Thursday, May 04, 2006

More Decisive Conservative Government - Crime Legislation

Updated Thu. May. 4 2006 10:57 AM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

The Tories put forward two new anti-crime bills today -- aimed at toughening the country's justice system.

One of the bills seeks to impose mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking, weapons offences, crimes committed while on parole, and for repeat and violent offenders.

The other looks to ban conditional sentencing for serious and violent offences and end house arrest for serious offences.

Federal Justice Minister Vic Toews tabled the new crime bills in the Commons today.

He said tougher crime measures are needed to crack down on violent, dangerous and repeat offenders.

"We wanted to focus on specific types of crimes, these are guns and gangs," Toews told reporters outside the Commons Thursday.

Critics, however, have suggested the legislation will overload prisons and cost the federal government millions of dollars.

"Criminologists do not support his analysis," legal analyst Julian Falconer told CTV Newsnet Thursday.

"We have no proof that jailing more people stops crime. What are we doing by way of preventative measures?"

The Conservatives have pledged to create a mandatory DNA data bank for sex offenders, and end "defence loopholes" for child pornography.

They have also promised a third anti-crime bill this spring, which would raise the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16.

Government officials say that bill is still being developed.

Today's announcement follows Tuesday's federal budget pledge of $1.4 billion over two years to increase Canada's security -- including increasing the number of police officers on the streets.

Conservatives promised to hire 1,000 more Royal Canadian Mounted Police with a $161 million increase in funding to the force.

The budget also pledged $37 million to expand the RCMP National Training Academy to accommodate the new officers, and $20 million for communities to prevent youth crime, with a focus on guns, gangs and drugs.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he will increase prison spaces to accommodate any increase in sentencing.

At a speech in Winnipeg last month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper outlined the criminal justice reforms his government was planning to take led by Toews.

"The safe streets and safe neighbourhoods that Canadians have come to expect as being part of our way of life are being threatened by rising levels of gun, gang, and drug crime," Harper said on April 19.

Harper promised to "completely overhaul" the criminal justice system by increasing police forces across the country and by toughening up sentences during last winter's federal election campaign.

The pledge to "prevent crime by putting more police on the street and improving the security of our borders" was also repeated in last month's throne speech.

My Comments - The critics to this legialstion are obviously happy with the status quo where child predators and serious offenders are treated like royalty and victims rights are not protected.

The liberals did nothing to protect Canadians in their coddling and weak justice system, Harper and the Conservatives stated in the election - if you do serious crime, you will do serious time.

It looks like Harper and the Conservatives are actually leading this country after 13 years of liberal dithering, corruption, and fence-sitting.

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