Pubdate: Thu, 7 Jan 2010
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Times Colonist
Author: Elizabeth Woods


The editorial on prorogation (Jan. 5) mentions that among the bills
that died with this parliamentary session were many parts of "Harper's
tough on crime agenda."

This is the one good result of prorogation as these bills contained
very bad criminal law.

Stephen Harper is not "tough on crime"-- he is soft in the head on
crime, preferring to build more prisons -- the most expensive, least
effective form of influencing behaviour -- instead of investing in
preventive measures, such as early childhood care and education, and
the alleviation of poverty.

Despite Harper's claims, harsh sentences do not reduce the incidence
of crime; among many reasons, punishment focuses miscreants' attention
on their own pain, making them less likely to consider the pain
they've caused others.

Restorative justice is a better approach, but Harper prefers to
practise cheap politics by playing on people's fears of crime, even
though crime in general is decreasing.

Harper refuses the easiest and most damaging attack on criminal gangs,
that of eliminating the black markets in drugs and cutting the gangs'
cash flow off by legalizing, regulating and licensing recreational

Because of his refusal, Harper remains organized crime's best friend,
and the foe of a sane drug policy.

Elizabeth Woods

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