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Tories to unveil victims’ bill of rights in ‘next few days,’ MacKay says

Justice Minister Peter MacKay answers a question in the House of Commons on March 24, 2014.

ADRIAN WYLD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A long-promised victims' bill of rights is about to be introduced in Parliament, The Canadian Press has learned.

The arrival of the legislation is bound to drive another political lightning rod into the already fractured ground in the House of Commons.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay, in a letter to the Conservative caucus on Sunday, said he looks forward to delivering on the Throne Speech commitment "over the next few days."

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The letter was obtained by The Canadian Press and the introduction of the legislation is bound to turn up the heat with the Opposition, which has been consumed by the fight against the Harper government's proposed electoral reforms.

"As we have stated countless times, we are committed to introducing a comprehensive package of legislative reforms never before seen in our country's history," said the letter. "Victims of crime deserve to be treated with courtesy, compassion, inclusion and respect. It is important their rights be considered throughout the criminal justice system."

MacKay, in an interview last fall, said the government's intention is to extend the involvement of victims "from the time of the offence to the final disposition of the sentence."

He said the government doesn't want them to be just another Crown witness, but an effective voice.

The plan builds on other Conservative measures in what they've dubbed their "tough on crime agenda."

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