Canada: Stop Harper’s cruel crime bill

November 10 2011

The Harper Government wants to create more Criminals.
The total crime rate for serious offences fell by 19% between 2000 and 2010. The crime severity rate has fallen 6% since 1998, which means that Canadians commit fewer violent crimes like murders, attempted murders and serious assaults. There are also fewer brake-ins, car thefts, robberies and drunk driving charges — still Harper wants to spend massive amounts of our money locking up more Canadians.

Crime rates in Canada have been falling steadily for over a decade yet Harper insists on spending our money to lock up our most vulnerable citizens like youth and aboriginals. Spending billions on bad crime laws means that our taxes will rise or valuable social programs like Employment Insurance will be cut. Quebec and Ontario have already said they won’t pay.

Creating mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana smokers and putting kids who make mistakes behind bars is not the way to make Canada a better place. Join the call to show Harper that we’d rather invest in social programs that really help Canadians.

This week, experts are speaking out against the massive crime bill that our Conservative government is rushing through Parliament.1 Even conservative Texans are warning Canada not to follow American’s failed path of mandatory sentences and massive prison expansion.2 Now, we need a massive public outcry to stop the bill, and make Canada safer, not meaner.

Experts agree that the crime bill would make Canada a more dangerous place by filling new prisons with people who should not be there. Instead, experience shows that we should focus on proven strategies to prevent crime, rehabilitate people and reintegrate them into society.1,3 The stakes are huge: if this bill passes we will be spending billions to trap people and create a permanent underclass of Canadians with little hope for a better life.4

The good news is that more and more Canadians are speaking out and public opinion is close to a decisive shift. The Conservatives want to be “Canada’s natural governing party” and they care about public opinion. We need to show the Conservative government that they can either choose a better path, or they will pay a serious political cost for making Canada a meaner and more dangerous place.

Mandatory sentences and prison expansion backfired in the United States, a country with only 5% of the global population and 25% of all the world’s prisoners. Today, state after state is in crisis and is repealing those laws.2

One conservative Texan, Judge John Creuzot of the Dallas County Court, has warned us, saying: You will spend billions and billions and billions on locking people up. And there will come a point in time where the public says, ‘Enough!’ And you’ll wind up letting them out.” 2

We all want to make Canada safer. Yes, there is a role for punishment that is proportionate to the crime and wisely chosen for the circumstance. However, in the vast majority of cases, rehabilitation is better than long jail sentences. Canada âs focus on prevention and rehabilitation has already brought crime rates to historic lows.3,5

Every billion dollars our federal government forces our provinces to spend on new prisons is a billion dollars that could have been spent preventing crimes by supporting programs for at-risk youth, drug and alcohol treatment programs, and strategies for mental health.

The crime bill represents a creeping erosion of Canada’s social fabric. We know that millions of Canadians believe that prevention and restorative justice – approaches that make sure the victim’s needs are met and the community is healed – should be the heart of Canadian justice.

This crime bill would move us in the wrong direction. Who benefits from one-size-fits-all punishments? Who benefits from massive prison expansion? Who benefits from throwing more of Canada’s youth, poor, and mentally ill in prison?

It’s time we speak out together. This petition is an essential first step in a major campaign. Will you join us?

Click here to tell Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and your MP you want a new strategy for Canadian justice:

So far 22,413 strong.

As of Nov 13 2011 22,823 messages sent

http://www.leadnow.ca/keep-canada-safe

You can also sign this Petition over  80,765 strong

As of Nov 13 2011 96,960 have signed

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_harpers_cruel_crime_bill/?cl=1378432192&v=11036

Both only take a minute of your life to sign..

Please do pass this on.

Bill  S-10

Sources:

[1] Critics of omnibus bill advocate for criminals,Conservatives charge (Globe and Mail):
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/critics-of-omnibus-bill-advocate-for-criminals-conservatives-charge/article2205213/

[2] Texas conservatives reject Harper’s crime plan – ‘Been there; done that; didn’t work,’ say Texas crime-fighters (CBC):
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/10/17/pol-vp-milewski-texas-crime.html

[3] Study: Prevention Fights Crime Better Than Jail (Seattle Times):
http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19960620&slug=2335526

[4] Tough on crime will likely lead to more crime, bigger deficit (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives):
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/newsroom/news-releases/tough-crime-will-likely-lead-more-crime-bigger-deficit-report

[5] Crime rates fall to lowest level since 1973
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/07/21/crime-rates.html

[6] Open letter to the Government opposing mandatory sentences from over 550 Canadian experts and public health professionals (Urban Health Research Initiative):
http://uhri.cfenet.ubc.ca/content/view/90

[7] A Meaner Canada : Junk Politics and the Omnibus Crime Bill (Alex Himelfarb)
http://afhimelfarb.wordpress.com/2011/05/29/a-meaner-canada-junk-politics-and-the-omnibus-crime-bill/

[8] What is Wrong With Harper’s Omnibus Crime Bill (Behind the Numbers)
http://www.behindthenumbers.ca/2011/09/20/whats-wrong-with-harpers-omnibus-crime-bill/

[9] Rough Justice in America: Too many laws, too many prisoners – Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little (The Economist):
http://www.economist.com/node/16636027

[10] Salvaging a faulty crime bill (Irvin Waller)
http://www.themarknews.com/articles/6942-salvaging-a-faulty-crime-bill

[11] Incarceration and Crime: A Complex Relationship, (The Sentencing Project)
http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/inc_iandc_complex.pdf

[12] The cartoon is by Malcolm Mayes, in the Edmonton Journal.

The Harper Government in Canada wants to create Legislation similar to the Drug offenses in the US. Lets hope Canadians do not get coerced into this. Marijuana is not that bad. It has many uses medically and fewer violent crimes if any are committed because of it. Alcohol is far worse as far as crimes.  Those who use Marijuana are non violent.

