Over the last several decades, Parliament has steadily increased the use of mandatory minimum sentences. Canada now ranks second in the world — behind only the United States — in the number of offences it has that carry mandatory minimums. In R. v. Nur, the Supreme Court of Canada declared unconstitutional the three-year mandatory minimum sentence for a first conviction for possession of a firearm. Prior to Nur, the Court had not struck down a mandatory minimum sentence since R. v. Smith, decided 30 years earlier. In the time between Smith and Nur, the Court was asked to consider the constitutionality of four other mandatory minimum sentences. But in each of these cases the Court upheld the constitutionality of these minimums. Viewed in this context, Nur is a key decision. It represents a critical step towards dismantling a mandatory minimum regime that has gained a foothold in Canada.
"R. v. Nur: A Positive Step but not the Solution to the Problem of Mandatory Minimums in Canada."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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