BY JEREMY WARREN, THE STARPHOENIX
Tim Wise, renowned anti-racist author and educator, has a warning for Canada: Don't be like the U.S. and stay away from bad legislation such as mandatory minimum sentencing.
Wise, an American, gave the warning at the beginning of his Thursday night talk at TCU Place. He told the large crowd at the free event that it's easy for Canadians to laugh at the often farcical politics and culture of America, but some of that is creeping north.
"You have apparently decided to mimic the some of the worst of what my nation does," he said, using the Conservative government's omnibus crime bill and its new mandatory minimum sentencing as an example. Read more »
By: Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post
The Conservative government’s omnibus crime bill passed the Commons on Monday night. No matter the problem, the solution this unimaginative legislation provides is the same: longer sentences. Read more »
BY TOBI COHEN, POSTMEDIA NEWS
OTTAWA — The Conservatives have used their majority to pass the so-called omnibus crime bill within the first 100 sitting days of Parliament as promised, despite continued opposition from Canada's largest provinces which vowed Monday not to sit back idly as the measures come into force.
The deeply polarizing Safe Streets and Communities Act, which passed by a vote of 154 to 129, effectively will become law in a matter of hours, if not days, when the bill receives royal assent. The Tories will mark their 100 day milestone on Friday. Read more »
By Meagan Fitzpatrick, CBC News
The expected passage of the government's omnibus crime bill has been pushed back to Monday.
Debate on the bill is expected to continue in the House of Commons Friday, with a vote now slated for next week.
On Wednesday, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and associate defence minister Julian Fantino, a former police chief, held an event to tout Bill C-10 in anticipation of a final vote on the controversial proposals in the House of Commons.
They were joined by representatives from victims' groups at a community centre in Woodbridge, Ont., where Nicholson said the bill meets the expectations of Canadians and is responding to what is happening on Canada's streets. Read more »
By Meagan Fitzpatrick, CBC News
The government's omnibus crime bill is back in the House of Commons Tuesday after it was amended last week in the Senate.
Bill C-10 — the Safe Streets and Communities Act — is close to becoming law once MPs debate it Tuesday and possibly Wednesday for the final time.
The Senate's legal and constitutional affairs committee, as expected, amended the part of the bill that allows Canadians to sue perpetrators of terrorism, and their supporters, in Canadian courts. Read more »
Editorial: THE CHRONICLE HERALD
MUCH as during the long-form census debate, the federal Conservatives have ignored reasoned outside calls for reflection and rammed through changes — in this case, their omnibus crime bill — with arguments long on ideological rhetoric but short on research.
After the Senate’s sped-up passage of Bill C-10 last week, the House of Commons needs only approve six Conservative amendments — a formality, with the Tories’ majority — and the legislation will likely soon become law.
Critics have warned the Safe Streets and Communities Act, which wraps together nine smaller bills previously put forward by the Conservatives while a minority government but never passed, will inevitably spawn Charter legal challenges. Read more »
By Sheena Goodyear, QMI Agency
Cops and judges in the U.S. are asking Canadian lawmakers to learn from America's mistakes and scrap harsher pot penalties in a controversial new crime bill.
The Conservatives have championed Bill C-10, dubbed the "Safe Streets and Communities Act," as a way of ensuring the punishment fits the crime, and they have the support of numerous public opinion polls that show Canadians want tougher sentences for criminals.
But mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana possession in the bill will help, not hinder, organized crime and cross-border trafficking, say the former cops, narcotics investigators, judges and other justice professionals who make up the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) group. Read more »
By: Chris Hayes, Cape Breton Post
Dan MacRury, who was scheduled to speak to the Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs today on behalf of the Canadian Bar Association, says the federal government’s Safe Streets and Communities Act takes Canada’s justice system in the wrong direction by focusing on mandatory minimum sentences, while taking away sentencing options for judges.
“We have people who come before the courts who are suffering from mental illness,” he said in an interview Tuesday.
MacRury said the crime bill will mean more people with mental illnesses end up behind bars. Read more »
BY JANET BAGNALL, THE GAZETTE
During the last federal election campaign, the Conservative Party promised once more it would get tough on crime, even though Canada’s crime rate is at a historic low. It promised again it would crack down on young offenders – naming them publicly, imposing longer sentences and sending more of them to adult prison – even though youth crime, too, is down.
“Twice before these crime bills died on the order paper when an election was called,” said Judith Laurier, communications officer with the Quebec Association of Youth Centres. “We thought, ‘Another narrow escape.’ ” Read more »
By: Dan Lett, Winnipeg Free Press
Perhaps it's time for the get-tough-on-crime advocates to put their money where their mouths are.
The Conservative government's much-anticipated omnibus crime bill -- a conglomeration of tweaks to the justice system that, at its core, includes more and longer sentences -- is currently before the Senate and, thanks to the Tory majority, it is destined to become law sometime this year.
The provinces are freaked out about the cost of enforcing the new and longer sentences; Ontario alone has estimated the cost of enforcement and incarceration at $1 billion per year, and Quebec expects to spend more than $500 million to build more jails. With provincial treasuries reeling from the recession, this is horrible timing. Read more »