Shaunee Keyes, 2022 board chair, began her report with the quotation from the legendary US Anthropologist, Margaret Mead:  Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 


Under Shaunee’s leadership we began a strategic plan to bring the idea and understanding of restorative justice to a new audience for whom the name and the principles are at best unfamiliar, and at worst a totally unknown quantity.  This past year, although we were even fewer (in part because Shaunee and partner were busy supporting the development of the newest of new residents of Cranbrook) we have begun to develop a roster of allies and proponents with whom we hope to work in 2024 to restore familiarity of both the concept and the practice.   

When CDRJS was constituted in the early 2020s, RCMP Division E, based in Vancouver, had a number of champions of restorative justice so they were organizing annual provincial conferences and a speakers’ bureau.  Those people have moved on and there is not the same provincial resources on which to call, meaning that we are having to create them for at the least, the Kootenays.  For this reason, we are looking for new board members to help us with the discussion and debate on how best to carry through the goals of promulgating restorative justice as a cost and outcome effective practice for those in conflict with the law and their victims.   


Equally important is to further the debate exemplified by Professor Benjamin Perrin of the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC in his two recent books, Overdose:  Heartbreak and Hope in Canada’s Opioid Crisis, 2022, Penguin Random House; and Indictment:  The Criminal Justice System on Trial, 2023, University of Toronto Press.  These two carefully researched works, written in language that is clear and understandable, are providing a new way to think about how to make our communities, cities, and country, places that are welcoming and healthy for all who reside here.   What makes Professor Perrin/’ work more compelling is his previous role as “in-house legal counsel and lead criminal justice and public safety advisor  (including matters related to the Department of Justice, RCMP, Correctional Service of Canada, and Parole Board of Canada) “ (Perrin: 2023:395) in Stephen Harper’s Prime Minister’s Office which speaks to the breadth of his experience with the legal system in all its permutations.   


We would like to thank Doug McPhee for his continued dedication and support as he seamlessly navigates the funding bodies to meet the needs of Cranbrook and District Restorative Justice Society activities and handles most of the files we have received as well as the training of new facilitators, with his partner, Debbie McPhee.  We would also like to thank Officer Kathy Forgeron and her fellow officers in the Cranbrook and Kimberly detachments, School District 5, Ktunaxa Nation, facilitators, volunteers, and the members of CRDJS all of whom are dedicated to working toward alternatives to the traditional legal system. 



Daphne Kelgard