If justice were about punishment rather than rehabilitation, this would not be a Christian country, and almost all of us living in Canada today would be in jail as punishment for the crimes committed against native peoples on this land, including genocidal murder and illegal land theft.

Fortunately, we have a system of justice that at its best works to build a world of compassion and hope and aims, again at its best, to make us into one people, united in that hope.

When it fails to do so, we need to work harder, not to throw it away, because the alternative is murder.

That is not the country that reached out its hand to my family in 1929, when my grandparents were fleeing Nazi persecution, and not the one that reached out its hand again, to let my father, a war child, fulfil his dreams of peace in 1952.

God help us all if a justice system based on punishment is all we have left after such years of building something of which all of us, and all of the world, can be proud.

Harold Rhenisch


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