Tories Pass Controversial Crime Bill as Provinces Voice Cost Concerns

The Conservatives have used their majority to pass the so-called omnibus crime bill within the first 100 sitting days of Parliament as promised, despite continued opposition from Canada’s largest provinces which vowed Monday not to sit back idly as the measures come into force.

The deeply polarizing Safe Streets and Communities Act, which passed by a vote of 154 to 129, effectively will become law in a matter of hours, if not days, when the bill receives royal assent. The Tories will mark their 100 day milestone on Friday.

“These are very reasonable measures. They go after those who sexually exploit children, people in the child pornography business and it goes after drug traffickers,” Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said hours before the final vote.

“This will be welcomed, particularly by victims, those involved with law enforcement and, as we know, Canadians are supportive of what we are doing in this area.”

While critics fear the bill will have little impact on reducing crime and may even harden some offenders, Nicholson offered little about how the success of the bill might be measured.

“We have a number of strategies,” Nicholson said. “But, again, this sends the message out to people (that) if you get involved with this kind of activity, there will be consequences.”

As per his promise to the provinces, Nicholson said the implementation of the various aspects of legislation will be “spaced out” over a period of time, though it seemed to provide little comfort to his regional counterparts.

Ontario Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur said in a statement Monday that: “Ontario taxpayers cannot be expected to pay the full costs for federal anti-crime initiatives” which the province has pegged at more than $1 billion.

Ontario anticipates the bill will result in an additional 1,500 inmates and will require the construction of a 1,000 bed facility to accommodate them. The province, she added, is already looking forward to opening two new facilities in Toronto and Windsor to replace older jails, but that initiative never anticipated the impact of the omnibus crime bill.

“With the opening of the two new state-of-the-art facilities . . . we have taken appropriate steps to address Ontario’s future inmate capacity needs,” she said.

“We expect Ottawa to do what’s right and provide additional funding to help Ontario deal with the consequences of Bill C-10.”

She called on Ottawa to create a federal-provincial task force to discuss the impact of the legislation and to explore solutions. If a suitable agreement to help defray the costs isn’t found, Meilleur said Ontario may look at other options, including reviewing its current custodial service agreements with the federal government.

The Quebec government, which has been among the most vocal critics of the bill, also was quick to express its disappointment Monday.

“We would have preferred Parliament accept the amendments put forward by the Quebec government in conjunction with a number of organizations,” Quebec Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier said in a statement.

The amendments were brought forward by Quebec last fall in a bid to address its concerns about C-10’s impact on youth rehabilitation programs. Fournier left Ottawa fuming last November after his request went nowhere.

While the province supports a number of the provisions contained in C-10, he said the bill as a whole “harms” the province’s prevention and reintegration programs.

He said his government would unveil Tuesday new measures to combat recidivism.

“As the attorney general, it is my responsibility to apply criminal laws but it’s also my responsibility to safeguard the public and prevent recidivism,” he said.

Quebec has estimated the new measures would cost the province $600 million and also has vowed not to pay for it.

The final vote on C-10 was to take place last week but the NDP employed a series of procedural delaying tactics, including trying to adjourn the House of Commons, which saw the vote pushed back to Monday.

Justice critic Jack Harris made no apology for stalling the bill, which does far more than target child sex offenders.

Had the Tories broken the bill up into bite-sized pieces, Harris said the official Opposition would have been happy to support elements related to mandatory minimums for child sex offenders.

“They refused to do that and, you know, the contentious parts of the bill are still there,” he said. “We think it will lead to more punishment but not safer streets, not a deterrence against criminals and in fact there will be more victims, more crimes and less safety on our streets.”

Comprised of nine bills, many of which failed to pass in previous Parliaments when the Conservatives had a minority, C-10 also cracks down on pot producers, young offenders, Canadians imprisoned abroad who are seeking a transfer to a Canadian institution and ex-cons seeking a pardon.

It also provides for victims of terrorism who are seeking to sue the perpetrator and eliminates house arrest for a number of different crimes, something Canada’s budget watchdog estimated will cost the provinces $145 million a year.

The government has been coy about the overall cost to the provinces and has insisted the entire Safe Streets and Communities Act will run the federal government $78.6 million over five years.

– Article from Ottawa Citizen.

Tories say they’ll ‘space out’ crime measures after rushing through parliament

by Bruce Cheadle, Canadian Press

OTTAWA – The Conservative government that rushed to pass a massive crime bill by curtailing debate in the House of Commons and Senate now says it will take its time making the new measures a reality on the street.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s majority easily passed Bill C-10 on Monday evening by a vote of 154-129, sweeping aside a procedural delay by the NDP that stalled the bill’s curtain call for five days.

