Is Prime Minister Stephen Harper truly a political lemming? It seems so. It seems that every time his government is presented with a possible opportunity to improve its standing in the polls, perhaps even to form a majority government one day, he gathers his party together and leads it over the edge of a cliff.Do they even care? Is Harper tired of pretending to be something he's not? A leader. The prison plan is insane.
Mr. Harper wants to embark on a multibillion-dollar program to build more prisons in Canada. It will cost a bundle of money that, critics say, could be better spent on other programs, particularly at a time when statistics show that crime in Canada is decreasing. Statistics Canada figures indicate that the crime rate plunged by three per cent last year and is now a remarkable 17 per cent lower than it was in 1999.
Canada’s $10 billion campaign to put more people in prison for longer periods of time will not make this country safer and may backfire by creating a larger criminal underclass, corrections critics warn. “I don’t think they’re looking at the evidence,” Anthony Doob, a leading Canadian criminologist, told the Star.
Despite historically low crime rates, Canada is expected to spend $9.5 billion to build new prisons and retrofit old ones — a figure that has Conservative politicians scrambling to justify the cost. Last week, Treasury Board Minister Stockwell Day suggested Canada needs more prisons because of an “increase in the amount of unreported crime.” The federal government later cited a six-year-old Statistics Canada survey it said supported his comments.
“The real problem is crime policy is usually reduced to a slogan,” Doob said. “You’re simply increasing the cost to Canadians with no benefit. In the long run, you’re ending up with other kinds of secondary costs. These people are going to get out of prison, they’re going to be less likely to find jobs and they’re going to be burdens on society in a variety of ways, including crime.”
We have an aging population. Most of us are too tired to commit crimes.
And Iain Hunter at the Times Colonist just wants Harper to talk to us. Good luck with that.
Did I mention that we need an election NOW!
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not known for being forthcoming. But it would help if, for once, the prime minister made it clear to Canadians what threat, or other objective, our military expenditures are to meet. I'd like to hear him address Canada's role in a world where 7,000 nuclear weapons are deployed. I'd like to hear him say how far he thinks the UN's responsibility to protect doctrine, invented by Canadians, takes us beyond talking or scolding.
I'd like him to say Canadian troops won't be dispatched to change regimes, impose democracy, burn poppies or tear off burqas. I'd like him to say Lebanon isn't tomorrow's Afghanistan. I'd like him to show some respect. Stephen Harper: Uncurl that lip!