Friday, June 26, 2009

Crime Agenda Popular

If anyone wonders why the Conservatives seem to spend a disporportionate amount of their energy on crime legislation, and then use said legislation as a "wedge" issue, this poll provides the context:
KEY FINDINGS

91% support a mandatory two-year jail term for anyone selling drugs at or near a school

82% would include all sex offenders in the national registry

72% would repeal "faint-hope" clause

68% support ending conditional sentences for non-personal injury crimes

At least 63% support mandatory sentences for anyone growing marijuana with the purpose of trafficking

61% think mandatory minimum sentences are a good idea


Mandatory Jail Terms for Drug Crimes

Respondents to this survey were provided with some of the provisions of Bill C-15, which was passed by the House of Commons and must be ratified by the Senate before becoming law. Three-in-five respondents (63%) agree with enacting a mandatory six-month jail term for anyone growing from five to 200 marijuana plants, with the purpose of trafficking.

Support for two other marijuana-related provisions is higher, with 73 per cent agreeing to a mandatory one-year jail term for anyone growing from 201 to 500 marijuana plants, with the purpose of trafficking, and 75 per cent consenting to a mandatory two-year jail term for anyone growing more than 500 marijuana plants, with the purpose of trafficking.

Nine-in-ten Canadians (91%) support a regulation that calls for a mandatory two-year jail term for anyone selling or sharing Schedule I substances (such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine) on or near school grounds.

39 comments:

Jim said...

By these finding, it should be abundantly clear that the vast majority of Canadians agree that the liberal "hug-a-thug" approaches to criminals and their rehabilitation have been an abject failure.

In the last 25 or so years, the population of Canada has increased by about 12 million. Of those 12M, it must be assumed that a percentage of that number will be criminals.

When a population grow like that, infrastructure of all kinds must be built to support their numbers. Well, much as the left doesn't like to hear it, prisons are part of that infrastructure.

How many new prisons has Canada built in the last 25 years? I can't think of any...but I know we have closed plenty.

Canada has a legal system, but in it's current state, there is no justice involved.

The system is broken...citizens know this, police know this and prosecutors know this. We must repair it and soon.

Real time for real crime is a step in the right direction, as is the ending of provisions of conditional sentencing for crime like kidnapping home invasion.

One of the best thinks we could do to improve our system would be to punt out alot the the Liberal appointed activist judges and start electing our judges...but considering we can't even elect our senators, I would call this one a long shot.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Steve, interesting numbers, and I'm sure the Cons have some riding or regional polling that shows this may be an issue in key ridings.

But let's not forget the forest for the trees. The last major Ekos poll asked Canadians to rate their most important issues. Tops was, surprisingly, health care and social issues. The economy was number two. Crime was way, way down the list. So yes, people may favour such policies, but they aren't necessarily vote movers for people.

What I would take from these #s, and I would take them with a grain of salt because much depends on how the questions are presented, is that advocates of a balanced approach to criminal justice, or balancing enforcement with prevention, aren't doing a good enough job of getting their message out.

By these finding, it should be abundantly clear that the vast majority of Canadians agree that the liberal "hug-a-thug" approaches to criminals and their rehabilitation have been an abject failure.

Jim, Abundantly clear to who? All these figures show is that being tough in criminals polls well. I don't think many would be surprised by that.

To try to spin that into an opinion on the effectivness of other policies is an argument completely unsupported by these numbers.

bigcitylib said...

What BCer said. Still depressing, though.

Gayle said...

For what it is worth, I cannot understand the point of jailing someone who sells at or near a school.

Wouldn't the objective be better met by making jail mandatory for selling to someone under the age of 18?

And again, for what it is worth, the provision is pointless in any event - judges consider such actions to be aggravating and thus more likely to result in a jail sentence anyway.

The legislation, combined with the poll, tells me the CPC are more interested in selling something they consider to be a vote getter rather than doing something that betters the country.

(I also think those poll numbers have a lot to do with the misinformation the CPC have been spreading about crime).

Proud Canadian said...

Gayle says: "For what it is worth, I cannot understand the point of jailing someone who sells at or near a school."

"WHAT!" Are you serious?

Gayle said...

