Stop Bill C-10: Make Canada Safer, Not Meaner
This week, across Canada, experts are speaking out against the massive, cruel Crime Bill that our Conservative government is rushing through Parliament.1 Even conservative Texans are warning Canada not to follow America’s failed path of mandatory sentences and massive prison expansion.2
Now, we need a huge 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’ll 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. We need to strengthen each other’s voices to show the Conservative government that they must choose a better path, or pay a serious political cost for a cruel Crime Bill that will make 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’s 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.
Send a message now that you want to stop this bill, and establish an independent commission of diverse citizens and experts to create a 21st century Canadian justice plan.
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?
The Crime Bill would raise the cost of filing for a pardon from $150 to $600. Why? That money wont pay for new prisons, it will keep poor people from getting jobs.
It’s time we speak out together. Send your message now.
- 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/
- 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
- Study: Prevention Fights Crime Better Than Jail (Seattle Times): http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19960620&slug=2335526
- 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
- Crime rates fall to lowest level since 1973 http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/07/21/crime-rates.html
- 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
- 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/
- What’s Wrong With Harper’s Omnibus Crime Bill (Behind the Numbers) http://www.behindthenumbers.ca/2011/09/20/whats-wrong-with-harpers-omnibus-crime-bill/
- 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
- Salvaging a faulty crime bill (Irvin Waller) http://www.themarknews.com/articles/6942-salvaging-a-faulty-crime-bill
- Incarceration and Crime: A Complex Relationship, (The Sentencing Project) http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/inc_iandc_complex.pdf
- For the full text of the bill, see the Parliament of Canada website: http://www.parl.gc.ca/LegisInfo/BillDetails.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&billId=5120829
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