In Canada, courts have historically borne the primary responsibility for ensuring that sentences in criminal cases fit the seriousness of the impugned conduct. In this respect, Canada is not unique. As in many other common law jurisdictions, the Parliament of Canada has preferred to define criminal offences in broad language, permitting an offence to capture a wide array of conduct with varying degrees of moral culpability. I t usually sets only high, rarely-imposed maximum penalties. Although these maximum penalties are mandatory, the yoke of this Parliamentary circumscription of judicial discretion in sentencing has rested lightly on judges' shoulders. Published in Supreme Court law Review, (2016) 73 SCLR (2d).