Pubdate: Sat, 22 Apr 2006
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2006 The StarPhoenix
Author: Ron Fisher


Analysis, like beauty, may be in the eye of the beholder, but the 
editorial, Crime package poses challenge (SP, April 6), can only be 
described as scholarly.

It does a marvellous job of exposing the absurdity of touting as bold 
and innovative solutions which have been proven to be unworkable, 
untrue or even harmful.

The editorial refers, in part, to the Conservative legislation 
championed as "getting tough on crime," and that "if you do the 
crime, you will have to do the time." Hot button items, no doubt, but 
as sociologist Bernard Schissel points out, what the Conservatives 
are proposing has worked nowhere in the world.

Tragically, they are modelling their rhetoric and legislation on the 
curative myths of likely the worst example -- the United States of 
America. If these nostrums worked, the U.S. would be the safest 
crime-free nation on Earth. With four per cent of the world's 
population and 22 per cent its prison inmates, that is simply not the case.

What's needed is a concerted effort to get tough on the causes of 
crime. Poverty, discrimination, racism, inadequate housing, low wages 
and lack of education all are contributing factors.

Remedying these social shortfalls is not as immediate or as high 
profile as "locking the door and throwing away the key," and they may 
not get you elected. But they are honest, they work, and they are cheaper.

Upon close scrutiny, the crime plank (and the other four) in the 
Conservative platform are myths. An electoral scam by any other name 
is still a scam.

Ron Fisher

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