Crime bill a step in the wrong direction

The federal government’s proposed omnibus crime bill is a proven failure.

The federal government’s proposed omnibus crime bill is a proven failure.

Conservative Texans are warning us not to follow a failed fill-the-prisons approach to justice, and the Canadian Bar Association, representing 37,000 Canadian legal professionals, has said the bill “would move Canada along a road that has failed in other countries, at great expense.”

Mandatory sentences backfire. They take precious resources from crime prevention programs and rehabilitation, and turn minor offenders into hardened criminals.

The crime bill will make inequality worse. It’s not tough on crime, it’s tough on Canadians suffering from mental illness, addictions and poverty.

It targets youth for harsher punishments, and it will put more aboriginal people in prison.

The crime bill threatens valuable programs.

Mandatory sentences will clog the justice system and fill prisons, forcing the provinces, who pay for most of our justice system, to raise taxes, increase debt or cut spending on essential programs such health and education.

Across the country, Canadians are speaking out.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims that Canadians support tough-on-crime laws, but tens of thousands of Canadians are publicly demanding their provinces refuse to pay for the crime bill.

Quebec and Ontario have already refused to pay for a strategy that has been tried, and failed.

We need to make Canada safer, not meaner.

To reduce crime we should focus on what’s already working — prevention and rehabilitation — and address the major causes of crime by reducing inequality and supporting people who need help. The Conservatives’ cruel crime bill will do none of this, and ultimately will make us meaner, and less safe.

Kevin Kristensen

Victoria

 

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