Opposition MPs Challenge Omnibus Crime Bill

Members of Parliament debated the Conservatives’ controversial omnibus crime bill Tuesday in what might be the last chance for opposition members to push for changes before bill C-10 becomes law.

The Safe Streets and Communities Act is at the report stage after it was dealt with clause by clause last week by the justice and human rights committee.

The omnibus bill, in its third and final reading, combines nine previous bills that died before the federal election, into one.

NDP MP Isabelle Morin called on the government to focus on preventing crime, rather than increasing sentences and therefore filling up jails with more convicts, rather than reducing crime rates.

“Increasing mandatory minimums will not prevent crime, it will not make our communities safer,” Morin said.

“There have been many specialists who have come to provide their opinions based on scientific fact and the government continues to say based on our experience we think we should do this.”

She also read a letter she had received from a constituent in her Quebec riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grace—Lachine, who said they had been convicted of a crime more than a decade ago and had moved on with their life and become a contributing member of society.

However, the constituent complained that tough new rules in Bill C-10 would make it difficult for those convicted of a crime to rehabilitate and move on from their past.

Morin was just one of many opposition MPs expressing serious concerns with the bill’s punitive focus.

Other opposing witnesses expressed concern about effect the legislation would have on the courts, prison system and young offenders.

Liberal MP John McCallum said the Conservatives were returning to a “Middle Ages” approach that focused on “vengeance” against those who break the law, rather than rehabilitation. At a time when criminal offences are declining, McCallum said, Bill C-10 will actually have the opposite effect.

“This plan to dump thousands of new offenders into the system will simply break it. Low-level offenders will enter the system after convictions for petty crimes and they will leave having made new criminal connections and having learned the skills of the trade. That should never be the outcome of our justice system,” McCallum said.

Conservative MP Kyle Seeback defended against the criticisms, suggesting the Conservatives were the only MPs putting victims’ rights first.

“The people who are on side and support this bill and say it’s necessary are people like chiefs of police, victims rights groups and victims themselves,” Seeback said.

The bill, which is in its third and final reading, was first tabled by Justice Minister Rob Nicholson earlier this fall, with the goal of having it signed into law by Christmas.

The bill must also pass the Conservative-dominated Senate, but will likely do so easily.

Liberal justice critic Irwin Cotler, NDP justice critic Jack Harris and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May have proposed 88 amendments to the bill — most seeking to have clauses deleted from the bill.

However, they are limited to only proposing amendments to issues that have not yet been debated in committee. That meant Speaker Andrew Scheer deemed a number of those proposals to be ineligible.

The remaining amendments were divided into five different groups to be debated Tuesday.

– Article from CTV News.

Comments

12 Comments

  1. Daniel Johnson on

    Well, if enough people get involved in the movement to overturn the election, we can stop this, and since every party except the conservatives now supports legalization, I can’t understand why CC, etc., aren’t pushing the election fraud rallies…?

  2. Anonymous on

    I had a talk with an older conservative voter on mostly civil terms. In short, he said that hard sentencing is needed because “the death penalty is out of fashion”.

    Ladies and gents, these are the people who are deciding our futures – old, bitter, cynical bastards who believe in solutions that create problems, so they can relive an era that never existed. These are the people who are deciding what’s right for us in their sunset days. These are the people who are deciding our futures.

    And we let them do this without question.

    I don’t wish ill on anyone. I believe that its important that everyone be able to vote. But the key is that everyone _does_ vote. I’m not deluded enough to assume this bill would never have been introduced. But I do believe that there are enough sensible Canadians who are able to vote that could have put it off or prevented, but who choose the senseless option to shrug their arms and choose not to take any action.

    Don’t be buffaloed into not voting. Don’t be apathetic. When you commit yourself into not caring, you enable people to passively punish you at the ballot box. That older man would never wish mandatory sentencing on me, but if I were in the cross hairs of the law, he’ll have been one of thousands who allowed it to happen.

  3. Anonymous on

    It’s also quite frustrating listening to those who drank the Tory’s kool-aid complain about this crime bill. We told them this was going to happen, and surprise surprise, it did! What are the odds!

  4. Anonymous on

    You don’t know very much about how our parliamentary system works. A Canadian majority government is the most powerful kind of government in the western world. They set agendas, they can decide on the speaker (and would be dumb if they had such a large share but chose not to), and the PM has a huge amount of pull with the police force (which is generally universal across the country).

    The opposition tried to add amendments, but the CPC shut down debate on the minimum time allotment. It’s kind of funny, too, since they halted two amendments that they couldn’t get in themselves because it would have breeched protocol and would now have to be introduced in a new bill.

    Experts tried to speak, but were shut down. Amendments offered, but halted. These are the powers used by the CPC in order to force this bill through.

