The Shotgun Blog
Monday, June 08, 2009
Harper Conservatives pass mandatory minimum sentencing law
The House of Commons today passed Bill C-15, instituting mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana and other drug offences, a move that has marijuana policy reformers on the defensive.
“The Conservative government's relentless pursuit of ideology, in defiance of the nearly unanimous condemnation of this bill, has led us to implement reprehensible public policy” said Kirk Tousaw, Executive Director of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation. “Appearing 'tough on crime' may help Stephen Harper appeal to his base, but C-15 endangers the lives of Canadians, [and is] an utter abrogation of his responsibility as Prime Minister.”
Mandatory minimum sentences have a long history in the United States, which implemented the sentencing regimes on drug offences more than 25 years ago. According to critics, the result of these sentences was no decrease in drug use or availability, more than 1% of the adult population incarcerated, and some of the highest crime rates in the world. After widespread condemnation by criminal justice experts, many US states are repealing their mandatory minimums legislations.
“The Conservatives were asked to provide one shred of evidence [in defence of the policy] and they could not” said Jacob Hunter, Policy Directory of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation. “To enact so failed and expensive a policy as mandatory minimums is at any time irresponsible; during a recession, it's unthinkable. Yet here we are.”
Posted by Matthew Johnston
Posted by westernstandard on June 8, 2009 | Permalink
A dark day for the Liberal Party of Canada.
Sometimes the Liberals need to moderate their moderation. This was one of them. They are going to lose votes for this, mark my words.
Posted by: Jason | 2009-06-08 6:39:42 PM
Just waiting to hear the shrill screams of the righties decrying all of the violence that the laws that they support have created.
Posted by: Charles | 2009-06-08 6:50:58 PM
your the stupid people that keep electing these ignorant law makers...you get what you deserve
Posted by: michael | 2009-06-08 7:09:14 PM
i know it's an old canard:
the war on drugs was lost long ago, and we're sentencing otherwise law abiding citizens to fates they should not have to worry about.
it's so stupid, it's like confiscating guns from everyone because... well you know the rest.
wanna take a chunk out of organised and petty crime? legalise drugs, kill the welfare programs that support addicts, and incarcerate those who commit actual (read:real) crimes to feed their needs.
Posted by: shel | 2009-06-08 7:29:44 PM
No surprises here. Just another bunch of politicians invoking the passage of useless laws to further their control over the populace...
Stop voting for these morons.
Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-08 7:50:02 PM
Chances are pretty good that Marc Emery will be behind bars by the time that the The Institute for Liberal Studies "freedom seminar" occurs. Have you lined up another speaker or are you planning on having Emery give his speech via teleconference from jail?
Posted by: The Stig | 2009-06-08 8:49:36 PM
So when are we going to see mandatory minimum sentencing for rape and murder?
Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2009-06-08 9:12:46 PM
"So when are we going to see mandatory minimum sentencing for rape and murder?".
...and may i add: looong minimum sentences.
Posted by: shel | 2009-06-08 9:20:14 PM
If they want to get tough on crime there are plenty of things that should be higher up on the list than the druggies. I've been listening to the Roy Green show the past couple of weekends and the free ride that convicted murder's get in Canada is unbelievable.
Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2009-06-08 9:48:10 PM
"After widespread condemnation by criminal justice experts, many US states are repealing their mandatory minimums legislations."
Criminal justice experts who nevertheless can't come up with something better, Matthew. The fact remains that the U.S. crime rate had dropped sharply since they started locking up more crooks.
As for the merits, or lack thereof, of Bill C-15, perhaps you would have done better to bring more meat to the table than the opinion of one pro-pot think-tank.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-08 11:50:13 PM
"Just waiting to hear the shrill screams of the righties decrying all of the violence that the laws that they support have created."
And on that day, Charles, Satan will be skating to work.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-08 11:50:28 PM
"So when are we going to see mandatory minimum sentencing for rape and murder?"
Several decades ago. The mandatory minimum for first-degree murder is life with no parole for 25 years; for second-degree murder, life with no parole for 15 years; for rape, five years with certain aggravating factors.
Why don't they dispense with the arithmetic and all future bother, and just bring back the noose?
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-08 11:56:09 PM
"i know it's an old canard: the war on drugs was lost long ago, and we're sentencing otherwise law abiding citizens to fates they should not have to worry about."
Like we "lost" Iraq, eh, Shel? I don't recall our law enforcement agencies surrendering to the drug lords, do you? You're right; it is a canard. Because these people choose to break the law, and have absolutely no reason for doing so. It's a choice they made for themselves. Or did you think that, if enough people commit a given crime, it should lose its criminal status regardless of what it is?
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-08 11:58:40 PM
People can be addicted to thousands of different substances. Should government be able to tell you to put down that cheeseburger? What I put into my body is my business. What you put into your body is your business. Moderation is the key. Everything and anything has the potential to be abused, and not all drug users are drug abusers.