The legislation, which includes nine separate bills, goes briefly back to the Senate and could get royal assent as early as Tuesday — meeting Harper’s campaign promise last spring to pass the bill within 100 sitting days of a new parliament.
Working the changes through the justice system will take considerably longer.

“We’re going to space out a number of them out,” Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said outside the Commons before the final vote Monday.

“I indicated to my provincial colleagues when I met with them about a month ago now that, you know, we’ll proclaim them into effect in consultation with them.”

Nicholson didn’t provide an order of precedence.

The bill increases sentences for drug and sex offences, reduces the use of conditional sentences such as house arrest, provides harsher penalties on young offenders, makes it more difficult to get a pardon, gives crime victims more say in parole hearings and allows victims of terrorism to sue.

Supporters, including victims rights groups and some police organizations, say the bill helps correct a justice system that has swung too far toward the rights of criminals.

Critics have said the changes will do nothing for public safety but will cost literally hundreds of millions of dollars from increased jail populations, much of it bourne by provinces and territories. The changes are also expected to clog the courts as many offenders will opt for trials rather than agreeing to a plea deal for a crime that carries a mandatory minimum sentence.

The government has never even attempted to answer what exactly the justice changes will achieve in terms of the overall crime rate, number of victims, the cost of crime to the community or the incidence of violent crime.
“This sends the message out to people if you get involved with this kind of activity, there will be serious consequences,” Nicholson reiterated Monday.

Nor has the government ever provided a credible, detailed costing of the legislation.

Parliament’s independent budget office spent six months researching one small aspect of the bill — curtailing the use of conditional sentences — and found it will cost the provinces about $750 million over the next five years, mostly for increased jail time.

New mandatory minimum jail terms for growing as few as six pot plants were internationally panned in an open letter to Harper that pointed out the war on drugs has been a repeated, dismal failure across the globe — fuelling the very violence and organized crime it is supposed to combat.

None of it has slowed the bill’s inexorable progress.

This coming weekend marks the deadline Harper set last April when he made his catchy 100-day campaign promise on the crime agenda.

New Democrats used procedural tactics last week to momentarily delay the final vote, spoiling a Conservative communications exercise in Woodbridge, Ont., where several top Tories had flown at taxpayer expense to tout the legislation’s expected passage.

Bill C-10 initially cleared the House of Commons in December, but in the government’s haste — including time allocation to limit debate — it overlooked some important gaps that had been raised by Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, a former justice minister.

The Senate had to fix the victims of terrorism provisions, and sent the legislation back to the House last week for final approval.

“We’re at the end of the road,” said NDP justice critics Jack Harris, “but this government has persisted in pursuing a course of action that we heard much evidence is not actually going to reduce crime and not going to make our streets safer and is going in the wrong direction.”

Harris noted the NDP supports tougher laws for child predators and the government could have had those new laws on the books months ago if it had agreed to split them off from more contentious elements.

Bob Rae, the interim Liberal leader, called the legislation “a very expensive adventure, a very expensive and frankly unnecessary experiment.”

“It’s not a real crime prevention strategy,” said Rae. “It’s a prison promotion strategy, it’s an incarceration strategy, that I think will prove to be a very costly mistake for Canada.”

– Article from Yahoo! News.



  1. Anonymous on

    Look on the bright side. In a couple more generations, all those old people who voted conservative will be dead. I’m not wishing them dead, just looking on the bright side of death…

    Sure, there are some pretty awesome old people and I’ll miss a lot of them, and I miss some that have been gone for a while, but at the same time, a whole lot of them know nothing about the world at all.

    Just wait a couple generations and the majority of voters and possibly even politicians may be pot smokers.

    But I think if things are really going to change, it might require that we somehow replace the school system with one that doesn’t encourage kids to accept everything their teachers tell them as wholesale fact.

    If kids learned to spot bullshit at an early age, got rewarded for proving the teacher wrong, learned by choice not by force, we might not be stuck with a majority of complacent fools.

    And then parenting… Letting go of the authoritative power and letting your kids point out you’re full of shit, point out logically that such and such a rule is a dumb rule and needs to be changed, etc. Will so much have to change before the majority of people stop accepting everything they hear in an RCMP press release?

  2. Anonymous on

    I hate alcohol and love buds. Even though I am appraoching 50 I told my parent to go fuck themselves for voting against my interests. I hope voting conservative made them feel good because their son now hates them.

