The Justice System and Aboriginal People
The Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission
WHEREAS aboriginal peoples are a valued and integral part of the Manitoba community;
AND WHEREAS the Province of Manitoba is committed to ensuring the fair and equitable administration of justice to all Manitobans, as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
AND WHEREAS aboriginal peoples have unique problems with and concerns about the administration of justice in Manitoba;
AND WHEREAS there may be reasons for these problems and concerns, including the cultural differences between aboriginal people and the established legal and social structure, the existence of many aboriginal communities in remote and isolated areas of Manitoba, the separation of constitutional responsibilities of provincial and federal governments towards aboriginal peoples, the over-representation of aboriginal peoples in conflict with the criminal law, and the under-representation of aboriginal peoples employed in the administration of justice;
AND WHEREAS leaders of aboriginal peoples in Manitoba have been increasingly concerned about the relationship between the administration of justice in Manitoba and the legitimate aspirations of aboriginal peoples for greater self-government;
AND WHEREAS recent events, including the death of J.J. Harper and the conduct of the Helen Betty Osborne case, have raised additional concerns about systemic discrimination against aboriginal peoples in the administration of justice in Manitoba;
AND WHEREAS the Lieutenant Governor in Council, by Order in Council No. 468/88 dated April 13, 1988 appointed The Public Inquiry into the Administration of Justice and Aboriginal People as a committee under section 4 of The Attorney Generals Act;
AND WHEREAS the Lieutenant Governor in Council, by Order in Council No. 1308/88 dated November 2, 1988, established and continued The Public Inquiry into the Administration of Justice and Aboriginal People as a commission under Part V of The Manitoba Evidence Act and revoked Order in Council No. 468/88;
AND WHEREAS it is considered advisable to validate the establishment and continuation of The Public Inquiry into the Administration of Justice and Aboriginal People, its actions and the actions of the commissioners appointed to it from the date of its first establishment;
THEREFORE HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:
1 In this Act, commission means The Public Inquiry into the Administration of Justice and Aboriginal People established in subsection 2(1).
2(1) A commission known as The Public Inquiry into the Administration of Justice and Aboriginal people is hereby established.
2(2) The members of the commission are the Honourable Associate Chief Justice A.C. Hamilton of the Court of Queens Bench of Manitoba and His Honour, Associate Chief Judge C.M. Sinclair of the Provincial Court of Manitoba.
Scope of inquiry
3(1) The commissioners shall investigate, report and make recommendations to the Minister of Justice on the relationship between the administration of justice and Aboriginal peoples of Manitoba, guided by but not limited to the terms of reference set out in the Schedule.
Report to minister
3(2) The report of the commission shall be delivered to the Minister of Justice on or before March 31, 1990 or a later date prescribed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
4 Without restricting the powers granted to the commissioners under this Act, the commissioners may
Access to records
5 The commissioners, or persons that they designate, are hereby authorized to have complete access to personnel and all relevant papers, documents, vouchers, records and books of any kind in the possession of departments and agencies of the Government of Manitoba.
6 On the certification of the Clerk of the Executive Council, the Minister of Finance shall pay out of the Consolidated Fund, travelling and other incidental expenses incurred in carrying out the inquiry, and fees and salaries of advisors and assistants employed or retained for the purposes of the commission unless the Lieutenant Governor in Council makes further or other provisions respecting the payment of those incidental expenses or fees and salaries.
Powers of inquiry
7 For greater certainty, The Public Inquiry into the Administration of Justice and Aboriginal People and the commissioners appointed to it, without limiting the powers of the commission or the commissioners,
Validation of actions of Inquiry
8 All orders, decisions, legal process, proceedings, actions and expenditures of The Public Inquiry into the Administration of Justice and Aboriginal People before this Act receives royal assent are hereby declared to be valid as though done pursuant to this Act and shall not be called into question in any court of law.
Part V of C.C.S.M. c. E150
9(1) Except as provided by subsection (2), Part V of The Manitoba Evidence Act does not apply to this Act.
Application of Part V of C.C.SM. c. E150
9(2) Subsection 83(4), sections 84, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93 and 94 and subsections 95(1), (2) and (4) of Part V of The Manitoba Evidence Act apply to this Act with appropriate changes as the circumstances required.
10 In the event of an inconsistency between this Act and another Act of the Legislature, the provisions of this Act prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.
Powers of the L.G. in C.
11 The Lieutenant Governor in Council may
Coming into force
12 This Act is retroactive and deemed to have come into force on April 13, 1988.
TERMS OF REFERENCE
Purpose of commission
The purpose of the commission is to inquire into, and make findings about, the state of conditions with respect to aboriginal people in the justice system in Manitoba and produce a final report for the Minister of Justice with conclusions, options and recommendations.
The commissions deliberations are to include consideration of all aspects of the cases of J.J. Harper and Helen Betty Osborne, and the commission may make any additional recommendations that it deems appropriate with respect to those cases, including a recommendation that there be further consideration of particular matters or further inquiry into any aspect of either case.
Scope of inquiry
The scope of the commission is to include all components of the justice system, that is, policing, courts and correctional services. The commission is to consider whether and to what extent aboriginal and non-aboriginal persons are treated differently by the justice system and whether there are specific adverse effects, including possible systemic discrimination against aboriginal people, in the justice system. The commission is to consider the manner in which the justice system now operates and whether there are alternative methods of dealing with aboriginal persons involved with the law. For example, the commission may review the following issues:
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