If a police officer had a choice of going into a room with 20 Marijuana users or 20 drunk people the room with the Marijuana uses would be a much safer room. Drunk people are much more violent and much more dangerous. Marijuana users would be listening to music and eating. They don’t even bother to argue they just enjoy themselves. Drunk people fight and argue and alcohol is addictive where as Marijuana is not.

So I have to say Harper’s bill is wrong on many counts. If anything Marijuana should be legalized and the Government could regulate it and make profits/taxes on it. Open stores to have it sold etc.

It would eliminate grow ops and many other problems now associated with Marijuana.

If individuals grew their own or buy it from a Government store there would be no need for dealers and all the other problems now faced by police at this time.

Then the police could spend their time looking for dangerous criminals.

It would save a lot of money and make a lot of money.

End of a lot of problems.

Check the link below and get some insight as to how Medical Marijuana helps people and it is safer then many Pharmaceuticals.

It will even get rid of a headache.

The lobby groups who want to prevent the legalization of Marijuana are the Pharmaceutical companies. Not because it is dangerous, but because it would cut into their profits.

Medical Marijuana


Legalizing Marijuana  would create a lot of jobs something we all can agree on is needed. Maybe the drinkers would take up smoking Marijuana and make the world a safer place especially for women who are beaten by their drunken spouses.

What’s wrong with Harper’s omnibus crime bill

By Paula Mallea

September 20, 2011

Prime Minister Harper will be launching his tough-on-crime agenda today. Our criminal justice system is by no means perfect, but the omnibus crime bill will send us back to a 19th century punishment model. Here are some reasons why Canadians need to speak out against this legislation.

The former U.S. drug czar (Asa Hutchinson) has encouraged Canada not to make the same mistakes the U.S. made. The two mistakes he cited were mandatory minimum sentences, and insufficient attention to rehabilitative programs.

1. The cost of the Harper crime agenda will be colossal, and a large part of it (some say most) will be borne by the provinces, who are responsible for implementing whatever the feds pass. So provinces and territories (many of them in elections as we speak) will be expected to pay for additional courts, clerks, prisons, Crown Attorneys, judges, sheriffs, court reporters and so on. And the numbers are high-$5 billion over 5 years for the one piece of legislation which was examined by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. The new drug sentences alone will increase numbers of offenders by a huge amount. The Corrections department is one of the few which is receiving huge increases in its budget as we speak.

2. Virtually all of the crime legislation is directed towards increasing punishment by way of more prison terms for more people and for longer. Virtually nothing in any of the legislation does anything to prevent crime (as the Conservatives claim), help victims (as they claim) or target guns, gangs, drugs and organized crime (as they claim). The Harper government’s stated objectives will not be met by the omnibus crime bill.

3. Other jurisdictions, notably the United States, have rejected the Harper approach. Newt Gingrich is fronting a group called Right on Crime which advocates for less incarceration. Ronald Reagan presided over a huge reduction in incarceration when he was governor of California. Maggie Thatcher refused to allow incarceration rates to rise in Britain. Many states are abolishing mandatory minimum sentences and reducing the proportion of sentences which must be served before release.

4. Canada is moving in the wrong direction, and the results will not be pretty. I predict there will be expanding deficits at all levels, an increase in misery for all parties, including offenders’ families and communities, and victims (who in fact advocate for improvements in preventive and rehabilitative programs). The picture becomes darker when you consider that up to 80 to 90 per cent of offenders in some institutions are addicts (mostly to alcohol), and up to 40 per cent have mental illnesses. A huge proportion are Aborignal people. Many offenders are homeless, illiterate, victims of sexual abuse, and so on. What is significant is that we have the means to deal with all of these conditions-we know how, and the resources required would be a fraction of the budget necessary to incarcerate so many new inmates. Dealing with these issues would not only reduce crime but would also make for a healthier community. Because the Conservatives are so concentrated on the punishment model, there will be no resources (and no inclination) to fund the programs necessary to deal with these fundamental problems.

5. Journalists continually state that the omnibus crime bill is considered necessary by the Harper government because the crime legislation was otherwise “unpassable” or because of “obstructive measures” taken by the opposition. This is demonstrably not true. The opposition never got a chance to oppose most of the crime legislation because it never came to a vote: most of the laws died on the order paper when Mr. Harper prorogued Parliament twice and when he called the 2008 election. Most of the rest of them were never brought forward in a timely manner.

The Conservatives have the majority they need to pass this legislation. The only thing that might give them pause would be a public groundswell against the law. If for no other reason than financial, we should be making our voices heard.

 

Paula Mallea, B.A., M.A., Ll.B, practised criminal law for 15 years in Toronto, Kingston, and Manitoba. She acted mainly as defence counsel, with a part-time stint as prosecutor, and spent hundreds of hours in penitentiaries representing inmates. She is a Research Associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. She is the author of The Fear Factor: Stephen Harper’s Tough On Crime Agenda and Lorimer Publishing will be releasing her book on the tough-on-crime agenda this fall.

This article first appeared on Behind the Numbers.

 

Ceasefire in the War on Drugs?

CIA Drug Trafficking over 50 years

Why do you think American troops are Guarding the Poppy Fields in Afghanistan? Afghanistan went from no Heroin to tons of Heroin.

Plus the US got their pipeline.

Afghanistan: Troops Guarding the Poppy Fields

Cost of the war on Drugs in US

Canadians do not want the American system. Check link below to see why.

The Prison Industry in the United States Costs Taxpayers Billions

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Published in: on November 10, 2011 at 5:15 pm  Comments Off on Canada: Stop Harper’s cruel crime bill  
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