Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Because We Say So - The Conservative Know-It-All Crime Agenda

Stephen Harper and the Conservatives think Canadians are stupid, and believe they know more regarding health, drug policy & community safety than over 500 professionals in the fields of health, drug policy and community safety. Thankfully there are some very important people speaking up regarding this draconian approach to drug legislation.

Letter to Government Expressing Opposition to Bill S-10

February 6, 2011

Right Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada
Hon. Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Hon. Jack Layton, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada
Mr. Gilles Duceppe, Leader of the Bloc Québécois
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Sirs:

Re: Opposition to Bill S-10, the Penalties for Organized Crime Act

We, the undersigned, are concerned that the federal government is pursuing significant amendments to federal drug legislation, through Bill S-10, which are not scientifically grounded and which research demonstrates may actually contribute to health and social harms in our communities. We join with other individuals and community groups that have previously expressed concerns in their testimony to various Committees and in open letters, and we outline our key concerns, in brief, below.

Please click here to read the whole press release and hopefully you will share this with your fellow Canadians. Thanks! ~MaryJane

"When the public is provided with more information regarding the law and the circumstances surrounding the offense and the offender, the tendency is not to favour punitive sanctions such as mandatory minimum sentences." ~ "Mandatory Sentences of Imprisonment in Common Law Jurisdictions: Some Representative Models"

Oh yes, one more thing, in e-mails sent out to pastors and Church officials, the Church Council on Justice and Corrections said their group wants an about face on new prison building and legislation that would fill new jails with more criminals. The council is distributing graphics that lay out statistics about the cost and scope of the crime legislation. The council is asking that their ready-made inserts be included in parish bulletins or otherwise put in the hands of church-goers. They join LEAP Members and Clergy who condemn the War On Drugs.

From Justice council shows bite taken by Tories’ new prison policy

"Lorraine Berzins, community chair of justice for the Church Council on Justice and Corrections, said the group wants an about face on new prison building and legislation that would fill new jails with more criminals.

“This is a critical time when all this money is about to be poured into something that is so clearly a destructive direction,” Berzins said.

The council is trying to get people beyond emotional and theoretical arguments by having them look at concrete facts — including the numbers of prisoners who are mentally ill, addicted or without job skills, said Berzins."
And more via The Globe and Mail:

"The letter comes weeks after the Church Council on Justice and Corrections, a 39-year-old coalition for justice reform that represents 11 of the largest Christian denominations, wrote a strongly worded letter to Mr. Harper condemning legislation that is expected to increase the number of convicts dramatically and require billions of dollars worth of prison construction.

The health professionals say they want drug legislation that is based on sound scientific evidence.

“Bill S-10 will put small scale growers of marijuana in jail for a minimum of six months, even though the RCMP's study of some 25,000 cultivation files reveals that violence or the threat of violence among cultivators is rare,” said Neil Boyd, professor and associate director of the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University. “We will be spending tens of millions of dollars to imprison individuals who represent little if any real threat to the public.” From Health researchers slam Tory mandatory-minimum-sentence proposal for drug crimes, - Globe and Mail

UPDATE 4 /9/11: If the Conservatives get a majority in Election 41 they have threatened to have all of their ill thought out stupid on crime bills crammed into one huge omnibus bill. Talk about an ideological, close-minded, extremely damaging FAIL! Please also remember, the reason the Harper Conservative government was found In Contempt of Parliament was because they refused to release the costs of these crime bills to Canadian Taxpayers.

Picture courtesy of

UPDATE: Please be advised that the MMS from Bill S-10 are now being included in Conservative Bill C-10 "Canadians: Don't Be Tricked by the "Safe Streets and Communities Act" - It's Omnibusted!"

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