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2011-11-24 at 13:16

Protesting the bill

By Leith Dunick,
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A dozen or so protestors donned cowboy hats on Thursday and took to the streets, up in arms about the Conservative government’s omnibus crime bill.

The hats, they said, were to show solidarity with Texas Republicans, who have repeatedly told government officials that a heavy-handed approach to crime and punishment is bound to fail.

Gwen O’Reilly, who leads the Thunder Bay Women’s Court Watch program, in conjunction with the Faye Peterson Transition House, says the public needs to understand that the 110-page bill, also known as the Safe Streets and Communities Act, makes criminals out of the wrong people.

Being poor or working in the sex-trade industry should not be the basis to send someone to jail, O’Reilly said, concerned for the marginalized portion of the community who will be facing longer prison terms and less chance at rehabilitation because of the punishing nature of the legislation.

“Those are people who don’t necessarily belong in the criminal justice system in the first place, and they’re the ones who are going to face the largest punishment,” O’Reilly said. “And of course, we see this in the courts every day, that people with fewer resource, people of whom society have a low opinion, receive the highest sanctions.”

Miriam Ketonen considers it a waste of billions of taxpayer dollars, especially given the failure in states like Texas, where tough-on-crime legislation placated the conservative base, but was fiscally unsustainable and had little impact on crime rates.

“It’s a waste of money, as well as all the other difficulties it’s going to cause,” Ketonen said.

Sally Palmer Woods of the Elizabeth Frye Society said her fear is the bill will actually create more crime in the long run.

There are fewer chances for people to rehabilitate under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s plan, which includes mandatory minimums for drug, sex, violent and other serious offences, tougher drug penalties and for violent and repeat young offenders.

The legislation, first tabled on Sept. 21, is also expected to include an end to sentencing discounts for time served and give police heightened surveillance freedom using the Internet.

“People will be in jail longer without any help for rehabilitation, and when they get out, they’ll fall back in the same cycle. We really need more money spent helping them get back on their feet, sort of prevention type of things,” Palmer Woods said.

“People get acclimatized to living in institutions and it’s very hard for them when they get out. So they’re more likely to get back in again.

Robin Faye helped organize the local Stand Against the Crime Bill demonstration, held outside the constituency offices of Thunder Bay MP Bruce Hyer (NDP, Thunder Bay-Superior North), coinciding with 120 or so other protests staged across the country on Thursday. 

Faye said she cares about what happens in her community and said she sees people depressed and angry every day. There are deep social issues that need to be addressed in Thunder Bay, and putting people in jail isn’t the answer.

“It will be impossible to make the community safe by doing that kind of cruel system. What we need to do is address the root causes of poverty and we need to do it yesterday,” Faye said.

The government is expected to be presented with a petition signed by 24,000 Canadians opposing Bill C-10, along with the Canadian Bar Association’s 10-point criticism of the legislation.

Speaking last month, MP Greg Rickford (Cons., Kenora) said the public has already had its say and are in favour of harsher punishments.

Canadians have said this is what they want, and stiffening penalties for child pornography, increasing penalties for organized drug-crime activity, ending house arrests for the most serious of crimes, protecting the public from violent young offenders and eliminating pardons for serious crimes are just a few of the things this bill will do Rickford said.

Plus it will help victims of crimes, who along with children are the most vulnerable, he added.


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Toonder Bay says:
This bill kinda scares me because it’s so broad and all over the place.
I believe the judicial system needs to be harsher on murders, rapist, and organized crime leaders/hard drug dealers/small gang leaders. However, on this flip side of this coin, a regular citizen who just makes a mistake one night won’t have the chance for sympathy from the court and learn from their mistake. Now, cause of this bill, that regular citizen is now a criminal sent to prison because of a mandatory minimum....this is crazy! This is the start of the end of the Tories federally......This is criminal, and when the government passes this bill and doesn’t get elected next federal election…..someone federally should go to prison for this!!!
11/24/2011 2:51:46 PM
imchino says:
This bill is crazy! ...wish I was there today to lend my support.
11/24/2011 4:46:04 PM
Steven says:
This bill is NUTS!

