephen Harper’s previous Conservative government.
Canadian courts have already overturned some mandatory minimum sentences, calling them unconstitutional.
If the bill also passes the Senate, it would be the Liberals’ first major step on the issue after promising to review mandatory minimum penalties in 2015.