It’s unfortunate when people get addicted to drugs. What will help them break their addictions? Treatment and rehabilitation. Not jail. Jail will just bring them more harm as they will be surrounded be violent people. This will depress a person further and does not address their health needs.
Upon release they can’t get a student loan to further their education, have a hard time getting a job and housing because of their criminal record and and they are more susceptible to falling right back into the habits and behaviors that put them in jail in the first place. It’s a formula to re-offend.
Education, Prevention, Harm Reduction, Youth Programs, Mentoring, these are things that need to be pillars of society if we are ever going to survive. Instead, billions are spent on enforcement - after damage has already been done. Does that make sense?
Laws are enacted to punish people for causing harm to others. I argue that me eating a Cannabis Cookie for pain or relaxation has no consequence to anyone but myself. It should not be the right of the government and police to restrict what individuals choose to put into their personal bodies.
Now, if someone causes physical harm or property damage while under the influence of a substance, then yes, they should be criminally charged. Someone can drink alcohol, and that’s fine. But if they drink and drive, it is not.
The fact is that millions of people use Cannabis responsibly and carry on successful, healthy, happy, productive lives. The prohibition of the plant and fear of incarceration, losing our kids and/or jobs leads us to keep our use a secret. If coffee was made illegal you’d immediately have millions of people proclaiming that “they never touch the stuff”. Meanwhile, every morning they'd be throwing a towel at the bottom of their doors and firing up their percolators. By the way, caffeine is more addictive than Cannabis.
Humans have been using Cannabis/Hemp for thousands of years. Enacting prohibition isn’t going to make the plant magically disappear. You can’t outlaw Mother Nature. Government should be regulating what will be a booming industry and take away the money source for cartels and gangs and reducing violence... how hard is that to comprehend?
And I am sick of hearing "But we're doing it for the children!" Please, any teenager can make a call on their cell & have Cannabis in their hands within minutes. If anything, Prohibition leads to children getting it easier. Liquor Stores ask for ID - Drug Dealers do not. If Gov truly wanted to protect children they would regulate it and make it harder for them to obtain, just like they do with Alcohol.
Some excerpts from
OUR POSITION FOR A CANADIAN PUBLIC POLICY
REPORT OF THE SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON ILLEGAL DRUGS
Chairman: Pierre Claude Nolin
Deputy Chairman: Colin Kenny
Ø Cannabis itself is not a cause of other drug use. In this sense, we reject the gateway theory.
The relationship between cannabis use and delinquency and crime, based on research evidence, we concluded that:
Ø Cannabis itself is not a cause of delinquency and crime; and
Ø Cannabis is not a cause of violence.
Ø Early drug legislation was largely based on a moral panic, racist sentiment and a notorious absence of debate;
Knowing this information it's quite astonishing the Conservatives and Liberals are passing Mandatory Minimum Sentencing. Motive? They can trumpet to the sheeple: "We're tough on crime!"
When people hear the word "crime", they are most probably thinking of murder, rape, armed robbery.... not someone sparking a joint in the privacy of their own homes.
My argument to the Government of Canada is, after reading the full 2002 Senate Report, that using Cannabis should not be a crime in the first place. We should be learning from American mistakes - not repeating them.
Shame on any politician who voted in favour of Bill C-15! I won't forget it in the next election.
Posted by: MaryJane Cannabian | 2009-06-09 2:58:00 AM
Aside from pandering to the Tories' myopic, visceral, misinformed, and punishment-happy voter base, Bill C-15 was designed specifically to increase crime.
These mandatory sentences will scare off the mom-'n'-pop pot growers, who present direct market competition to the gangsters. With the little guys out of the game, the big guys will get more business and more profit. This will lead to more violence, which the police and government will use as justification for even more draconian laws and suppression of our civil rights.
The whole thing is a scam designed to make it necessary to hire more cops, build more jails, and spend more taxpayers' dollars on a policy which further subsidizes organized crime. The media-addled public is being duped once again.
Posted by: Russell Barth | 2009-06-09 4:08:04 AM
The only people worried about Bill C-15 are Wipeheads. Everybody else seems to think its a fine idea.
"...Shame on any politician who voted in favour of Bill C-15! I won't forget it in the next election...."
Prisoners don't get to vote
Posted by: 419 | 2009-06-09 6:58:11 AM
I'm rather disappointed that Harper would focus on such a waste of time instead of working on REAL problems such as the economy. Sad that he has fallen into the usual conservative trap of using the so-called War on Drugs as a way to enhance a tough on crime image.
As I recall, Nixon tried the same thing with disasterous results. Really, folks, its a friggin' plant. How about going after the real drugs like meth and crack? Then Harper would look tough on crime AND intelligent.
Posted by: Leigh Patrick Sullivan | 2009-06-09 8:37:36 AM
Define 'wipehead' 419. As far as I can tell, it's neologism. So, until you define it, it's nonsense.
