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Tories Re-introduce Tough on Crime Bills as Omnibus Bill C-2
UPDATE: Feb 27, 2008.
Bill C-2 (the tough on crime omnibus bill) passes in the Senate. More on this news.
UPDATE: Feb 23, 2008.
The Conservatives have threatened to call an election if the Senate fails to pass the tough on crime omnibus bill by March 1. More on this news.
Bill C-2 is still before the Senate's Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. Find out the current Status of the Bill.
UPDATE: Jan 22, 2008.
Parliament re-commences on Jan 29, 2008. Bill C-2 passed 3rd reading in the House of Commons on Nov 28, 2007. It has passed second reading in the Senate and is currently before the Senate's Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. Find out the current Status of the Bill.
UPDATE: Oct 30, 2007
The Tories have re-introduced the tough on crime bills as an Omnibus bill, Bill C-2.
It passed first reading Oct 18th and second reading Oct 26th.
The Tories are hoping to "expedite this bill through the legislative process in both houses of Parliament" and are saying that this bill will be considered a matter of confidence (i.e. if the opposition vote it down, then an election will be called). The bill includes 5 repackaged criminal justice bills, including what used to be Bill C-10 (Mandatory Minimums for Gun Crimes), C-27 (Dangerous Offender/Reverse Onus/Three Strikes) and C-35 (Automatically refuse bail to those charged with gun crimes). See resources & positions opposing these measures below.
More Resources on Bill C-2:
Full Text & Status of the Bill
Toronto Star Article on Bill C-2
CBC Article on Bill C-2
Audio Interview with Kim Pate, Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies and Christine Lamonte, Sisters in Action and Solidarity on Bill C-2, the tough on crime omnibus bill, the prison review panel and the Correctional Investigator's annual report.
More on Bill C-2 from the government's 'tough on crime' website: www.tacklingcrime.ca
Take Action: Call to Oppose the Bill from the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
UPDATE: Sept 25, 2007
The last session of Parliament was prorogued. The next session of the 39th Parliament is scheduled to start with the Speech from the Throne on Tuesday, October 16, 2007. All the bills (including all the tough on crime bills that have yet to receive royal assent) that were before Parliament have officially died, though, bills can be revived at the place were they left off before the prorogation from a passed motion in Parliament. We are encouraging people to contact their MP's to tell them not to revive any of the tough on crime bills. (contact info link below)
Community Groups Organize Against US-Style Justice Laws
In order to appear "tough-on-crime", the Conservative Government has introduced a number of regressive Government Bills to amend the Criminal Code. The proposed legislation signals a major shift in our justice system; moving away from the principles of rehabilitation, restorative justice and alternatives to incarceration to a U.S. "lock-em up and throw away the key" style of sentencing. This overhaul of the Criminal Code will mean a dramatic increase in the number of people incarcerated in our prisons, jails and detention centres. Far from providing safety, these punitive measures will further devastate communities of colour, First Nations communities, immigrants and refugees, often racially profiled by law enforcement and already vastly over-represented in the courts and prison system.
The Canadian Criminal Justice Association, the Canadian Bar Association, the John Howard Society of Canada and the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies in conjunction with the Native Women's Association of Canada all presented Briefs to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness recommending that Bill C-9, Bill C-10 and Bill C-27 be rejected outright, or not enacted into law in their present form (see below for links to these briefs). Despite this testimony and analysis of experts working in the field of criminal justice these bills are moving quickly through the House of Commons and the Senate.Bill C-9 eliminates conditional sentencing for certain offences. With assistance from the NDP Bill C9 passed into law on May 31 2007.
With NDP support, the Tories are resurrecting Bill C-10, which creates several new mandatory minimum sentences for firearm offences and lengthens pre-existing minimums. Mandatory minimum prison terms remove judicial discretion and violate the principle that a sentence must be proportionate to the offence. Bill C-10 has passed in the House of Commons and is currently before the Senate.
The designation of dangerous offender carries an indeterminate prison sentence. Bill C-27 proposes to broaden the application of the dangerous offender legislation, by reducing the requirements for a finding of dangerousness. It places the onus on the defendant to prove, on a balance of probabilities that he/she is not dangerous and does not warrant an indeterminate sentence. This bill removes judicial discretion to decline a dangerous offender designation.
Time is short, we are asking for your support:
Joint Effort and Sisters In Action and Solidarity, two Vancouver-based prisoner support groups, are asking allies to join together to stop these bills from passing. We have drafted a survey that is going to Members of Parliament saying that the following organizations want to know how they voted on each of the above bills and why.
Resources on These Bills:
The Justice Laws Coalition is a Toronto-based group also fighting these bills. More on their organizing and their position on these bills. www.pjac.org.
Resources on Bill C-9, Conditional Sentencing:
Summary of Bill C-9 (pdf)
Canadian Criminal Justice Association Position on Bill C-9
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network on Bill C-9
Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies Position on C-9 (pdf)
Canadian Bar Association (CBA) on Bill C-9 (pdf)
John Howard Society of Canada on Bill C-9 (pdf)
Stop Prisoner Rape (US Organization) on Bill C-9 & C-10 (pdf)
Resources on Bill C-10, Mandatory Minimums for Gun Crimes:
Summary of Bill C-10 (pdf)
Canadian Criminal Justice Association Position on Bill C-10
John Howard Society of Canada on Bill C-10
Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies on C-10 (pdf)
Canadian Bar Association (CBA) on Bill C-10 (pdf)
Stop Prisoner Rape (US Organization) on Bill C-9 & C-10 (pdf)
Other Resources on Bill C-27, Three Strike and You're a Dangerous Offender/Reverse Onus:
Summary of Bill C-27 (pdf)
Canadian Criminal Justice Association Position on Bill C-27
CBC Backgrounder on C-27
Mcgill Daily Editorial: Three strikes; justice is out
More on Tory Law and Order Agenda on prisonjustice.ca:
Concerns Over New Law Restricting Conditional Sentencing
Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Bill Heading to Senate
Tory Bill Increasing Mandatory Minimums for Gun Laws Facing Critics In Justice Committee
Three Strikes Bill
Mandatory Minimums and Gun Crimes, Banning Conditional Sentencing
Justice Committee Guts Tory Bill Banning Conditional Sentencing
Audio Interview with Jason Gratl (BCCLA) on Bill C-27 (produced by Stark Raven)
Audio Interview with Joanne Ceste (Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network) on Mandatory Minimum Sentences and Drug Laws in Canada. (produced by Stark Raven)