Maybe read the whole comment son.

Wouldn't it be better to make jail mandatory for selling to someone who is under 18? The way it stands now, all the dealer has to do is tell the kid to meet him at the mall after school.

Proud Canadian said...

Gayle said:"Maybe read the whole comment son.

Wouldn't it be better to make jail mandatory for selling to someone who is under 18? The way it stands now, all the dealer has to do is tell the kid to meet him at the mall after school."

I've read your whole comment.Don't call me son because you have absolutely no idea how old I am. What difference does it make whether your over 18 of age or not? It's an illegal product. Thank Heavens the vast majority of Canadians understand this.

Omar said...

So how old are you, Junior?

Woman at Mile 0 said...

Yet if you asked Canadians if they would support legislation that would massively increase jail populations and costs to taxpayers they would say no. It's easy to get the answer you want through a poll that only asks about one side of the issue.

Koby said...

Dim Jim


1) Imprisoning someone is hugely expensive and in terms of bang for your buck, by far and away the worst form of crime prevention.

As trails in Europe have shown, heroin maintenance is far and away the most effective means of reducing drug related property crime. Those in such programs are much less likely to commit crimes of all kinds. No longer having to beg steal or prostitute themselves in order to gather up enough money to feed their addiction, enrolled addicts are much more likely to start contributing to society again. Employment rates more than double and here is the kicker, heroin usage drops even though it is freely at their disposal! And little wonder. Living out on the streets and having to perform any number of illegal activities to feed their addiction, often deepens the severity of that addiction.

2) Canada is not soft on crime and never has been. Canadian incarceration rates have always been among the highest in the world. We only appear "soft" when matched up against the US. The US imprisons 2.3 million people. Only China and Russia come close. In all, 7.2 million Americans are behind bars, on probation or on parole.

3) Despite the fact that US imprisons 6 to 14 times as many people on a per capita as any other Western nation, the US has by far and away the highest homicide rate of any Western nation. Some of argue that far from reducing crime, ridiculously high incarceration rates in some States reproduce the sociological conditions associated with criminality. Among other things, incarceration rates help explain why the US has become the most socially stratified Western nation and the western nation with the least social mobility.

4) Locking up more and more gang members is no way to weaken the reach of gangs. The individuals might suffer but the organizations thrive. Indeed, plenty of gangs started as prison gangs (e.g., the Red Command and the PCC is Brazil and the Aryan Brotherhood in the US) and other gangs spread as result (e.g., the Crips and Bloods).

5) The crime rate, particularly with regard to violent crime, in Canada has plummeted. The average homicide rate between 1970 and 1976 was 2.52, between 1977 and 1983 it was 2.67, between 1984 and 1990 it was 2.41, between 1991 and 1997 it was 2.23 and between 1998 to 2004 it was 1.82. Moreover, crime is becoming more concentrated among those on the margins of society. There has been 4 fold increase in the number of gang hits over the course last 20 years and yet the murder rate is down 25%. If one is not involved in the drug trade or prostitution, the chances of one being a victim of a violent crime are very slight indeed.

Koby said...

The Conservatives has just announced a plan to do away with judges and go straight to the people. The populace will not only decide guilt, they will also decide on the severity of sentence. Using online voting a citizen can vote to increase the severity of someone's sentence by clicking on a thumbs down icon and reduce it by clicking on a thumbs up icon. Not wanting to appear weak on crime, the Liberals promise their support.

"you have absolutely no idea how old I am."

I agree. Gayle was out of line. You are probably a grumpy old guy. What Conservative is not?

"What difference does it make whether your over 18 of age or not? It's an illegal product."

But they are below the “age of protection”. I will tell you what. I will be sporting. Either say that 14 year olds should be free to drink alcohol, drive, vote, quit school, work, have sex with whomever they please, and get married, or drop this nonsense about how they are mature enough to fully understand the consequences of their actions. After all, you can not have your cake and eat it too.

Gayle said...

PC - the intent of the provision is to prevent selling drugs to school age children, no? So why not just address selling drugs to school age children?

