(QUEEN'S PARK) - Randy Hillier, MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington today tabled legislation that calls for the return of grand juries in the province of Ontario. This Bill is one of a number of amendments to the judicial system which Mr. Hillier has recently tabled.
“Throughout my career, I’ve been a proponent of freedom, justice and democracy,” said Hillier. Grand juries were once a key component of our justice system until 40 years ago and the creation of the Ombudsman’s office. However, with the exponential rise in the number of unelected, unaccountable government agencies, the need for grand juries has never been greater or more apparent.”
Grand juries serve two fundamental purposes: empowering citizens to be full participants in the political/legal system; and providing scrutiny and oversight for public bodies and institutions through public investigations. Grand Juries empower citizens to hold our common laws, public institutions, and subordinate bodies of the legislature to account. While also allowing for greater participation into Ontario’s judicial/political system where the Ombudsman is prevented from doing so such as in our schools, hospitals and municipal governments.
This legislation, which calls for the re-instatement of grand juries, will allow for new options in Ontario’s justice system which have not been present for decades. Grand juries exist in numerous other Common Law jurisdictions, and are an essential component of our heritage.
Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote “the law is controlled by lawyers and politicians; it’s time to take the law out of these exclusive hands and safeguard justice with the hearts and minds of common people.” De Tocqueville’s insights still ring true today; “the health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.”