Picture this: You are 19, drunk at a bar, and you get in a fight. Next thing you know, you are in jail for years due to mandatory minimums. YUCK.
11/24/2011 5:14:58 PM
yer joking says:
Picture this you're seventy in a parking lot when some punk ass wants your spot and beats you severely. Don't it make you feel all warm and squishy and wanting to give him a big hug......NOT!!
11/25/2011 1:53:22 PM
Jon Powers says:

All that Bill C-10 does is enable the federal "Tories" to spend like the "Liberals" they have become.

Please let me explain it a bit better.

Would you support your government loaning these criminals money ($15.-20.Billion) on the promiss that they will pay it back to society?

Y/N ?!

Spending this type of money on Criminals who aren't going to pay it back is just plain stupid!

The "Harper Liberals" believe that they are standing with victims of crime; Well they have to.

Guess who gets stuck with the "Tab" in higher taxes?

The Victim! That's Who!

Great Story!
11/24/2011 7:37:14 PM
panzerIV says:
The bigger problem is that many of these criminals will be in the provincial system. BC is expecting there jails to be at 150-200%.

So its not even a Canada wide this is being paid for. Its Ontario wide and its gonna cost a whole lot money. Id say expect your taxes provincially to increase. Healthcare, Education, deficit and now this.
11/25/2011 12:23:53 PM
tsb says:
We need to tackle the root of crime, not the symptoms. You don't deal with a dandelion problem on your lawn by cutting off the flowers and putting them in a cage. You rip the roots out and use herbicide to keep them at bay.

We need to eradicate poverty. We need to provide education, health care and economic rights to First Nations people. We need to provide proper care and treatment to people suffering from addictions.

We need to understand that many victims of crime are also criminals, and that they're caught in a vicious cycle that will only be made worse by adding more jails and more jail times.

I know revenge sounds sweet, but take it from someone who actually was a victim of crimes like murder, theft and vandalism: Longer jail times will not make you safer. They will simply hide the problem temporarily, allow it to fester, and unleash it on you once it has gotten worse. If this law passes, the Canada we see ten years from now will be a much more violent place than it is today.
11/24/2011 7:49:18 PM
homelessteen says:
Sorry but this crime bill does not target street level crime. Poverty plays a roll in crime but not all criminals come from poor childhoods.
This bill is designed to target;
people who make a living off of other people's misery.
Sexual abuse of children (leading cause of addiction in adults)
People who use the internet to target children
Violent youth offenders

This bill in combination with some of the important factors you outline in your post will go a long way to making Canada a better place to live.
11/25/2011 10:02:53 AM
tsb says:
Then put those parts of the bill into separate bills, and leave out all the megaprisons and mandatory minimums for minor crimes.
11/25/2011 11:34:24 AM
Dr. Double Double says:
All you Communist just love criminals don't you. Your hug-a-thug policies have FAILED. Time to try something that will work.
11/24/2011 10:01:19 PM
SG says:
Didn't work in Texas, hasn't worked in other places either.
11/25/2011 6:57:56 AM
Delbert Grady says:
all this crying, yet nobody seems to have remembered the victims of these crimes?

dont they have rights too?

This isnt bad legislation. Its good, well past due legislation.

Dont commit the crimes and you have nothing to worry about.
11/24/2011 10:23:20 PM
imchino says:
So a person who grows a few cannabis plants (victimless crime), should goto jail longer than someone who sexually abuses a child?!?
...thats what this bill is proposing.
Manditory minimums don't work...
11/25/2011 1:24:58 PM
TWM says:
I can see the day when the privatisation of prisons come to be, and the "Omnibus Bill" will have a positive impact on that business. Like hotels, beds have to be filled in order to make a profit. But in the end, it is society that will be the victims then.
11/25/2011 7:32:17 AM
ircorrect says:
@ Dr. Double Double
"Hug-a-Thug" policies as you call them do in fact work. They have been shown (proven throughout the world) to be the only truly effective means of curbing crime. Further more, "Tough-on-Crime" systems like Harper's new omnibus crime bill have been shown (documented world-wide) to have absolutely no positive (but thousands of negative) effects.