That said, I agree with Koby, and maybe take it a little further, because as far as I am concerned we should not make any drugs illegal. The harm done by drug use is far less than the harm done by gang violence, and since gangs finance their operations through trafficking in illegal substances, I suggest we would be much better off by decriminalizing drugs rather than getting tougher.

It would also make drug use more open and therefore more easy to both regulate it as well as identify when drugs are being abused.

But maybe that is because I think drive by shootings are more dangerous than safe injection sites.

ottlib said...

The polling questions rank right up there with "Do you love your mother?"

As BCer in TO states these issues are not voter movers, particularly in difficult economic times.

I firmly believe that the Conservatives will make crime an issue in the next election to change the channel from their handling of the economy and Canada's fiscal position.

It is nice to see the folks at Angus Reid giving them the cover to do so.

Omar said...

"The Conservatives has just announced a plan to do away with judges and go straight to the people. The populace will not only decide guilt, they will also decide on the severity of sentence."

The Canadian public, by and large, is uneducated, uninformed, easily swayed, apathetic, and unqualified to make legal judgements of any kind and that is why we require our courts system to provide expert interpretation of our laws adjudicated by individuals suited for that purpose. To even contemplate allowing our legal system to serve as a barometer of popular will is something I'd rather not even think about let alone believe we would ever have implemented. Brrrr...

Gayle said...

I am in courts a lot with youth, and in my experience most people are tough on crime until they get to court and see the kids they are referring to.

Tough on crime means ignorant about criminals.

Proud Canadian said...

Gayle says:"PC - the intent of the provision is to prevent selling drugs to school age children, no? So why not just address selling drugs to school age children?"

This is what this provision tries to do is to prevent selling illegal drugs no matter what age you are.

Gayle also said: "That said, I agree with Koby, and maybe take it a little further, because as far as I am concerned we should not make any drugs illegal. The harm done by drug use is far less than the harm done by gang violence, and since gangs finance their operations through trafficking in illegal substances, I suggest we would be much better off by decriminalizing drugs rather than getting tougher."

First of all Gayle we have gang violence,because of drugs. They fight over territories so that they can sell their product.If you think that by decriminalizing drugs we would be better off,than your living in la la land. Not to mention the toll that would be put to our health care system. The billions of dollars that would cost our economy.

Gayle says: "It would also make drug use more open and therefore more easy to both regulate it as well as identify when drugs are being abused."

Governments are trying to get people off smoking and having a hard time of it and you want it to make it easier for people to get hooked on drugs. Are you serious? Just ask anyone who has smoked for years how hard it is for them to give it up. Now just imagine how hard it would for drug users. If you think smokers cost society lots of $$$ in health care cost,how much do you think it would cost with an increase of drug users humm?

You also said:"But maybe that is because I think drive by shootings are more dangerous than safe injection sites."

I'll repeat gangs exist,because of the money they make by drugs.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how these numbers would change if people knew it cost $80,000 a year to put a SINGLE person in prison.

Proud Canadian said...

Anon how much do you think a drug addict cost the health care system and society in general broken families not able to work etc.etc..?

Gayle said...

"First of all Gayle we have gang violence,because of drugs. They fight over territories so that they can sell their product.If you think that by decriminalizing drugs we would be better off,than your living in la la land."

Yes, that is because the drug trade is illegal, so the only people who can make money from it are those who break the law.

If you legalize drugs you take away the gangs' customers, and therefore their source of income. That is how you rid your cities of gangs.

Why don't you do a little research into prohibition in the 1920's and learn about gang violence and the illegal alcohol trade.

"This is what this provision tries to do is to prevent selling illegal drugs no matter what age you are."

And yet they have a special provision directed towards selling drugs at or around schools, when it would be more appropriate to direct it towards selling drugs to children.

Jim said...

"Dim Jim"

Why always with the condescension from you folks?

Attempting to have a relevant discussion with a liberal can be most frustrating.

Honestly, I think Canada needs one good sized prison, in the high north. No TV, no internet, no drugs, just the basics for survival and education.

I would advertise this prison nationwide so that criminals know that when they break the law, this is where they go.

I bet we would see an immediate drop in the crime rates.

See, I think criminality is a choice. So many on the left like to go on about how the poor criminal is a product of their surroundings or society. To this, I say bullshit. These people know the difference between right and wrong, yet they made the choice to break the law.

