United Church Urges Caution with Regard to Omnibus Crime Bill

TORONTO, Nov. 24, 2011 /CNW/ - In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, The United Church of Canada has urged the government "to reconsider the provisions of Bill C-10 dealing with the imposition of minimum sentences; and to separate the provisions of the omnibus bill to allow for consideration of the potential impacts of its component parts."

The church's letter notes its appreciation for improvements to certain aspects of the criminal legislation but also expresses grave concern with some parts of the bill—particularly its impact on Canada's Aboriginal peoples.

"The Government of Canada shares culpability with The United Church of Canada and other historic mission churches for the legacy of residential schools and the lasting effects this legacy continues to have on Canada's Aboriginal peoples," writes the church.

Part of the lasting and damaging impact of the legacy of Canada's residential schools lives on in the disproportionate representation of Aboriginal people in our country's prisons, explains the church.

Echoing concerns raised by other organizations about the proposed legislation, the United Church's letter highlights curtailing conditional sentencing and imposing mandatory minimum sentences as two aspects of Bill C-10 that would have a particularly negative impact on Aboriginal offenders.

The full text of The United Church of Canada's letter to the Prime Minister is posted on the United Church's website: www.united-church.ca/communications/news/releases/111124.

SOURCE United Church of Canada

For further information:

To arrange media interviews:

Mary-Frances Denis
The United Church of Canada
416-231-7680 ext. 2016 (office)
1-800-268-3781 ext. 2016 (toll-free)
416-400-7273 (cell)
mdenis@united-church.ca

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United Church of Canada

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