Ottawa

Equality before the law

Irwin Cotler criticizes the Harper government’s decision to cut prison chaplains.

However, the government’s disregard for the principles of religious freedom and equality before the law — values enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — is as inexplicable as it is unacceptable. Simply put, this move will have an adverse effect on the rehabilitation and reintegration of Canadian inmates and will infringe Charter rights, while at the same time contradicting the government’s own agenda of religious freedom.

With respect to the rehabilitation of offenders, it is clear that access to services and guidance of a religious character is essential. Regrettably, the government has demonstrated, yet again, that it is primarily concerned with the punitive aspects of the criminal-justice system, ignoring that those who are incarcerated will eventually be released and need assistance in their integration back into society.

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