Pubdate: Tue, 31 Jan 2006
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Christine Bonta


Re: Harper has his justice platform locked up, Jan. 25.

I commend Dan Gardner for continuing to remind us of the consequences 
that might occur if the newly elected minority Conservative 
government attempts to reform the current criminal justice policy by 
increasing punishments.

Prior to the election, Mr. Gardner wrote several highly 
evidence-based articles pertaining to crime. On numerous occasions he 
reiterated that criminology research shows that making punishment 
tougher does not deter criminals from committing crimes. As Mr. 
Gardner points out, the U.S., which has adopted "get tough" policies, 
has over 25 years increased its "spending on cops, courts and prisons 
by 452 per cent." At the same time, spending for higher education was 
reduced by 21 per cent.

During the election campaign, Mr. Harper neither explained nor 
outlined to the public the cost required to implement his crime 
policies. In an earlier article, Mr. Gardner outlined the enormous 
spending required -- it is in the billions of dollars. This money has 
to come from somewhere. Do we want Canada to become like the U.S and 
increase needless spending on crime, thereby taking away much-needed 
resources from things like healthcare services? Every Canadian would 
suffer as health care affects every individual in this country.

Should these "get tough" policies be implemented, I fear that our 
country and our health-care system will be in worse shape than they 
are today. This is something Canada and Canadians cannot afford! 
Politicians need to implement policies that will benefit us today and 
in the future, and not policies that merely get votes.

Christine Bonta,

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