Thank you for inviting CABL to speak on this matter. We appreciate the opportunity to do so.
From CABL’s perspective and the communities we represent, the intention behind Bill C-5 is laudable. We think the idea of educating the judiciary on taking the social context into account in sexual assault cases is a positive step and should be recognized and lauded.
We have a couple of concerns that we wish the committee to consider and take into account. The first concern revolves around the idea regarding interference with judicial independence. We question whether an undertaking to complete certain training or courses will be seen as interference with judicial independence by the executive and legislative branches.
The proposed amendments, furthermore, do not contain any enforcement mechanisms, whereby an individual provides such an undertaking, and then later on does not fulfill the requirements. Without an enforcement mechanism, we question whether the perception of interference with judicial independence is really worth it at the end of the day. That's our first concern.
The second concern we have revolves around the lack of definition of social context. If the amendments are to proceed as drafted, we urge the committee to think about the differential impacts of the law on the bodies of indigenous and black people. More specifically, when it comes to sexual assaults, whether in regard to victims or as accused, stereotypes about black and indigenous people lead to differential treatment under the law. These have different impacts on our bodies and communities.
CABL, therefore, urges the committee to include express language relating to the experiences of black—