At MLI, our goal is always to influence sound federal public policy by ensuring decision makers are informed of the best policy options. Measuring our impact is crucial to measuring our success. In the first quarter of 2018, MLI’s impact was felt particularly on justice issues, security, economic development for Indigenous communities, and Canada-US relations.
Justice report card
The second edition of MLI’s ground-breaking Report Card on the Criminal Justice System was launched in March 2018 and received a tremendous amount of media attention. In fact, we received as many mentions of MLI in Canadian media in one day as we usually receive in a month. The report card has raised the national debate on the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system and has driven reform in a great many ways including:
- The federal government has launched a full-scale review of the criminal justice system to modernize it, and invited the authors of the MLI report to participate in that process. The themes in the review are the same ones identified in the MLI report.
- The Manitoban government launched a review of its justice system following its poor performance in our 2016 report. In 2018, in response to this review, it released a criminal justice modernization program. Senior judges in the province and lawyers have also used the report during litigation.
- Alberta’s justice minister acknowledged the need for significant reform following the release of our 2016 report and has since undertaken several positive steps – including releasing new information about scandalous incarceration and recidivism rates for the province’s Indigenous population.
- The Ontario government has increased resources to address systemic delays and is now calling on the federal government to increase the number of judges appointed and make changes to the Criminal Code to improve the justice system’s efficiency.
- The Ontario government also called for a meeting of all provincial and territorial justice ministers in late 2016 to discuss the issues of judicial delay measured and evaluated by MLI’s report card.
- Courts in Nunavut in Canada’s North have cited the criminal justice report card in making decisions by accused persons who have sought to have their charges stayed due to unreasonable delay.
- The federal government will soon announce sweeping changes to deal with problems highlighted by the report card.
- As well, in the sincerest form of flattery, the federal justice department has announced that it will develop its own justice system report as recommended by MLI.
- The federal government has also begun to consult MLI on the creation of a report on the efficiency of the military justice system.
- Media coverage of the MLI report cards has been remarkable. Over 200 media hits over two weeks across national, regional and local outlets including television, radio, print and online
- The MLI report card is being cited by academic commentators and included as source material in law schools.
MLI Munk Senior Fellow Dwight Newman appeared on March 29 before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss the government’s Bill C-45 legalizing cannabis and he is quoted at length in the committee’s report.
The joint communique following Prime Minister’s visit to India in February, issued by the Prime Minister’s office, included MLI’s partnership with the Observer Research Foundation in Delhi as one of the achievements of the visit. The two organizations have agreed to work together to foster stronger ties between Canada and India. MLI Munk Senior Fellow Shuvaloy Majumdar also received a great deal of media attention for his expertise on Canada-India relations during the visit.
This Spring, MP Tony Clement introduced private member’s Bill C-371, which would establish a list of state promoters of radicalization and religious intolerance and would prohibit Canadian institutions from accepting grants from those governments. This idea was recommended by MLI author Scott Newark in his counter-radicalization policy work for MLI.
And on Feb. 15 Newark appeared before the House of Commons National Security Committee to testify on Bill C-59, the subject of a number of articles and papers for MLI.
Collaboration with Indigenous leaders
Our project leader Ken Coates is having a terrific, real-world impact by working closely with Indigenous organizations. This includes the First Nations Major Projects Coalition, which in March hosted First Nations from other parts of Canada for two days of meetings. Coates who spoke at the meeting about the importance of First Nations working together to build the capacity necessary to enter the mainstream of Canada’s economy.
New technologies and the future of work
On Feb. 2, 2018, MLI Munk Senior Fellow Ken Coates was invited to a consultation organized by Privy Council Office. The theme of the event was “The Socioeconomic Impacts of Disruptive Technologies” and Dr. Coates met with the Deputy Ministers who sit on the DM Policy Committees for Inclusive Growth and Economic Trends and Policies. Dr. Coates presented on the impacts of technological progress (AI, automation, robotics, quantum computing, etc.) on the labour market and workers in various sectors and types of employment affected; and how to support workers in the transition to the new digital economy, especially low-skilled worker and vulnerable individuals, among other topics.
On Feb. 13, 2018, MLI’s annual dinner brought the best and the brightest from both sides of the border to chart a course for the future of Canada-US relations. Our panelists explored issues facing the Trump and Trudeau governments, including NAFTA negotiations, border security and military cooperation. Panelists included Congressman Pete Sessions, one of the top leaders of the Republicans in Congress; the new US Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft in her first major public appearance; Frank Buckley, a Canadian who is one of President Donald Trump’s speechwriter; and Munk Senior Fellow Laura Dawson. This event generated significant media attention.