I suggest you do some research instead of commenting with your gut and opinion (which you are completely entitle too, but it should be an educated one).

@ Delbert Grady
This legislation is in no way good or past due. And telling people "Don't commit crimes and you have nothing to worry about" is insulting. This bill will turn non-criminals into criminals. Are you suggesting that everyone suddenly change their already socially acceptable behavior to suit this new unjust bill? I guarantee that you Delbert Grady will be a criminal under this new bill.

@ Everyone else against the bill
Keep fighting Fascist Harper Regime
11/25/2011 8:37:40 AM
Delbert Grady says:
When someone is in jail for a crime they committed, they cant be out committing more.

We pay for these criminals inside jails, and we pay for them outside of jails.

Dont committ any crimes and you wont do any time.

The root causes of crime lie with the individual who commits them. It has nothing to do with poverty. I know plenty of poor people who arent criminals, and insinuating that poor people are criminals is really quite offensive.

These people in the story is just rallying the criminals by hiding behind more idiotic decisions and pretending to stand up for the poor but fail to see they are standing up for criminals.

folks, that is your brain on drugs.
11/25/2011 9:10:01 AM
getreal says:
I agree with the Conservatives 100%.

We have tried the other way for years and all of these programs have cost us dearly.

If they were so good why are we at the situation with crime we are in today?

People have to start taking accountability for their own actions.

The lighter sentences were for the kid stealing a candy bar and giving him a break.

When these people are hurting other citizens and the victims are destryed for life they do not get a second chance.

And why would people not want the government to be harder on sex offenders?

If my family was harmed by sex offenders I would not want the person to get off easy when the person of abuse is ruined for life.

If people would start taking care of each other and raising their children proper that is how we can make this a better place.

Their are a lot of people raised in poverty but were raised proper and these people turn out to be good citizens.
11/25/2011 10:08:58 AM
jafo says:
crime rates are down
11/25/2011 11:39:44 AM
Random says:
You can't always go by what the "crime rates" are saying, they can be slanted to fit whatever special interest group wants them to fit, be it tough on crime or lax on crime.
Crime rates as a whole have been continuosly dropping over the last several decades, but don't put that on the softer approach to dealing with criminals, rather give that to increasing higher standards of living, even amoungst the poorer.
I agree that there are points to this bill that don't make sense, but the current "revolving doors of justice" have to stop. Virtually EVERY offender today is also breaching a court order when they get caught, and are released yet again. We have a serious problem when a guy can commit an armed robbery (loaded shotgun), point it at someone, and when he is caught, is released the next day.
Up until now, the system has been run to benefit the offender, so now it may swing 180 degrees the other way, but eventually the right spot may be found.
11/27/2011 11:15:15 AM
jb says:
getreal says "We have tried the other way for years and all of these programs have cost us dearly."

Are you referring to the lowest crime rate Canada has seen since 1973

Have you read this:

"10 Reasons to Oppose Bill C-10" - written by the Canadian Bar Association (representing 37 000 lawyers across Canada)
11/25/2011 1:50:54 PM
Delbert Grady says:
10 reasons to oppose bill c-10 by who??? the Canadian Bar Association????

Isnt that a group that makes its money off defending criminals? Would it be a suprise to know they might complain that they wont be able to defend the same criminal over and over again to the tune of many tax payer dollars?

Thats as bad as the Coalition For Gun Control complaining about the ending of the LGR.

