Defence counsel Peter Kirby

As a final vote on the federal government's crime bill draws near, Kenora defence lawyer Peter Kirby's continuing his efforts to amend the legislation.

"Parliament is set to take that alternative, the Conditional Sentence, away," he said in an open letter Tuesday.

"Jail will become the default penalty for an increasing number of crimes and for an increasing number of offenders. Judges will be faced with imposing unjust sentences and will be asked to strike down Mandatory Minimums, as happened recently in Ontario," he continued.

Earlier this month, Kenora MP Greg Rickford said he expected a vote within days on the bill. While supporting the legislation's ability to imprison those convicted of serious crimes, he noted the provisions for protecting aboriginal people from increasing rates of incarceration will remain.

Kirby has remained unconvinced, since his visit to the Senate committee hearings two weeks ago.

"Eliminating Conditional Sentences and imposing new Mandatory Minimums for drug crimes will capture addicts, those with mental illness, and those who acted in self-defence, but go too far," he said in Tuesday's missive. "In short, C-10 will catch the small fish with the big fish; those who deserve jail with those who do not."

The bill has been at second reading since mid-December.

For more information:
Bill C-10