Fighting Crime in Canada

The winter of 2011 was a busy time for the Conservative government as they moved towards an inevitable meeting with Governor-General David Johnston to affect the dissolution of Parliament and return to the people to ascertain the will and the wishes of Canadians.

It is not entirely ironic that contempt charges leveled by the opposition parties against the government focused on the paucity of financial details in respect of Stephen Harper’s numerous law and order reforms, becoming a lightening rod for yet another federal election. Not surprisingly, crime and justice issues tend to polarize the electorate.

The Department of Justice produced no fewer than five bills that became law mere weeks before the election was called. Three new pieces of criminal law are particularly noteworthy.

In February Bill S-6 “Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act” repealed the “faint-hope clause” which gave offenders convicted of murder an opportunity to apply to be released from prison after serving 15 years, rather than completing their lengthier sentences.

The faint-hope process was never a slam-dunk as applicants were first vetted by the Chief Justice in the Province where they committed their offence, who determined whether a jury should be convened to hear the case and make a decision. That “perk” is now vanquished.

On March 3, 2011 Canada’s Attorney-General Rob Nicholson announced the passage of Bill C-2 called “An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service”.

This new law compels suppliers of Internet services to the public, including electronic email, hosting services and social networking sites to become law enforcement’s cyber eyes or suffer fines ranging from $1000.00 to $100,000.00.

Who can quarrel with a law that protects young children from abuse? It’s a motherhood and apple pie issue. Or is it an unnecessary interference with privacy rights?

A few days later “The Protecting Sentences by Ending Sentencing Discounts for Multiple Murderer’s Act” became law. This new law provides our judges with a direction to impose sentences that reflect the severity of a crime. Where there are multiple victims, the Court is encouraged to impose consecutive sentences for each victim. Prior to this legislation, a serial murderer would receive one life sentence instead of a life sentence for each of his victims. For example, Clifford Olsen is serving one life sentence for raping and murdering 11 children in British Columbia in the early 80’s. Robert (Willy) Pickton likewise.

This legislation still leaves discretion to the trial judge to impose concurrent sentences, (sentences that run at the same time) however, either way the Court must issue written or oral reasons explaining their decisions.

Many Canadians will be cheering these new laws, as I am. Victims of crime are victimized twice; once by their offenders and the second time by our laws and judges. These recent reforms may begin to instill a sense of confidence in Canadians who have lost faith in the criminal justice system.

Yet others will complain that more criminal laws will only produce more criminals with longer, more expensive prison sentences, imposing greater financial hardship on hard-working Canadians.

The Liberals held their noses and supported the elimination of the faint-hope law and the move towards consecutive sentences for serial or mass murderers. If these new laws are as repugnant as the Liberals allege, let’s see if they repeal them if they get the opportunity. Methinks the Liberals know that decreasing crime statistics mean nothing to the general public and that “tough on crime” is the flavour of the year.

I say if you commit the crime, you do the time, 2011 style.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Fighting Crime in Canada

  1. Lawdiva, …, really! I hope your apprehension of law is better than your perception of politics! Rather than your perception of the March Towards Insanity, try looking at this election being precipitated by the Liberal Party of Canada ‘back bench’. Seeing their Leader, Michael Ignatieff, continue to be demeaned by his own words in Conservative attack ads, they drew their cutlasses, and drove Iggy down the plank, to call this fatal election.

    The LPoC will now find this a win/win situation. If Iggy has issued his own career death warrant, so be it. After May 2nd, they can start their third attempt to find a leader, after losing power.

    Really! Don’t be distracted by Iggy’s feckless efforts to manufacture a scandal to frame Stephen Harper. That’s just throwing a bit of your boiling spaghetti on the fridge door, to see if sticks, as the done right will do.

    Like that Innuit lady Minister, lets the opposition babble all they wanted about some program that was known to be anathema to Conservative policy. Then she cancels it, as is any Minister’s natural prerogative to do. The Opposition consortium actually knows how the game is actually played. Their faux outrage went unnoticed by Canadians.

    But! Now the die is cast, and the LPoC will soon enough have another chance to get back to their own brand of corruption. If they can find a leader who doesn’t look mean spirited and small compared to Stephen Harper.

    But for the fact that I can neither comprehend nor forgive child molesters, I would be outraged by the proposition that the government may rifle through Internet files, as if by right.

    I hear noises on the news about the cancellation of the Long Gun Registry being assured if the CPC wins its majority, as now seems probable.

    As LawDiva, you should know better than most of us that the real political reason for the Long Gun Registry is embodied in the FAC, the Fire Arms Acquisition Certificate. All those angry fathers abused by the so-called “Family” Court, indeed whose children have been stolen, might easily get angry enough to take Justice into their own hands. The FAC makes the applicant for a gun swear that they don’t have a “Family” Law case, or provide the names of all the lawyers and Judges hearing the case. It also requires the Applicant to get the signature of the wife, and, more awkwardly, the soon-to-be EX-wife, before an Applicant will be allowed to buy a legal firearm.

    I really have trouble seeing how you can distance yourself from this….

  2. Harper Crime Bills are designed to create and extend the prison industry. Many years ago The justice system was more effective in the sense they got the job done with less. Harper Government takes punishment as a first resort vs. last resort. Its irrational to believe that social problems can be addressed by Harpers first resort principle ( punish them ALL equally). Should we go to war as a last or first principle for international problems? l think not. Because of Harpers Agenda of the Minority and not the Majority – the consequence could be serious over criminalization of our society.

