Compassionate Justice

ESG United Church hosts a free speaker series called Compassionate Justice several times each year. The series is returning for its 14th year with 4 events from October 2023 – February 2024.

The principal focus of the series over the years has been all aspects of our criminal justice system and selected other topics such as the Truth and Reconciliation experience. Join us for another season of unique public speaking events with renowned and inspiring speakers.

All events in the series are offered free of charge. However, you may wish to support this work through at donation on our Canada Helps page here.

Visit our previous speakers archive to view video and audio of past presentations.

Our Speakers 2023-24

Phillip Crawley | CEO and Publisher of the Globe and Mail

Sunday, October 15, 2023 @ 12:30

Justice Starts With Knowing

The current stand-off between the Government of Canada and the big tech platforms, Google and Facebook, is starting
to deprive Canadians of their normal access points for content from many media organizations. This is posing a major risk to maintaining and building an informed citizenry in Canada. Phillip has been in the newspaper business for 58 years, the last 25 years at the Globe and Mail as the Globe’s CEO and publisher.

Benjamin Perrin | Law Professor, University of British Columbia

Sunday, November 12, 2023 @ 12:30

A Criminal Justice Revolution:

From ‘tough on crime’ to a new transformative justice vision

How can we move beyond “tough on crime” policies to compassionate, evidence-based approaches? Benjamin Perrin will recount his own personal revolution in thinking and share with us his new transformative justice vision that is set out in his latest book, Indictment: The Criminal Justice System on Trial. Benjamin is a national best-selling author and law professor at the University of British Columbia. He served in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Office as in-house legalcounsel and lead policy advisor on criminal justice and public safety (2012-3).

Erin Dann
Criminal Defence Lawyer, Embry Dann LLP

Sunday, February 18, 2024 @ 12:30


Long-term detention of individuals found not criminally responsible

Erin Dann has participated in over 100 cases at the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada.
She is regularly appointed amicus curiae in criminal cases involving mental health issues. Being found not criminally responsible by reason of a mental disorder is not a “get out of jail free” card. Erin will share stories of individuals found NCR of offences that might never have resulted in a jail sentence, who have spent years, detained in forensic hospitals.

The Honourable Rosalie Abella
Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada

Sunday, April 7, 2024 @ 12:30

Putting Compassion into the Service of Justice

The Honourable Rosalie Silberman Abella is a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada with 45 years of experience in the judiciary. In an interview format she will explore “the need to put compassion back into the service of law
and law into the service of justice,” and to do so in the context of “how the world looks to those who are vulnerable.” The Q&A discussion will be moderated by retired Justice Robert Blair.