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Peter MacKay insists Conservatives are not moving Canada toward U.S.-style justice

When newly minted Justice Minister and Attorney General Peter MacKay addresses the Canadian Bar Association for the first time on Monday, don’t expect him to follow in the footsteps of his U.S. counterpart and unveil a new direction for the justice system.

While U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder this week announced to the American bar a plan to shift away from mandatory minimum sentences and heavy-handed incarceration measures — a misguided direction the Canadian government is headed, according to its critics — MacKay insists Canada is on the right track when it comes to law and order.

In fact, he argues Holder’s plan shows the United States is actually taking a page out of the Canadian playbook.

“I’m glad to see that he, to some degree, is moving in the direction that we’ve already moved,” MacKay told Postmedia News in his first one-on-one interview since he was shuffled out of the Defence Department and into the Justice portfolio last month.
“They’re talking about moving away from very harsh sentences that were handed down for, in some cases, simple possession. That we’ve already done, but there will remain very severe penalties in the U.S., in fact more severe than in Canada, for trafficking in narcotics and that is an area in which our government feels very strongly.”

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