Dear Pierre – thank you for your response – please see my responses in italics below:
Thank you for sharing your views on Bill C-10.
I would like to emphasize that the cost of crime on society far exceeds the cost of fighting crime. Here is a link to an earlier report which references the cost of crime in some detail: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/rs/rep-rap/2011/rr10_5/rr10_5.pdf
Thank you for this link. I think we would all agree that this is the case – the real question is related to what, specifically, actually combats crime rates.
And for your information, here is a link to a Statscan report on crime statistics: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2011001/article/11523/hl-fs-eng.htm
Note the following bullets:
•In contrast to most types of crime, increases were reported in the rates of child pornography offences (+36%), firearm offences (+11%), criminal harassment (+5%), and sexual assault (+5%).
•Drug offences also increased in 2010 (+10%), driven primarily by a higher number of cannabis offences. The overall increase continues the upward trend that began in the early 1990s.
Thank you for identifying additional highlights from the Statistics Canada report we cited in our original letter. As you know, in contrast to the bullets you have identified, the overarching theme of the report was that crime rates and the crime severity index are continuing their downward trend – specifically: that the 2010 crime rate is at its lowest level since the early 1970s, and the CSI is at its lowest point since it first became available in 1998. The Violent Crime Severity Index is down 6% in 2010 – the fourth consecutive annual decline. Interestingly, particularly given the context of the crime bill legislation in relation to youth, the number of youths accused of a broad range of crimes was down in 2010. The homicide rate fell 10%, and is at its lowest rate since the mid 1960s.
You may also be interested to know that a story on CBC’s The National criticizing Bill C-10 praised Drug Treatment Courts as an effective measure to prevent crime. The reporter failed to mention that there are currently six Drug Treatment Courts acrossCanada, and that Bill C-10 provides for their expanded use.
Yes, this is an excellent initiative that is smart to support. Our original letter related to the idea that more innovative approaches (such as this) are needed to truly prevent crime from happening and ensure people are given the skills they need.
Here are the elements of the plan:
· impose new and higher mandatory minimum penalties for sexual offences against children and create two new offences that are aimed at conduct that could facilitate these heinous crimes;
· target organized crime by imposing tougher penalties for the production and possession of illicit drugs for the purpose of trafficking;
· protect the public by ensuring that violent and repeat young offenders are held accountable by the youth criminal justice system;
· eliminate conditional sentences, often referred to as house arrest, for serious and violent offences;
· enshrine in law a victim’s participation in parole hearings;
· extend the ineligibility periods for applications for a record suspension (currently called a “pardon”) from three to five years for summary conviction offences and from five to 10 years for indictable offences;
· add additional criteria that the Minister of Public Safety could consider when deciding whether or not to allow the transfer of a Canadian offender back toCanadato serve their sentence;
· allow victims of terrorism to sue perpetrators and supporters of terrorism, including listed foreign states, for loss or damage that occurred as a result of an act of terrorism committed anywhere in the world; and,
· authorize immigration officers to refuse work permits to vulnerable foreign nationals when it is determined that they are at risk of humiliating and degrading treatment, including sexual exploitation.
The predominant theme of this plan focuses on what we should do with people once they have offended – the reality is that it would be far more cost-effective and safer for communities if we made targeted investments in initiatives that are proven to prevent people from committing crimes in the first place and, in cases where people have committed crimes, to ensure the right efforts are made to promote the rehabilitation of the person, and ensure communities are safer. This is what concerns us as taxpayers – are we investing taxpayer dollars wisely?
Our Conservative government will continue working to deliver safer streets and better justice for law-abiding families and the victims of crime.
As outlined in our original letter, there were four key questions:
1. In the context of other issues which are clearly becoming more prevalent, or where we are making few if any positive gains, such as homelessness or child poverty, why has the issue of “crime reform” taken centre stage as a funding priority?
2. Can you identify how we are investing substantively in the areas which are actually documented to decrease the crime rate?
3. Are you able to identify the estimated and real costs of the investments required in implementing this crime reform package?
4. Are you able to provide an analysis of the expected return on investment?
Please let us know your responses to the above.
KD and NP