    Average Citizen cannot afford justice. Either in the court or putting people in prison for non violent crimes. People come out of prison more angry, hurt, sad and depressed than when they go in. It would be better if we created civil social adjustment centres where people can reach out and partner with the community.

    Prisons are nothing more than Hate Factories. Harpers Hate Factories. Under the Harper Government its ok to beat a women not once, not twice, three times – and get no time. But if you stole her car – you will go to jail. We need a government to really govern our country on real issues.

    Roman

  3. Yeah, this is more about politics than law. I can’t be anything but Conservative, and Harper speaks my language, so guess who I will vote for? Harper has been polling for two years as far and away the most respected leader of all contenders. Last I heard, CPC was polling neck and neck with the LPoC in Ontario, and that spells doom for the Liberals. Sorry Roman! Get over it.

    But don’t, in your Liberal Party bitterness, write anything you will later regret. Ignatieff was forced to walk the plank by Liberal Party power brokers. Nobody wants an egg-head perfesser for PM. He would have been better off in the back rooms, re-writing 19th Century Liberal political theories to update them for the 21st C. But, no!

    Ego and Iggy walk hand in hand, and not being resident in Canada for the previous 35 years, he didn’t realize the Liberal brand had been dragged through the muck for those same 35 years. He still thinks “Liberal” and “Canada” mean the same thing, but of course they never did, except in the minds of Liberals! And, really! What ‘Canadian’ would force an election during the Stanley Cup playoffs? Mr. Ignatieff does seem a little despondent this morning, seeing in the near future the sad end of his “Bogus Journey”.

    And, speaking of bogus journeys, and the practice of law as noted in this blog, the real enemy of justice in this country is the judges ‘appointed’ to office in Canada. Hah! Who today remembers the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R. v. Sheppard (2002 SCC 26)? In a landmark decision, the SCC ruled that judges MUST PROVIDE REASONS FOR THEIR DECISIONS!

    Yeah, I know, it sounds really radical. Sheppard was (and no doubt still is) a carpenter. He built a house. He separated from his live-in girlfriend for no reasons provided. Furious and embittered, she went to the RCMP to accuse him of theft of two windows. Despite the fact that the pair of missing windows were never found, and certainly NOT in Mr. Sheppard’s house, he was CONVICTED based SOLELY on the fractured testimony of this bitter, and doubtless MALICIOUSLY insane, female.

    Judicial bias and gross incompetence screams from this decision, and so forced the SCC’s hand, to overturn it. Of course, the Newfoundland Crown is culpable in this gross injustice too. You would think the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms did not apply in Newfoundland. You would be excused for thinking that the Principles of Fundamental Justice were some kind of Dark Magic invoked only in extreme circumstances.

    NOT for furthering the victimization of our poor women! Well, dear ladies! Your rabid dog “femmunist” doctrines have elevated you far beyond your competence. You have, in your political intrigues, turned the Courts of (inter alia) Canada into the 21st Century equivalent of the 16th C. “Star Chamber” courts!

    Of course, the gross and savage injustices of the Star Chamber “King’s Court” was a major contributor to the hatred of British Monarchy that cost King Charles I his head. His son, Charles II would be obliged to re-state into law the Habeas Corpus Act, which compelled all judges to justify at law the detention of prisoners, or order their immediate release.

    And, you know, dear Lady Diva, how badly this reflects on the presence of females acting under the Aegis of Law. Hapless puppets of emotional drift.

    It is not a condemnation of ALL Newfoundland judges. The ones who took over a year to come to a ruling on a government employee’s union application to extract “back-pay” from the government of NL for alleged gender payroll inequity rendered an immaculately reasoned and reasonable judgement in that case. It remains the model as one of the only sensible judgements I’ve read from the last 40 years of Canadian jurisprudence.

    Going back a hundred years and more, the annals of law reek with perfectly rationalized and explained decisions, so all could see that Justice not only appears to have been, but HAS BEEN DONE, by the court.

    I notice they have been pulled from access (at least in the Vancouver Law Library @ Vancouver SCBC library). “Old law!”, they whisper, as they remove conclusive evidence of their malfeasance, from the knowledge of students of what is now being called “Law”.

    And yet, from the discarded guidance of the “Maxims of Law”, and I quote, “The Truth will out!”

  4. I can’t say I am too fond of Harper making it harder for ex-cons (who have done their time) to get pardons. Pardons after all have a 96% success rate and common sense should tell one that an ex-con needs a job like anyone else, if you really want them to stay out of trouble.

    That being said, I am pretty cool with forcing internet providers to report kiddy pornographers. I can’t see how any thinking person seriously believe someone victimizing children in this way has a so-called “privacy right.” What about the child’s right to be protected from child molesters?

    Leaving Clifford Olson in prison for the rest of his natural life and not dragging the victim’s families to parole hearings seems pretty humane. The only more humane response I could think of for serial killers is executing them. A serial killer just murdered a non violent inmate in BC’s Mountain Institution a few weeks back. If he was executed for his first six murders, he would not have committed his latest murder.

    Sometimes prison is necessary for non-violent property criminals. I for one have been victimized multiple times by property crime.The utter lack of response from police and the sometimes irrelevant sentences handed out by the courts to property offenders, leave Canadians rightly disgusted with our legal system. If some of Canada’s criminals, keeps stealing and view toothless probation and restitution orders as “business expenses,” then they obviously need to face a bigger deterrent or a physical barrier to prevent them from victimizing innocent working Canadians.

    BTW I am posting this from Singapore. Murderers and drug dealers are executed. Thieves and vandals are caned. Singaporians are quite happy with their law and order society and I must say for the past week I feel safer and enjoy the cleaner streets too. What’s so bad about that?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s