I am working on an article about the Harper government’s new crime bill, Bill C-10 a.k.a. Safer Streets and Safer Communities Act. This is a massive bill that combines nine bills that failed to pass through parliament prior to the last federal election. Harper is saying that the Canadian people have given his government a mandate to push this bill through parliament. He is also saying that he is keeping an election promise to push the bill through within 100 days of his re-election.
Critics are panning the bill on a variety of fronts. First of all, the fact is that the crime rate in Canada continues to fall. Second of all, the bill will lead to overcrowded prisons – prisons that are already stretched to the limit. Thirdly, courtrooms are already having difficulty dealing with present cases – Bill C-10 will only add to the caseload. Those are just the first few points.
What about the high population of aboriginal peoples currently imprisoned?Critics say that the Harper Government is quick on vengeance and too slow to consider alternative measures such as programs that seek to help people avoid prison time by means of rehabilitative measures, such as addictions counselling, that have been proven to work.
The list goes on and on and last but not least is the time frame involved for passing the bill, which is far too short for a bill of its size.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that it is the provinces who will be on the hook for the cost of implementing this bill – that means the Canadian taxpayer.
Try as I might I can find few supporters of the bill. Stay tuned for further developments.