As most of my close friends and/or anyone within a 10 metre radius of me knows, I’ve been dreading the pass of a certain bill circulating Parliament Hill. Its inception started long before September of 2011 when it reappeared on the Hill. What is known as the Omnibus Crime bill passed through the Upper House on March 1st. I kept a vigilant eye on Senator Elaine McCoy’s blog as she live-blogged the first round of debates held within the bowels (I’m picturing dungeons here, when it comes to this night) of our government’s residence.
The blog ended badly that night: The Liberals and the NDPs lost to the Conservatives, yet again. The occupied seats (not all NDP Senators were present during this session, a loss I’m sure we couldn’t afford to hold) were made up of people who don’t find useful examples helpful and would possibly buy into any used car sales pitch, the bill passed 48-37. It was a severe disappointment but not a surprise to find that a heebee-jeebee feeling bill made its way to the House of Commons as the clock stroke midnight in Ottawa.
Then on March 13th this Omnibus Crime bill received Royal Assent, which means for us Canadians, it is now Law.
So what was this proposed bill?
…and what will be the effects of it?
The effects are to be decided; and no one can really determine their outcome. We can only look for close examples (Texas) to predict what could happen here (billions of dollars wasted in building new prisons to lock people up?).
On September 20th, 2011, Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson brought the bill into consideration under the name: the Safe Streets and Communities Act, this act had combined several bills that had previously failed to pass. The bill which combines a myriad of propositions ranging from tougher first time offences [Community Opposition rising on this change, fyi, feel free to join the movement] to ending house arrests. It also stated claims to restructure and improve our judicial system…which could mean a MILLION things.
Some of the contents of the bill propose amendments that could result (if WE let it) in many more Canadians being sent to prison. It introduces new mandatory minimum sentences with an emphasis on incarceration. The bill (now law) promises to inflate our jails with a wide variety of first time offenders and youngsters. Do we really want our prisons to be congregation spots for shoplifters, marijuana smokers, drunk drivers, cocaine pushers, rapist, asshole bar fighters, breaking and entering silly children, prostitutes and Johns? All because conservative thought is convinced that rehabilitation programs don’t work and progressive laws are for hippies? Wut.
The bill (now law) also had incentives about protecting victims of terrorism. But any progress towards amending the State Immunity Act is tied towards potentially taking away civil liberties for those that need it most: the impoverished of Canada. Does anybody else feel like their riding a see-saw with a kid eating an ice-cream and who refuses to let you down? I’m not saying victims don’t have a right to sue for losses or damages in regards to terrorist offences but did it have to be introduced in a hodgepodge bill that affected the criminal code, the controlled Drug and Substance Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, etc, etc, etc!
And it was so rushed. When the bill was given to the Senate to pass the bill; they had a maximum of 6 hours to discuss it. I understand that most people in the upper house and house of commons are like, the smartest of the smart…but the criminal code is a tough cookie and the bill was stated to be quite comprehensive and plus, ITS THE CRIMINAL CODE WHO TAKES THAT SHIT LIGHTLY? Talk about being put under the gun.
I don’t understand a government who thinks that criminalizing petty crimes is the way a society should function. And I really don’t understand why this law-making process had to be so embarrassing. Like really Tory, grow-up.
Forever with love,