Canadians Back Tougher Gang Sentences and Legalized Marijuana

Canadians strongly support tougher sentencing to deal with an apparent surge in gangs, a new Angus Reid Strategies poll says. But half of Canadians also back the legalization of marijuana, the drug which fuels most organized crime activity, especially in B.C.

A huge majority of those polled (at least 93 per cent) support two measures recently proposed by the Conservative government: treating any gang-related homicide as a first-degree murder and ensuring mandatory minimum prison sentences for drive-by-shootings and other serious drug-crimes.

The Angus Reid Strategies online poll surveyed 1,007 randomly selected Canadian adults from Feb. 26 to Feb. 27. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

There is also strong support for three measures recently suggested by B.C. Attorney-General Wally Oppal: relaxing the evidence disclosure law to allow for a quick prosecution of gang members (81 per cent), eliminated the sentencing provision that gives offenders two days credit for every day spent in custody awaiting trial (76 per cent) and allowing police to wiretap access to intercept cell phone conversations (68 per cent).

While Canadians want tougher laws against gangsters, they are less enamoured with the Harper government’s moves to curb illegal drug consumption. Almost half of Canadians reject Ottawa’s move to scrap the previous Liberal government’s marijuana decriminalization legislation.

A slight majority (51 per cent) opposes the termination of the “harm-reduction” programs, including the supervised injection sites and needle-exchange programs.

– Article from The Vancouver Sun on March 4, 2009.