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B.C. pushes bail reform forward in talks with feds

Twenty-three organizations will receive $5 million in grants
B.C. Attorney General Niki Sharma looks on during the swearing-in ceremony at Government House in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday, December 7, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C.’s Attorney-General Niki Sharma says the province is making progress on bail reform.

Sharma was apart of an unrelated announcement for Indigenous not-for-profit funding with the federal government on Feb. 3 when asked for an update.

Sharma said she met with Federal Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti as well as Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino during a recent delegation visited Ottawa.

Premier David Eby has promised that his government would crack down on violent, repeat offenders.

RELATED: Trudeau says Ottawa looking at bail reform after letter from premiers demands action

“I believe there is some interest by both parties to work together and come up with some solutions,” she said.

While many factors account for the increase in reported violence on the streets of cities like Vancouver and Victoria, experts have in part blamed a “catch-and-release” bail system.

B.C. toughened bail measures in the fall but Eby and along with the rest of provincial and territorial leaders have since asked for additional measures.

The issue of repeat offending and violent stranger attacks is front of mind for many British Columbians, Eby said at the time.

“We believe there are the unintended consequences of the changes to the federal criminal code around the availability of bail and subsequent Supreme Court of Canada decisions,” he said.

“We expressed our urgent concerns about needing the federal government to come to the table and to make those amendments that are necessary to the Criminal Code provisions.”

22 Indigenous organizations to receive funds

A select number of Indigenous-led non-profits will receive grants totalling $5 million to help them serve their communities.

Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits Megan Dykeman said during a news conference that 22 of the non-profits will receive $72,000 per year over three years and one will receive $150,000 over two years.

Vancouver Native Housing Society Chief Executive Officer Brenda Knights said the funds will help people get quicker into homes and offer other services in her area.


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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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