(‘Looks good, but do we really need a sink _and_ a toilet? Get rid of one or the other – and presto – room for one more guest!’)
Canadians are renowned for resilience in the face of adversity, able to bear freezing winters for the brief but sensational summers. It is this willingness to take the good with the bad which leads Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party to believe Canadians will stomach their new Omnibus Crime bill.
Bill C-10 – the government’s new crime legislation – lumps together nine previously introduced bills which never passed, now repackaged into one all-encompassing document.
However, you can forget taking any time to discuss the matter – the Tories have decided to limit discussion to just two days! This means the opposition parties will have their work cut out for them, trying to call attention to all the bill’s glaring problems in such a short period of time.
First, there’s the plan to crack down on Marijuana cultivation, imposing new mandatory minimum sentences for minor offenses. Come on, Harper, in a nation that boasts the highest pot usage in the developed world, you’re alienating a good chunk of the population (not that most pot-smokers are likely to vote Conservative).
But forget the votes. Instead, consider how the whole drug prohibition strategy has proven itself to be a complete and utter failure. Why throw more money into that hole? Just look at the thousands who’ve been slain along the Mexican borders – they’d still be alive if drugs were legalized and the criminal gangs were no longer fueled by the billions they earn off the black market.
If the Conservatives really cared about protecting society, they’d take a rational, proven approach, like decriminalizing all drugs. Portugal did it, and it’s been a resounding success 10 years on. Screw the DEAs and drug gangs… let them find new jobs!
But sound policies are not what Harper stands for. Instead, the priority seems to be to appease trade partners – like the US, who’ve been steadfast in their funding of the failed war on drugs for decades.
And where will all these newly criminalized Canucks be housed? Why, in Canada’s new super-prisons, of course. Taking another page out of America’s playbook, privatized prisons can be huge money makers offering juicy kick-backs, provided the population is willing to tolerate having minor offenders locked up with hardened criminals.
Last but not least, this new crime bill will let police gather information from ISP’s without the need for a subpoena. Right, because we’re all sure to be safer when law enforcement has access into the private lives of every single Canadian.
Meanwhile, the world’s economies are teetering on the edge, and crime across the nation is at a 20 year low, but Harper and his party seem intent on dropping a few billion bills to see a larger percentage of Canadians get imprisoned.
Sadly, the financial costs of bill C-10 may very pale next to the long term societal damage to be incurred should Canada continue to follow in America’s footprints – a path the Conservatives seem hellbent on sending us down.