Greetings all! We have gathered here today to show physical opposition to Stephen Harper’s Crime Legislation that was introduced into the House of Commons on Tuesday. As has been seen time and again, the Conservatives are bringing a collection of ridiculous bills to the floor of the Commons.
In the past, with the minority status of the government, things such as these were voted down. Indeed, many of these bills on the table now are the same bills which parliament collectively recoiled against in the past!
Things such as:
- Bill S-10, which would introduce mandatory minimum sentencing of up to 3 years in prison for drug related charges, however minor.
- Bill C-4, which would come down hard on youth offenders, and abolish their protective right to not be named for many of them. This would in turn ostracise them further from society and increase their changes of recidivism.
- Bill C-53, which would make previous rulings binding in the event of a retrial. This makes a mockery of out justice system and any attempt at truth.
- Bill C-5, which would give the foreign minister the right to pick and choose who to help when they get in trouble abroad. That’s right folks, we already knew the Conservatives don’t care about Canadian citizens abroad - just look at Omar Khadr! - but now they are trying to legislate the abandonment of Canadian citizens! All based on the whim of the fallible office of the foreign ministry! What happens if you get locked up in a country with a horrible human rights record? Hope the foreign minister is in a good mood I suppose!
- Bill C-17, which will reinstate “preventative arrests”, which allow citizens to be detained for up to 3 days without cause. That’s right folks, you no longer have the right to habeas corpus! It wasn’t until 1679 that Habeas Corpus was codified into law. That’s thousands of years of progress required to get to that point. Now, for the past 300 odd years we have enjoyed this right, and Harper plans to take that away in the “first 100 days” of his reign! Not only that, but this law can be used to force people thus imprisoned to disclose information in court cases, even without charges being laid.
- Bill C-52, the bill pertaining to the spying on of citizens by means of monitoring internet and phone communications without a warrant has been removed from the Omnibus Crime Bill due to petitioning and pressure from thousands of Canadians. This doesn’t mean that it won’t be passed however! Just that it won’t be passed with the rest of the legislation in this Omnibus. But the very fact that citizen action achieved something around this issue is encouraging!
All of these things are estimated to cost $681 million dollars. That’s right folks, you get to carry the bill for your own abandonment abroad! That is without taking into account the $2.1 billion slotted to build new prisons! Although if these prison estimates are anything like Stephen Harper’s fighter jet estimates, expect to pay a lot more!
So where does that leave us as a country? Moving in a very much ‘U.S.’ direction in regards to crime. For decades, Canada has been promoting a restorative justice model. Prevention to stop crime before it starts, and rehabilitation to prevent re-offence. And it’s success shows! Crime nationally is at the lowest point it has been since 1970!!
Now Harper wants to pursue a U.S. style “shock & awe” approach to crime & punishment. He must have had his head in the ground for the last 30 years. Even the Tea Partiers in the U.S. are saying that it is too expensive! For a self-labelled “fiscally conservative” Prime Minister, he sure is an oddity.
Not only that, but it doesn’t work! Even having the highest incarceration rate in the entire world has not stemmed the tide of crime in the United States. Fresh criminals go into the system, costing taxpayers as they go, get hardened and become more dangerous in the unhealthy environment that is prison, get released, re-offend, and get re-incarcerated! All the while, costing obscene amounts of your money!
So not only is the direction Harper is trying to move this country in regards to crime ethically objectionable, it is also proven to not work, and is fiscally irresponsible. At best. At it’s worst, it is actually perpetuating a more severe crime situation, and taking Canada one step further away from freedom and democracy, and one step closer to a police state.
Don’t let our current government consolidate any more power, don’t let them push you around, don’t let them think they can get away with the sneaky tactics and contempt of democracy they are famous for; call them on it!
We must strive to achieve democracy through non-parliamentary means. That avenue has been stolen from us by the Tory Majority. Now is the time when the citizenry of this country have to shed their apathy, and take matters into their own hands.
Petition, protest, march, and most of all; write your MPs. Being situated in the heartland of Conservative Alberta on this small island of progress called Edmonton, we have a distinctly double-edged sword in our repertoire. Yes, we are surrounded by Harper’s supporters, but we also have the ear of his members of parliament. Use this advantage, take down these bills from the inside! Write to your MPs, and demand that they raise hell! A “majority” mandated by 39.6% of the voters does not have my permission to trample on the rights of an entire country, does it have yours?