The debate isn’t over yet for the Conservative criminal justice legislation — at least not in Quebec.
The provincial government announced Tuesday that it would do everything in its power to limit the clout of the legislation that passed a day earlier.
Because the provinces are responsible for applying the laws passed in Ottawa, Quebec says it will work to soften Bill C-10 where possible.
The provincial minister said he will issue a directive to various players in the justice system to avoid, as much as possible, applying the strictest provisions of the crime bill.
“It is not a plan to abolish C-10,” Jean-Marc Fournier told a news conference Tuesday inside a courtroom at Montreal’s youth courthouse.
“C-10 is a law, but we’ve also got laws in Quebec. We can make them work together.”
Some provinces, including Quebec, also say Ottawa should be responsible for paying for the new jail spaces that will be required as a result of the legislation. Quebec pegs the costs at $750 million for new prisons, and at up to $80 million a year for application of the new rules.
“It’s not for Quebec to finance the costs of an initiative from a federal government that refused to collaborate with provinces on the content of the legislation,” Fournier said.
“The federal government can’t hide its head in the sand and deny that some provinces will at least need to build more prisons, which takes time and money.”
Quebec ‘no longer exists’ for Ottawa: PQ
Meanwhile, the provincial government in Quebec is taking heat from its separatist opposition for not being tough enough with the feds.
The Parti Québécois says the recent crime debate proves that, inPrime Minister Stephen Harper’s Canada, the province’s concerns are ignored. He called the federalist Charest government too weak-kneed and timid before Ottawa to get any results.
It’s a theme the PQ will certainly emphasize in the next provincial election, which could happen anytime from this spring to late 2013.
“We no longer exist for them. Quebec no longer exists for Ottawa,” said PQ critic Bernard Drainville.
“The retrograde agenda of Stephen Harper’s Canada has passed another step.”
The new federal legislation increases sentences for drug and sex offences, reduces the use of conditional sentences like house arrest, provides harsher penalties on young offenders, makes it harder to get a pardon, gives crime victims more say in parole hearings and allows victims of terrorism to sue.
– Article from The Canadian Press.