People should be given a second chance, therefor, education or trades training should be available in the penal system.

Yet Canada today has gone completely in the wrong direction. We have people with 50 plus convictions walking around doing crime, and when they are in the system, they are watching TV and getting high.

I have been and continue to be affected by crime, I lose thousands every year to theft and break ins.

Sorry if I seem callous and unfeeling, but I live my life as a law abiding citizen and have zero sympathy for those that don't.

As an aside, I live and do business in the Whalley area of Surrey BC, just to give you a little background.

Jim said...

Gayle said...
"I am in courts a lot with youth, and in my experience most people are tough on crime until they get to court and see the kids they are referring to.

Tough on crime means ignorant about criminals."

Ha...I'll mention that post to my Deputy Sheriff friend who was telling me about the 17 year old Indo kid he was escorting that was fully tattooed and built like a tank who was up for manslaughter charges as an enforcer for his uncle's gang, yet got a nice fluffy sentence due to our wonderful Young Offenders Act.

My Sheriff friend also imparted this quote to me...

"I never believed the boogy man existed til I got on the job."

Gayle said...

"I would advertise this prison nationwide so that criminals know that when they break the law, this is where they go.

I bet we would see an immediate drop in the crime rates."

Just like capital punishment caused an immediate drop in murder rates in the US.

Oh wait...

Gayle said...

As for the rest, if all the justice system were about the worst case scenarios people like you and your sherrif friend like to trot out, one would think violent crime was on the rise...and yet, oddly enough, it isn't.

Funny that.

Jon Pertwee said...

Jim, you should consider moving to the People's Republic of China. They have prisons like there and I think you'll love the "freedoms".

BTW whooeee that you live in Surrey. I live in East Van. Big Deal.

Proud Canadian said...

Gayle said:

"Yes, that is because the drug trade is illegal, so the only people who can make money from it are those who break the law.

If you legalize drugs you take away the gangs' customers, and therefore their source of income. That is how you rid your cities of gangs."

Are you saying to legalize everything so we can take away their customers? This is convoluted logic on your part.

You also said:

"Why don't you do a little research into prohibition in the 1920's and learn about gang violence and the illegal alcohol trade."

I now the history on prohibition of the 1920's.
Alcohol is now a legal product. If I go by your logic on legalizing drugs criminal gangs should have been long gone by now. Why hasn't that happened?

Secondly comparing alcohol and drugs is like comparing apples and oranges. Are you saying that having a glass of wine at the dinner table is the same as having a line of cocaine? Common please!

Gayle said...

"Why hasn't that happened?"

Because they moved from alcohol to drugs.

Jim said...

What about property crime, Gayle?

Please dazzle me with stats. From my perspective, it is way up.

And Jon, you are obviously an idiot, please refrain from posting...I have every right to live in and complain about the state of this country as you do, so STFU.

Proud Canadian said...

Gayle said:

"Why hasn't that happened?"

"Because they moved from alcohol to drugs."

Heavens forbid drugs are legalized.Do you really think that gangs would just disappear into thin air? Please!

Jim said...

You know, I just reread all the comments on this thread and I hope all you bleeding hearts get robbed, raped, mugged or you business is the victim of crime.

Maybe then you might realize that crime is bad and needs to be dealt with in a fashion that carries a true penalty.

Criminality is bad...skirting around the edges and making excuses for it is folly.

Honestly, in my opinion, the majority of the posters here are contributing to the failure of Canadian society.

Stupid socialists.

Gayle said...

Yes Jim - crime is bad. It is just that some of us want to actually deal with it, which means seeking thoughtful solutions as opposed to knee jerk reactions that will cost us a lot of money and do absolutely nothing about the crime rate.

lance said...

Talk about a thread going off-topic. Steve shows the reason for C-15 and why the Libs support it and some people are still stupid about it.

No wonder the CPC keep throwing crime law at the Liberals. If some commentators here are representative of the Liberal membership then the CPC have the ultimate weapon.

A successful wedge works both ways. Not only does it differentiate platforms in your favour, but the only way for the losing party to escape is to embrace the issue. That isn't particularly helpful for the grass-roots.

