Wednesday, February 09, 2011

“This Bill Isn’t Tough On Crime, It’s Dumb On Crime”

The political reality is such, fear trumps facts, at least that is the entire thrust of the Conservative "tough on crime" agenda. I will give the government credit, they have continually cornered the opposition, leveraging the superficial optics to force bad bills through Parliament. The Liberals have been guilty of cowering, primarily because "soft on criminals" is an electoral killer, the Conservatives know it and this fact has allowed embarrassing bullying in the past. With the backdrop in mind, I have to say how proud I am to be a Liberal today, we have taken a stand that has inherent risk, but is ABSOLUTELY the proper, mature, responsible position:
The Liberal Party of Canada announced today that it will oppose Bill S-10 over concerns that the bill disproportionately targets youth and would cause an explosion of costs to build new mega-prisons.

“This bill isn’t tough on crime, it’s dumb on crime,” said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. “We’re all in favour of cracking down on serious criminals, but this bill doesn’t distinguish between massive grow-ops and a first-time offender with a small amount.

“What’s more, the Conservatives won’t tell us what the fiscal implications of this bill are. How many billions will it cost? How many mega-prisons will have to be built? For these reasons, we just can’t support it,” he said.

The government is hiding the numbers, as I said earlier this raises serious red flags, speaks volumes about actual cost. However, more importantly from this quarter, the Liberals are finally standing up for common sense on the crime front. This bill doesn't distinguish, it lumps the casual with the true criminals, it's a poorly written, blanket, piece of legislative garbage. The Liberals have offered amendments to go after the real targets, but the government has refused. There is no spirit of co-operation, it's just the typical ram through and force the opposition to blink. Enough!

I appreciate the risk the Liberals have taken, you can instanteously think of several soundbite counters that can warp what this stance really means. That said, it makes it easier to support a party which is prepared to take that risk, particularly given past capitulations. This stance is another signal to the Canadian people that the Liberals actually do stand for things, pander is replaced by principles in some regards. I see today's decision as a show of strength, another sign of an evolution into a true alternative to this government.

I think this party is finally, finally, finding its voice and the opposition to this nonsensical bill and the accompanying stonewall, is something I can surely get behind in a committed way. If you want people to believe in you, you have to give them something to believe in! A good day to be sure.

12 comments:

Kev said...

I have to admit that I haven't voted Liberal since John Turner was leader,however I have been leaning towards voting for them solely for strategic reasons(Damn Harper for making me even consider strategic voting as an option).

Today's announcement on S-10 coupled with their stand on corporate tax cuts is for the first time in decades giving me positive reasons to vote Liberal and if they follow through will likely cement my vote in their favour.

bigcitylib said...

This is the "send grandma hippy to prison bill"; I'm not sure I see that much of a downside to opposing it. Pretty small bore stuff and there are more then enough Tory stoners out there.

Incidentally, they first announced this about two weeks ago.

Steve V said...

Kev

I'm getting the feeling you aren't alone in that sentiment. I know a few months ago I mused about quitting the party, partisanship, but right now, I feel better about this party than in a long time.

BCL

You're right, but it's also true that "Liberals support grow ops" is an easy target. Watch the way they torture this position. I realize, but today it was reaffirmed in a more forceful way.

Gayle said...

I am guessing they did some polling first, but it is a really good and smart position to take.

KC said...

I agree with BCL. I don't give voters credit for much but I do think that the Liberals always could have opposed this legislation with little political consequence. Maybe a handful of votes may have been lost here and there, but by supporting the legislation they probably lost an equivalent number of educated voters who see the war on drugs as a failure and were appalled at seeing the Liberals being prepared to ramp it up.

Marpman said...

An interesting counter-argument to the 'soft on crime' would be real numbers on how many people are inside the system for things like possession.
While we want to focus on real crime, what is next...jail time for a speeding ticket?
The reality is that the crime rate is going down and our money and resources are better spent elsewhere.

WesternGrit said...

Conservative want to raise the crime rate - NEED to raise the crime rate. Every time they play "tough on crime" the facts always slap them upside the head: "hey morons - crime is at record lows, and keeps coming down". So... their only hope is to classify hundreds of thousands more innocent Canadians as "criminals" to feed their mega-American style prisons...

ridenrain said...

I keep hearing people say this bill will throw small, personal growers in jail but I have never seen any proof of that. If it's not hapening when growing anything is illegal, I can't see them starting when small, personal gardens are legal.

Marc Bernard said...

Common sense only works if the electorate hears it. Gotta keep the message coming, loud and clear, to drown out the "soft on crime" attack ads that are coming.

Tof KW said...

Pretty small bore stuff and there are more then enough Tory stoners out there.

For those who don’t believe, don’t laugh. I remember a pretty good thread over at the main Blogging Tories forum from a few years ago when more than a few regulars there jumped in and supported decriminalization.

Steve V said...

"I keep hearing people say this bill will throw small, personal growers in jail but I have never seen any proof of that."

Like the long form census you mean?

Steve V said...

Conservatives launch "soft on crime" ads:

http://ht.ly/3U4X5