C-10 A Dark Day for Canada

Yesterday, Canadian parliament passed the omnibus C-10 Crime Bill, which includes 9 laws the Conservative party of Canada failed to pass as a minority government. This is possibly the worst thing to happen to Canada in a long time; we might not see the consequences soon, but they will be large, wide and deep. Tens of thousands more people in jail, clogged courts and thousands of lives ruined for no good reason. This law was created and passed without consultation or without the slightest respect for science and analysis, 100% ideological nonsense. Good job Conservative Party of Canada. The quick passage of the bill is not surprising considering the Conservative Party’s past accomplishments (see my old 6 point summary of why Harper is probably not the best prime minister we’ve ever had).

Recently, Bryan Stevenson of Equal Justice Initiative gave a formidable TED Talk (below) on the cruel injustice of the American penal system. In the States, 13 year olds are tried for life and handed life sentences and many states do not allow convicts to vote, even after release from prison. While C-10 is not as bad as US penal law, it is a step in that failed direction. Fundamentally, a good justice system is one that focuses on prevention and rehabilitation; Canada has a decent system, though not perfect. C-10 and the conservative ideology behind it proposes that punishment is the best penal system, that ‘whipping’ people with harsh uncompromising prison terms will reduce crime – it has never worked, and never will. Nearly every group – lawyers, judges, social workers and provincial governments – opposed this law, but Conservatives paid no heed.

Not much to add, but this is indeed a sad day for the fair and just Canada that I hope to live in. At least some judges are starting to oppose the law and hopefully it can be overturned through charter rights, or a new government.


Published on March 13, 2012