This poll explains why McCallum has been on every political show with a mike explaining how the Liberals really are tough on crime.

Cheers,
lance

Koby said...

"First of all Gayle we have gang violence,because of drugs. They fight over territories so that they can sell their product. If you think that by decriminalizing drugs we would be better off,than your living in la la land. Not to mention the toll that would be put to our health care system. The billions of dollars that would cost our economy."

You talking out your ass. Five years after Portugual decriminalized possession of all drugs, illegal drug use among teens in Portugal has declined, rates of new HIV infections caused by sharing of dirty needles has dropped, the number of heroin overdoses halved, and the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction more than doubled.

"Governments are trying to get people off smoking and having a hard time of it and you want it to make it easier for people to get hooked on drugs. Are you serious? Just ask anyone who has smoked for years how hard it is for them to give it up. Now just imagine how hard it would for drug users. If you think smokers cost society lots of $$$ in health care cost,how much do you think it would cost with an increase of drug users humm?"

There is no correlation between liberal drug laws and increased drug use. Indeed, not only does liberal Portugal and the Netherlands have much lower rates of drug use than the US, drug usage declined in both after they liberalized their laws.

Koby said...

"comparing alcohol and drugs is like comparing apples and oranges."

You are right. Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. As the Canadian Senate committee noted marijuana is not illegal because it dangerous it is dangerous because it is illegal. Indeed, in the context of Canada, marijuana profits and sometimes even marijuana itself are providing the seed capital the gangs need to expand operations into the States, for example, and to diversify operations (e.g., cocaine, heroin, human trafficking and guns).

Do not take my word for it though. Take the RCMP's or VPD's or any police force that you can think of.



Allan Castle, head of the RCMP's criminal analysis section in B.C "B.C. bud . . . was really the industrial revolution of organized crime in B.C.," Mr. Castle said. "It made a lot of bad guys very, very wealthy. And it developed international networks that hadn't existed before."

http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=1358262



Special Agent Jeffrey Wagner of DEA "What happens is the organizations, instead of smuggling currency over the border to pay for cocaine to bring up and then again smuggling ecstasy or marijuana over the border, they look at it as a way to pay their debt."


http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5hnxQOGggeYOIUe9dUv2Jb1GWM3-Q


Attributed to RCMP Cpl. Norm Massie "He said gangsters trade weapons and drugs, often with ecstasy and marijuana heading to the U.S. in exchange for guns and cocaine."

http://www.bclocalnews.com/tri_city_maple_ridge/tricitynews/news/40814583.html

For this reason alone we need to nip this in the bud.

However there are other reasons as one. Consider what happened with the gateway drug argument.

Researchers have rightly noted that people who have try marijuana are statistically more likely try other illicit drugs. This gave raise to the theory that there was something about marijuana that encouraged drug experimentation. Marijuana, it was alleged, is a gateway drug. This, in turn, was given as one more reason to keep the drug illegal. However, the gateway drug theory has until recently fallen on hard times for lack of an intelligible mechanism. The problem was that there was no coherent explanation for why marijuana would lead people to experiment with other drugs. Without this explanation doubt was cast relationship being more than mere correlation.That said, in recent years researchers have breathed new life into the theory, albeit with a sociological twist. According to the new version, it is not marijuana's pharmacological properties that serve as a gateway, but rather marijuana's illegal status. Specifically in the process of illegally procuring marijuana, users are introduced to the criminal elements with access to other illicit drugs and hence it is the forged blackmarket relationship between dealer and buyer that serves as gateway.

In this context it should be noted that when the Dutch partially legalized the sale of marijuana, heroin and cocaine use went down despite an initial increase in marijuana use. Dutch use of hard drugs remains well below the European average.

Koby said...

Dim Jim

As I said before, when it comes to reducing property crime heroin maintenance programs are by far and away the most successful. In Switzerland such programs have been so successful, two thirds of Swiss voters voted in referendum to make it permanent.

Gayle said...

Hi Lance

Hey - thanks for your concern, but as has already been noted on this thread, the crime agenda is of little importance to Canadians when compared to important things like jobs and health care.

