Why The Conservatives Are Wrong On Crime


By Jasbir Sandhu

On September 20th the Conservative Government introduced an omnibus crime bill in the House of Commons.  The bill promises to make sweeping changes to our criminal justice system that virtually all experts warn will have a devastating impact.

As MP for Surrey North, a community where crime, gang violence and drug related crimes are very real problems, and as the Opposition Critic for Public Safety, I am very concerned about the Conservative approach to crime.  The Conservative crime agenda is largely based on a failed American approach to crime that has proven to be incredibly expensive and ineffective.

Across the United States, governments have tried the same approach the Conservative Government is proposing.  They have found it to waste tax dollars, and to do nothing to prevent crime.  Canada should be learning from the mistakes of our neighbours to the south, not repeating them.  While the Conservatives talk tough on time, they prove again and again that they are not smart on crime.

In June the Auditor General released a report revealing that the RCMP is crippled by underfunding and doesn’t have enough resources to fight organized crime. Now the government is threatening to pull the RMCP out of BC altogether by 2013 if the province doesn’t agree to a deal that is seriously lacking details regarding costs and accountability. Here in BC our courts systems are already so backed-up that drug charges are being thrown out due to trials that are delayed by years. The Conservatives refuse to fund the RCMP properly and are now proposing changes that will cause the courts to become even more delayed.

New Democrats believe that the primary goal of any changes to our criminal justice system should be public safety, it should be safer streets and communities, and we should accomplish this by finding a cost effective programs and policies that really make a difference, like putting more police on the streets and stopping gangs from recruiting our youth.

Canadians deserve to know the real costs of this legislation and they deserve safe communities. What we know now about the Conservative crime bill is that it will cost untold billions, and it won’t make our streets safer.  That is not tough on crime, it is not smart on crime, it is wrong on crime.

Jasbir Sandhu is the New Democrat MP for Surrey North and Opposition Critic for Public Safety.