As Canadian citizens, we should be deeply concerned about Prime Minister Harper’s “Tough-on-Crime” Bill that is currently being rushed through Parliament.
This bill is not really tough on crime, it’s tough on Canadians who suffer from mental illness, addictions, and poverty. It targets youth (for minor offences) who will eventually get out of prison hardened criminals, and it will put more Aboriginal people in prison. What we urgently need is more resources for prevention and rehabilitation programs.
Mandatory sentences will clog the justice system which is already overloaded and will fill prisons, forcing the provinces to raise taxes and cut spending on essential programs such as health and education. Some provinces have already refused to pay for this expensive bill.
It is worth noting that the Canadian Bar Association, representing 37,000 legal professionals, has taken the stand that this crime bill will take Canada on a path that has been a failure in other jurisdictions.
Texas for example had the highest incarceration rate in the world. They discovered, back in 2005, that crime prevention and treatment programs are cheaper and more effective than mandatory sentences. They warn us not to follow a failed “fill-the-prisons” approach to justice.
We should focus on, and address the major causes of crime rather than its symptoms only.
Let us, B.C. citizens, refuse to pay for this cruel and expensive Bill C-10.
Nadine Poznanski, Vernon