With respect to the issue of plea bargaining, plea bargaining often has a bad reputation. Plea bargaining is absolutely essential for the operation of the justice system, and I say that as a former crown attorney. It's the abuse of plea bargaining that we have to be mindful of.
A principled crown attorney will make an agreement if he believes that the public interest and the interests of justice can be served through another arrangement. That's essentially what a plea bargain or a plea arrangement is.
Mandatory minimum sentences certainly encourage people to look at their alternatives. What they also do is that if a person goes to trial and receives the mandatory minimum, that individual is no longer back on the street as quickly and then committing more offences.
Some say it may delay the process because of additional trials, but in the long run these types of mandatory minimums, properly focused on appropriate offences such as these, will in fact lessen the burden on the justice system.