    But don’t blame them. What they’re doing is legal if ethically questionable. Blame voter apathy. Blame the guys who didn’t vote but who will whine about unfair policy.

  5. Anonymous on

    Frankly, I look forward to this bill passing, and here’s why:

    We can cry all we want about the Conservatives getting a majority, and we can try to justify it by saying that vote splitting factored in. But I can’t remember an election where so much effort was made to engage young voters. Seriously, we got Raffi to come out and sing his appeal to people in my age group to the tune of Baby Beluga!

    But for all that effort, the people who should have voted didn’t.

    The Republicans have a saying: voting has consequences. I think it’s apt to say that apathy also has consequences. Politicians trade in votes, and if you’re not offering, they don’t care about you. What they care about is doing whatever it takes to dissuade the kinds of voters that they don’t want involved in the system.

    If C-10 passes, it’s as much the fault of apathetic voters for enabling a clear and decisive majority as it is the 166 sitting Conservatives who will be whipped into supporting this legislation. There is one small ray of hope: if it takes a chunk of Canadian families to have a convicted criminal among their ranks – students, unable to get jobs, because they were legislated into indictable offences, maybe that’s what it’ll take to create the dialogue we need.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. But this will be one of the hardest civics lessons ever delivered: If you don’t vote, your choice will be made for you.

  6. Anonymous on

    the conservatives in case you havent notice are dictating to Canadians…

  7. Anonymous on

    the opposition is doing what it is normally doing: Nothing.Nothing and more Nothing. THe steamrolling Harper ideology will asphalt all the canadians who dont dare share the same ideology as the conservatives. That forcefeeding of a law project that goes against the interests of canadian society is totally unacceptable.Talk talk talk and do nothing and in the end the canadians will have to pay for this bullshit…WHERE ARE THE REAL DEFENDERS ? WHERE IS THE REAL OPPOSITION ? Certainly not with ghost parties such as liberals and NDP.
    Harper has all the latitude he needs… and he knows it…. quick quick harper pass laws and more laws rapidly now is the time.
    And to think that just a few years back, they…(the government in power)almost legalize marijuana. Well, for patients out of time and this is the case of many canadians we”ll try to keep ourselves well conserved for the forthcoming XXV (twenty fifth century)century which will probably see some form of decriminilization from the neo-conservative leader Tephen Iarper (a fictional XXV century yet to be elected politician)

  8. Anonymous on

    I sure hope you get cancer harper. By the time your dysfunctional laws are in place, you would be pretty hard pressed to find anyone would grow for you. You deserve the allopath way treatment, and we all know the allopath treatment for cancer is a death sentence.

  9. Adam H on

    Actually, we have a multi-party system. On the ballot there are between 3 and 6 party’s you can vote for, depending on if they have representation in your area. Unfortunately with our broken system it is possible to have a majority with only 35% of the national vote, depending on how the vote split works out. The Cons only got 39% of the vote, but hold 54% of the seats in parliament.

  10. Anonymous on

    What I would like to know is how they get away with saying this is what Canadians want. The conservative government just barely won a majority which means almost half of the people who voted, voted for the NDP. I think there should be a vote to see if this is what Canadians want instead of this is what the conservatives want.

  11. Anonymous on

    Yeah, all those victims of people growing 6 cannabis plants in a rented apartment. It must have been horrible. One thing’s for sure, if this bill passes there will be a lot more people getting killed. With a mandatory prison sentence staring even small time growers in the face, informing will be a capital offense. Everybody will have guns now and won’t hesitate to use them. If you know you’ll be going to prison guaranteed, you don’t have much to lose. A lot of people would just shoot the cops and then shoot themselves rather than spend one day in prison. There will be a lot more Mayerthorpes now. Who wants to live their life in Harper’s Canada anyway? Every one of the wives and children of those cops will be able to thank Harper for that. Oh well, as long as he gets a few more votes by “being tough on crime”, that’s the important thing, right? What’s a few cops lives compared to that?

    You watch, violent crime will increase within the first year and just keep getting worse. The prison system will be cranking out new gangsters every 6-18 months. Wow, is the Harper government ever naive. Hard to believe that all Conservative Party members are actually as shortsighted and naive as Harper and Nicholson. They have the perfect example right there in the US of what will happen. They know with 100% certainty that it will be a very costly failure, gang activity will grow and crime will not decrease one bit and will probably increase and yet rather than defy Herr Harper and risk getting strung up with piano wire they just stand by silently and let him destroy the country. What a bunch of treasonous butt-kissing [email protected] Anything to get a higher job appointment so they can get a higher pension level after working for a shorter time. Conservatives who are reading this, you’re despicable.

  12. Dave on

    Hey that’s the Conservative way; break the system then deregulate and privatize it.