Thursday, September 22, 2011

Discussing the Omnibus Bill

For those of you who are sick of me blogging about politics and justice issues, forgive me. Since the Omnibus Bill was tabled I have been spending much of my time following responses to the bill and encouraging Canadians to speak up and express their concerns. Even as I write my husband is sending out postcards to MPs about this issue. He’s never looked sexier.

(In case any of you would like to look similarly sexy, you can visit the Elizabeth Fry site for some postcards which you print double-sided and mail (postage free) to your local MPs and other key ministers like Harper, Nicholson, Toews, Comartin, Sandhu, Cotler and Rae.)

Anyway, you have heard plenty from me about this and related issues, so tonight I’ll share some of what Ministers were saying today about the crime omnibus bill.

Joe Comartin, NDP Justice Critic: “This bill continues a long-standing pattern of disrespect by the government to our judiciary by taking away judicial discretion around sentencing in particular.

Don Davies, NDP MP: “There is nothing in this bill that deals with prevention. There is nothing in this bill that addresses the need for increased resources to help prevent crimes from happening in the first place.”

Vic Toews, Tory Public Safety Minister: “Canadian prisoners convicted abroad continually want to come home and foreigners who are incarcerated in Canadian prisons do not want to leave. That should give the opposition an indication of the relative benefits of being in a Canadian prison.”

Paul Dewar, NDP MP: “I would plead with Canadians to hold their members of Parliament to account on this because it is going to cost us more. There is the economic argument regarding downloading all the costs to provinces which right now have difficulty withstanding the costs associated with education, health, et cetera. There is the question of justice. Does this work? The evidence is pretty clear in other jurisdictions that it does not....

“This is about dealing with an issue which all Canadians are seized with, but doing it in an intelligent manner, based on evidence and making sure we take what I believe is an overtly political agenda out of an extremely important issue.”

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