Omnibus Crime Bill
The Ontario government should not be afraid to resist Harper's misguided crime agenda. Instead of selling out another generation for political expediency, Ontario should commit the crime that Harper fears the most: sociology.
Should we challenge mental health experts? Challenge the justice system on the grounds that we do not agree with a single, solitary verdict? On the grounds that the crime is particularly horrendous? Should we accept that a government is using a single, solitary court decision that it disagrees with and that causes public outcry to change the laws?
We live in a world that is sadly uninformed. A world where real issues are ignored simply, because the public likes to place anger on people who don't deserve it, while they continue to be ignorant on issues of grave societal importance.
August 10 is International Prisoner's Justice Day, which began in Canada 37 years ago. In 1974 a Canadian man, Edward Nalon, died in the segregation unit of an Ontario prison, resulting in a day of mourning for prisoners across the country. This is an important day to consider how we treat people behind bars, and to remember the goals of incarceration. It is also a day for us to ask many questions about our prison system as a whole, and to assess how some of the recent actions of the Canadian government may affect these conditions
After Statistics Canada reported that police-reported crime was at its lowest level in 40 years, Vic Toews tweeted "Crime rate down 6% -- shows CPC tough on crime is working." I couldn't really understand how Bill C-10, which doesn't even begin to come into force until August 9 of this year, could somehow be responsible for a drop in crime in previous years. But then I realized...Toews must be the MP version of The Terminator: "A human-looking, apparently unstoppable cyborg (or in this case, Public Safety Minister) is sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor (or in this case, crime)."
In a statement Wednesday, Vic Toews said the Omnibus crime bill had not led to the predicted rise in prisoners and prison costs. Either the Public Safety Minister is being intentionally deceptive, or he lacks a basic understanding of how the court system works. I'm not sure which one is more disturbing.
Seems that when you spend an hour watching Canadian TV news stories about politics, you get only about 15 minutes of real information. These scary numbers come from the highly respected charitable Samara Institute today. Samara has spent months doing all the research, the number crunching, and the drawing of conclusions. Will the newsrooms listen? Probably not.
Right now, MPs are in parliament for an unprecedented marathon of voting on proposed changes and deletions to the omnibus budget Bill C-38. Of course, you might say most Canadians were sleeping and don't care. That is the kind of logic the Conservative Party uses and wants everyone to accept.
Today, the House had its final opportunity to debate Bill C-10, the Conservative omnibus crime bill. It is quick to judge non-violent offenders as needing lengthy mandatory minimum prison sentences in the face of all evidence to the contrary.