News / Winnipeg

Manitoba justice minister says fixing the system will take time

Stefanson was reacting to a report by Macdonald-Laurier Institute, which gave Manitoba's criminal justice system the worst provincial ranking in Canada.

Heather Stefanson being is sworn in as justice minister minister in Winnipeg, Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Sudoma

Heather Stefanson being is sworn in as justice minister minister in Winnipeg, Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

WINNIPEG - Manitoba's justice minister says fixing the province's justice system will pose a “significant challenge.”

Heather Stefanson was reacting Thursday to the release this week of a report by Macdonald-Laurier Institute, a public-policy think-tank in Ottawa.

The report gave Manitoba's criminal justice system the worst provincial ranking and the second worst overall.

It said Manitoba has the second highest per-capita violent crime rate and fourth highest per-capita property crime rate among the provinces.

It also noted the public perception of police in Manitoba is among the lowest in Canada.

Yukon received the worst overall grade with a C and Prince Edward Island was graded the highest with a B+.

Stefanson said you can't point fingers at one specific part of the justice system.

“There are many different areas where it creates the backlogs within a system,” she said. “Even just transporting prisoners from one jurisdiction to another, it takes time. The sheriffs could be caught up. We need to work together, across different government levels. It is a significant challenge to try and develop a solution.”

She said a full review of the justice system will be done, but she stresses that changes will take time.

“Certainly, what's taken more a decade to get to where we are will not be able to be fixed overnight. It's a very complex issue that will take some time to resolve but we are very committed to that.

“I'm not a big believer that we need to throw more money at a system. I think we can create efficiencies within the system that we've got.”

The report used Statistics Canada data and quantitative statistical methods to assess each province and territory's criminal justice system. It rated based on five major objectives - public safety; support for victims; costs and resources; fairness and access to justice; and efficiency.