11/25/2011 5:38:32 PM
ircorrect says:
It is very clear to me that many of the comments made about this article are not based in fact, research, and education, but in emotions and personal experience.

The problem with basing your opinions on your personal experiences and emotions are that you don't allow yourself to see things from another perspective. You shut down your ability to be reasonable.

I can understand how someone who is arguing with their emotions will feel more upset and get more rooted in to their position. Nobody wants to be told they are wrong or unreasonable. I can relate. But, if you want to be taken seriously in an argument, leave your emotions and personal experiences at the door. Make your points using facts from research.

I hate to be this blunt to people, but your emotions are irrelevant in politics. You need to make your decisions based on actual facts and research.

The facts and research will show you that tougher stances on crime do not work anywhere for anyone.
11/25/2011 10:53:52 AM
homelessteen says:
What size samples are these results from the research based on? What was the level of significance used to test the null hypothesis? Sorry, but those who fund the research tend to come up with the results they desire. Just because there is not enough statistical evidence to reject the null hypothesis does not confirm the validity of the null hypothesis. The research may indicate or infer, however; it does not prove anything.
11/25/2011 11:43:49 AM
ircorrect says:
Wow, thank you for the proof that you know 'something' about statistical language. You are wrong about research though. Research can prove things and does in many areas of study. Sure data can be wiggled, and biased to serve the purpose of person/group doing the research. But both sides of the argument can be guilty of doing this.

You speak as though the people/groups you side with haven't biased their stats. You even go so far as to show me an article that has the same issues you accused mine of having (no i did not submit an article, but I suspect your complaining about all statistics used in all research which makes yours just as invalid by your own argument.)

Pointing out problems with research isn't the issue, nor does pointing out these problems really do anything worthwhile. All research has problems, but also merit. If all research on this topic was put on a scale, the results would not favor 'mandatory minimum sentences and tougher stances' camp.
11/29/2011 11:28:26 AM
peas08 says:
Its about time. I am so tired of this slap on the wrist stuff. This is why we hear over and over again that the "suspect was known to police". Some one above used the example of getting in a drunk bar fight. Too bad if you use violence to settle a disagreement than by all means do the time. Being drunk is not an excuse. These people who are prostituting themselves have choices like the rest of us. Sorry if you don't like serving coffee, flipping burgers etc. Many of us do these jobs to make ends meet. If you have a drug problem you also have the same access to resources. Stop making damn excuses and do something about your situation. If it takes you going to jail to wake up than I am all for it.
11/25/2011 10:58:57 AM
yer joking says:
This bill is stupid You break the Law and then they punish you? How dumb is that? I'm just a young guy having a good time. Gee officer it's not my fault my parents were mean to me. Gimme a break. Lock 'em or hook them together like a chain gang. Might take a year or five but they will learn to obey the law. If not well there is corporal punishment. lol
11/25/2011 1:49:38 PM
getreal says:
I am no quite sure about these crime stats.

20 years ago my wife worked at mac's doing the midnight shifts.

There was never any worries about roberies then, and I was not concerned for her well being.

I would never let her work at one of these stores anymore.

How many roberies has there been ... 30?

Remember, people talk about crime more often nowadays.

Stats or no stats, when people talk about a subject, there is usually some sort of truth to it.
11/25/2011 2:22:43 PM
Jon Powers says:
To All The Pro "Harper Liberals"

This Bill "C-10" has nothing to do with victims rights!

This is just a methood that the government is committeed to spending more and more money on a very small minority of society. With no new contributions to tax revenue.

Be very afraid of the "Military Industrial Complex".

We all need to be afraid of its bigger brother the "Insecurity Industrail Complex".

If Harper were a true "Conservitive" they would be closing prisons and giving all that money back to Canadians so that they can grow the private sector economy.

Harper has built the Federal Government bigger than any of those before him both in new employees and in debt and pro-defict spending.

Hey Harper Stop Being An Economic Terrorist!

Great Story!
11/26/2011 9:03:27 AM
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