Liberal Revolt on Bill C-15 and Mandatory Minimums

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff seems to be facing some serious trouble at the party grassroots — all revolving around the caucus decision to support this bill – C-15, which introduces mandatory prison sentences for drug crimes.

Here’s a sampling of opinion on the blogosphere… it points to some significant dissent.

From Scott’s Diatribes: I’ve not been that hard on Ignatieff since he came to power with his policies, but this move is a very disappointing one to say the least, and I hope the progressive wing of the Liberal Party will work to get this policy or view modified/expunged/removed from official Liberal policy, and convince the caucus and the leader that a failed US drug policy will not work in Canada either.

From Big City Lib Strikes Back: Not too glorious, Iggy. You should be ashamed ….

From Jim Curran’s blog: This is one of the dumbest things I’ve seen the Liberal Party of Canada support in decades. It’s right up there with that immigration bill we let pass last May that cost us about 5 ridings in the GTA. Unfrickinbelievable. Is that one word?

From Woman at Mile 0: Don’t tell me we can do both Liberal Party of Canada because it’s BS. We are not Republicans here with their jail crazy policies that cost billions and billions and left nothing for anything else except war. Huge numbers on inmates in jails are mentally ill or have learning disabilities. I think the party will lose support over this.

From The Equivocator: It is very disappointing to hear the Liberals are going to vote for this legislation. True courage is standing up against failed policy that is detrimental to Canadians even though you know you will be painted as “soft on crime.”

– Article from The Toronto Star on June 05, 2009.

Let’s Make It a Real Revolt!

by Jennifer Smith, Runesmith’s Canadian Content

The Star’s Susan Delacourt has made note of a growing number of Liberal bloggers who are speaking out today against the Conservatives’ crime bill, which would impose mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes. She called it a “grassroots revolt” against the Liberal Party’s stated intention to let this thing pass. Sadly, a few bloggers do not a revolt make. But hundreds of emails just might be a little more convincing.

I just sent the following email to every Liberal MP, including Michael Ignatieff, and I strongly recommend that everyone reading this do the same. To that end, I put together a handy email list of the entire Liberal caucus on my Facebook page. Just copy, paste, and email away!

As a member of the Liberal Party, I strongly urge you and your fellow Liberal caucus members to vote against the Conservative crime bill C-15, which would impose U.S.-style mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes.

Mandatory minimums have proven time and time again to be ineffective and counterproductive. In fact, nearly every expert witness appearing before the Justice Committee examining this legislation said that it would fill our jails while doing absolutely nothing to curb crime or decrease drug addiction. Countries around the world – including the United States – are backing away from this type of narrowly punitive approach to drug crime, and Canada should be doing the same. Instead, this bill will drag us backwards.

This is not a confidence motion. What it is is an opportunity for the Liberal Party to show some spine and prove that our Party still represents progressive, practical policy and not blind populism.

For more information from a legal perspective, please read the following analysis:

Thank you for your consideration.

– Article from Runesmith’s Canadian Content on June 5, 2009.