Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party have apparently grown a pair and they are valiantly/finally/thankfully standing up to the Conservatives on their regressive dumb-on-crime bill that would fill Canada’s prisons and costs us all $10 Billion. Canadians appreciate courage and abhor posturing. My message to Michael Ignatieff: Hold your ground. Debate the bill publicly. Courage > bravado.
- 13 of the 16 witnesses who spoke before the justice committee during public hearings in the spring, denounced the bill.
- Prime Minister Harper killed the bill by proroguing parliament. Keep that fact in mind any time Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says it is urgent that the bill be passed without any scrutiny or dissent.
- The bill will cost an estimated $10 Billion. The Conservatives estimated the cost originally in the millions. It seems like the CPC is working on a bringing an American-style Prison Industrial Complex to Canada.
- Mark Holland: “What is the impact going to be on other services at a time when the Conservatives are running a more than $40-billion deficit? These prisons become a giant vacuum that sucks up everything else.”
- The bill would set a mandatory minimum jail sentence for anyone arrested with a certain number of marijuana plants (originally 5 then changed by the senate to 200 then reduced again) which would tie judge’s hands. Studies have shown that arresting non-violent offenders drastically increases the chance that when released they will commit another crime. Crime rates have been declining in Canada so it’s not as if this bill is desperately needed (Harper’s prorogation confirms that analysis.) The Conservatives know that their policy is merely posturing so they throw people who are in possession of a drug (cannabis) that is no more harmful than alcohol, forging them (in prison) into real hardened criminals, then releasing them into the general population. This costs taxpayers money but the cost to society in much higher than that.
- The Liberals have switched on this bill and many Liberals are coming around on the A.G. audit. In the United States, President Obama and the Democrats have finally realized that the Republicans are going to oppose everything they do, no matter what. Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals need to learn that the Conservatives will scream, stomp, distort and deceive no matter what the Liberals do. If you are going to be attacked no matter what, do the right thing.
Some graphs on crime statistics in Canada: