The University of Birmingham Library

Which context matters in determining a breach of the right to equality? The aims of the state in punishing crime or the painful impact of colonialism on the lives of Indigenous women? The Canadian Supreme Court was divided on this question when evaluating whether removing the possibility of conditional sentences for certain crimes was unconstitutionally discriminatory on the basis of race. The majority decision myopically focuses on the legislative context in restricting sentencing options and marks a dangerous turn in Canadian equality law.