September 16, 2008

Canadian juries exclude Natives

Exclusion of natives from juries serious, says NDP LeaderNative people have been left out of jury selection for years, and there's great reluctance within the Ministry of the Attorney-General to do anything about it, according to Ontario New Democratic Party Leader Howard Hampton.

Mr. Hampton, a lawyer who represents the Kenora-Rainy River riding, the northwestern portion of Ontario, said the consequences of the systematic exclusion of native people from jury selection are very serious.

"The jury system calls for a jury of one's peers. All of one's peers, not a selective peerage," he said.

Mr. Hampton said the recent revelation that only 44 people from native communities are considered for jury selection in the Kenora district, which has a significant aboriginal population, "calls into question the fundamental fairness of the jury system."

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