Harper's Omnibus Crime Bill causes local protest
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Nov 24, 2011  |  Vote 0    0

Harper's Omnibus Crime Bill causes local protest

Our London

Handful of London residents call on city’s two Conservative MPs to block Omnibus Crime Bill By Mallory Clarkson/London Community New Six people called on Susan Truppe’s, Conservative London North-Centre MP, office Thursday (Nov. 24) asking for support to stop the Omnibus Crime Bill (C-10). This was done through Leadnow, an activist group that aims to keep politicians accountable, in unison with events at more than 120 other MP constituency offices across Canada. While the numbers in London were small, one volunteer with Leadnow said the message remained strong. “There’s enough people in Canada who believe it and there’s enough people in Canada that are still willing to fight the Conservative (federal) government in everything they do,” Rod Morley said. “There are a lot of Canadians who are not happy with the Conservatives.” The proposed crime legislation would see mandatory jail time for drug offences and the sexual exploitation of children; along with stiffer sentencing for repeat young offenders, the elimination of pardons for violent and repeat offenders. It could also mean an additional $78.6 million over five years spent on federal prisons. To see the proposed bill, click here. In response to this, some citizens, like Morley, said getting tough on crime like this might not be the best thing for Canadians. He added Canadians should learn from, and avoid, the mistakes of their neighbours to the south, where he said tougher sentencing hasn’t reduced crime. “They (the Conservative federal government) plan to start to have stiffer sentences, as opposed to looking at lighter sentences with rehabilitation to bring people back into society as opposed to throwing them in (prison) and keeping them there for a long time,” he said. “I think that’s what Texas and some of the other states have found is they had people in with minor criminal charges and they got in with and forces in with more hardened criminals and turned them into hardened criminals.” Morley, along with another supporter, also stopped by the office of London’s other Conservative MP. He noted the stop to London West’s Ed Holder was important because he’s the city’s “senior MP.” In addition to presenting Truppe’s and Holder’s offices with copies of the Canadian Bar Association’s critique on the bill, Morley will also be presenting them with petitions that have more than 24,000 signatures, asking for support to block the bill. While she’s not part of Leadnow, Shannon Calvert stopped by Truppe’s office on her lunch break to show support. She said there’s a lot of research out there that says this kind of approach to law enforcement is wrong. “I’m very opposed to the crime bill as it’s written,” Calvert said, adding she also has an issue with the amount of federal dollars that could be used to implement this. “I just feel like it’s time to step up again because these things are being pushed through.” She noted in order to change crime rates, governments have to work with people. “It’s that research, experience all over is saying, no, this isn’t the approach and yet as we’ve seen before with our conservative government, they will just push it through because it’s a philosophical agenda,” Calvert said. Kenneth Chisholm agreed with her, adding he thinks the federal government isn’t interested in crime, but rather in political agendas. He added prisons aren’t where additional money should be spent.

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