  3. organized crime union on

    We would like to thank Steven Harper for his continued support to organized crime with his new bill , over the years our or business had been going down with every tom dick and harry growing there own weed, this bill will help us put our businesses back online


    the hells angel
    russian mop
    italian mafia
    coca cola
    mexican cartels
    south american cartels
    all the little street gangs

  4. Anonymous on

    speak for yourself.You are the one who should exile.The richness of this country is in the hands of very few not ordinary citizens.Freest ? Ask the students who demonstrated a couple of days ago in Montreal what they think of the anti-riot police ? Freest country in the world ? You waste your time writing stupidities and you complain about the idleness of bong smokers.Get a job man.Actually many bong smokers have contributed to society Are you so short on memory that you already forgot about Phelps ? With you, next thing well know youre going to want exile the old people in a gulag ? Asshole

  5. Anonymous on

    I think imprisoning drug users is outrageous. It is, as many of you say, a complete waste of tax money and a total lack of regard for the most basic of human rights: freedom. Instead, I think we should exile drug users. I mean, think about it. If these people are not content with living in one of the richest (and freest) countries in the world, and, instead of contributing to this great society, they would rather spend their time idling around a bong, then, of course, they should be able to do so — but somewhere else.

  6. Heartbrokencanadian on

    I’m seriously in shock. I can’t believe canadians let this happen. I am livid and most of all I AM scared. Harper got his way now he can control Canadians with fear. Look what they did with Marc. They put him in jail for being politically involved in the movement. Not for selling seeds. Anyone of us who support marijuana are at risk for jail time. They hate us. They see us as a bigger threat than child molestors. That’s why they want to give someone who grows 6 plants more jail time than some pervert who touches a child. I am ashamed be be a canadian right now. I am utterly disgusted and heartbroken at what the Harper governments agenda is for this country. What disgust me most is how many canadians just sat back and let this happen. Shame on all of us.

  7. Anonymous on

    Lol “slowly” may be the wrong word…. Considering he did this in under 100 days, can you imagine how bad he will fuck up our country over the next five years if he can do this in just over three months.

  8. Anonymous on

    True criminals see this as a buisness opprutunity. By the goverment cutting local supply it only increases black markets and funds criminals. We are turning into the United States of Canada and harper is mindlessly funding the war on drugs. I hope crime rates rase by 75% in the next two years and they relook this and [email protected]#% OFF!!!!

  9. Anonymous on

    Just a theory but maybe deep down we all enjoy prohibition.What will there be left to say or write when prohibition is gone for good ? Life will be so boring without those games of cats and mice.Everybody except the victims enjoy prohibition: lawyers are fully employed,police the same,philosophers have never thought so much,public health specialists have never been so busy,growers all over the world keep sowing the seeds and young ones in face of so much media coverage are trying their first puff out of curiosity.Really,its so funny to see so many things done,written,said about one single plant cannabis sativa.And for those who think we are near the end bad news its just the beginning of the beginning (fractal-wise). Prude botanical gardens around the world have chosen to keep the weed outside their fences and with good reason: it is a weed and after all the madness is over it will take over the planet and colonize all the so well groomed botanical gardens

  10. Anonymous on

    The issue of governments unlawful bio war has to be addressed by the world. Samaritan Responsibility is required with key players.

    The truth of previous investments has been realized and the main issue must be managed.

    The period of greater intervention is upon us. We all know the weather news.

    Air Bending Brother Born
    Embracing Ignorance with Divine Compassion

    Thank you for your care – we all really need a lot of help – specific facts provided to previous parties of invested interest for years now – enough already. As a great surfer documentary title nailed it – “In God’s Hands”. Now the Mercy will be provided.

    p.s. Time to call the troops. The American Independent Film Market and the …

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  11. Anonymous on

    But I will bet anything its just the beginning.We are in for a rough ride over the next few years. As crime rates skyrocket, more laws will be put in place to deal with it. And as the good cops are retiring or quitting, they will be replaced with pure psychopaths like they have been doing in the US. Expect lots of police to start shooting people for no reason like they are in the US. Its just a matter of time. Canada is finished.

  12. Anonymous on

    is this the end of Marc Emery as leader of the world marijuana legalization movement? sadly so If he gets popped just one more time he will be checking into the iron Inn for keeps. I nomninate David Malmo Levine for the new Prince of Pot who I believe still has a few strikes to go before hes sent away for good.
    lets all work together and stand together to resist this assault on our culture

  13. Annie Nymus on

    Thats one more reason Quebec should separate from the rest of Canada and become a country of its own. That tough conservative approach is simply not the cup of tea of many Quebecers (except of course senator Boisvenu)Actually there are quite a few things along that line that Quebecers don’t like about that Canadian way of life imposed to us by the Harper government.I”m sure the best way for the future is to go our separate ways.

  14. Anonymous on

    For the first time i am very scared for what is about to happen to our country. Although i do believe that the people of our great county will in fact wake up and be rid of this atrocious bill eventually, but how long will it take? How many years, how many fellow canadians are going to suffer, jail time, increased taxes, and for what. Harper has us slowely turning into the United States of Canada.