And while some liberals are certainly very unhappy with the passage of C-15, I suspect it was a calculated risk, and the drop in support because of this bill will be minimal, and certainly nothing like the backlash experienced by the CPC from their socially and fiscally conservative base over the stimulus budget and the fact that Harper is playing games with issues that are near and dear to them - like the gun registry.

lance said...

Yep, heard it all before Gayle.

"Canadians care about ...."

I presume I can add you to the list of those telling me what I'm supposed to think? Gayle and Layton sitting around the kitchen table with Tommy pouring tea. Health Care and Jobs? Are you sure you're Liberal?

There hasn't been an election on Health Care since forever and if the Libs thought jobs (or the lack thereof) were enough they'd have gone last Friday.

Steve posted overwhelming numbers on an issue that the Liberals are perceived to be weak on. The Liberals have two options, they can cave to their hug-a-thug history or they can jump on the punishment bandwagon.

Not nurturing environments, not rehabilitation, not trying to understand; pure unadulterated revenge by society on failed experiments.

The types of numbers shown here will move some undecided to the CPC if the Liberals can't shift the idea that you, Gayle, are representative of them. If the Libs manage to appear harder, that might keep those voters up in the air.

There isn't a lot of difference between Tory/Liberal. The right is angry at a liberal Harper and the left is angry at a conservative Iggy. There isn't that much difference and "little" (your word) things like crime and punishment may be enough to create a difference.

Your "attempt" at labelling the gun registry as an example of what I called a successful wedge issue is incomplete.

Yes it has angered some of the CPC base. No it isn't a wedge because the Liberals aren't offering anything different. The opposite actually.

Cheers,
lance

Gayle said...

It is funny how you complain about people telling you what to think, and then you go on telling me what people think.

Hey, obviously the CPC think that crime is going to be the big winning issue for them this election - of course they thought that the last few elections too, and it just has not made that much of an impact (except for the fact that it helped Quebec deny Harper his majority last time around).

As for the gun registry, I am not sure why you think the liberals have to offer something different. The CPC want to get rid of it (only they don't really want to do that, since they perceive it as a great fundraising tool so they trot it out every once in a while). The LPC want to retain it.

By the way, seems to me I recall Klein once musing about privatizing health care during a federal election - which was used to some advantage by the liberals to denouce the conservatives.

Just sayin'...

Koby said...

Lance

As to the political calculation involved here, it is not one that is going to work for the Liberals. The political advantage the Conservatives get from this is not from their being major differences between the major parties, but from the tone of debate generally. So long as the only option is get tough on crime or stay the course, the Conservatives are going to win the issue. They are the ones that started the discussion and they are always going to be the ones deemed toughest on crime.

The only way the crime issue turns around for the Liberals is if they offer an alternative vision. The Liberals should propose to legalize marijuana. For while the aforementioned poll support for mandatory minimums, Canadians do not believe in the law for which the want to see people locked away for. The public does not know its ass from elbow. Indeed, the last 5 polls that I have seen on the subject show that a majority of Canada’s support marijuana legalization and by a fairly large margin. More to the point it is something that is particularly popular with the Liberal base. According a 2007 poll, for which the complete breakdown is available, support is 55-41 nationally and is favoured by Liberal supporters 68-29 and by NDP supporters 71 -27.

Up until now the Liberals have done what what they do with regard most issues. They have tried to straddle both sides of the political divide. The fact that doing so renders their policies intellectually incoherent does not bother them in the least. Principle has been "triangulated" out of existence long ago. When it comes to marijuana for example their position on possession has been pretty lax since Chretein quipped that he would have a joint in one hand and the money for his fine in other. At the same time, they have been ever more supportive of tougher penalties for drug trafficking . To say that such stances are mutually inconsistent would be an understatement. How can consuming a joint be no worse than speeding and something virtually every Liberal leader can laugh about but passing one worthy of a year in jail?

Möbius said...

You are probably a grumpy old guy. What Conservative is not?

I support complete legalization and control of drug distribution, in the same manner as tobacco or alcohol, because prohibition demonstrably doesn't work. Neither Harper or Ignatieff agree with me.

You're probably just an ill-informed idiot. What Lefty is not?