Posted by: Robert Seymour | 2009-06-09 8:39:08 AM
Robert: most of what 419, Shane Matthews and Zebulon Pike says is total nonsense. I thought they were just expert trolls at first. Naw, they're just off their meds.
Posted by: Dave | 2009-06-09 9:29:23 AM
"Criminal justice experts who nevertheless can't come up with something better, Matthew. The fact remains that the U.S. crime rate had dropped sharply since they started locking up more crooks." Shane Matthews
Uhhh... Shane, I hate to have to break this to you, but the US crime rate has been slowly and steadily decreasing since the 1920s, and the rate of incarceration there has gone wildly up and down during the same 3/4+ of a century. Learn something about history before you spout such rubbish, would you, please?
The fact is that locking up more people doesn't change crime rates to any degree whatsoever - it just costs the taxpayer more money, provides government with a means of frightening many people, and makes certain that criminals have an institutional setting in which to teach each other the new tricks of their evolving trades.
Posted by: Michael Muirhead | 2009-06-09 9:59:21 AM
So we continue to have dangerous criminals getting released early back into society and some serving no time at all (the Greyhound bus horror), and this is what getting tough on crime becomes. Oh, let us not forget that at the same time the government provides free shoot-up clinics.
Although I am not one of the pro-drug group, I must say that this has about as much to do with solving crime as the gun registry.
Posted by: Alain | 2009-06-09 11:20:47 AM
The drug war is just a jobs program for criminals.
Legalize all drugs.
Let the police protect citizens from those who would harm others.
Let the doctors help those who would harm themselves.
Posted by: Damaskinos Lives | 2009-06-09 11:58:00 AM
My mother told me to be careful of old men soliciting my favour with a mixture of threats and presumption. If I want to put drugs into my body, it is nothing to do with some guy in a bad suit who won a popularity contest. I don't, as it happens.
But if I did, I wouldn't care about the fact that I'm disobeying the state, especially the entrenched interests of the state medical profession, who have used the law to arrogate the exclusive monopoly right to give me drugs.
Including when I DON'T want them at all.
Posted by: Simon | 2009-06-09 12:02:10 PM
1. What you put in your body is other people's business insofar as it affects them. A cheeseburger does not mess with your brain chemistry. This is not about you. Why are ALL pro-pot types so hung up on themselves? It would be refreshing to see a selfless one for a change, but I'm still waiting.
2. What will help them break their addictions will be making the alternative too unpleasant to contemplate. And it is very unusual to be sentenced to jail for simple possession, especially of marijuana. This argument does not hold water.
3. Spare us the bleeding-heart crap. Jail is supposed to punish, not rehabilitate; true rehabilitation comes from within. All jail can provide is the incentive and the time. As for having a criminal record, and the rest of it, they really should think of that before they do it, shouldn't they? In any case, pardons for such minor offences are easy to obtain.
4. Enforcing a law makes perfect sense. Passing it and then not enforcing it is what makes no sense. And can the mentoring shtick. It doesn't take a village to raise a child; it takes two parents.
5. Retread of 1. And *I* argue that the government DOES have the right to restrict access to powerful psychotropics. These are powerful medicines. They are not party favours.
6. No, the FACT is that millions of Canadians line the pockets of gangs and cutthroats rather than give up a useless buzz. That doesn't sound like responsible behaviour as the dictionary defines the term. Caffiene may be more addictive than cannabis, but you can safely drive a car after drinking coffee. Not true for alcohol, but alcohol's effects are short-lived and easily predictable based on BAC. Pot, on the other hand, is fat-soluble, and your brain is 35% fat, meaning it can hang around and cause problems for weeks.
7. Humans have been using opium and the coca leaf for thousands of years, both also products of Mother Nature. Next.
8. What you are sick of is of no importance. If you can prove it's B.S., then do it. Telling us you don't like it is proof of nothing but your own self-centredness. And arguing the making something illegal makes it easier to get, or results in more people doing it, is nonsense. That's like saying more people will buy a product if you raise the price. It is precisely this pattern of selfishness, combined with a total lack of rational thought, that brings such discredit to pot smokers and their opinions.
9. The Senate are not experts on the effects of drugs on the human body; indeed they are not experts of anything. Canada's Senate is a joke. Chretien appointed a fashion designer. Mulroney stacked it with cronies to pass the GST. It's also worth noting that most senators are relics from the 1960s and belong to the single demographic most famous for unrestrained marijuana use.
10a. 21 percent of pot users graduate to hard drugs, compared to just 5 percent of the general population. You can reject that fact all you like; it's there.
b. It doesn't have to be a cause of delinquency and crime, if using it already constitutes delinquency and crime. Are we to compare petty thieves to murderers next?
c. No substance is a cause of violence. People are the cause of violence. This is an empty statement.
d. Early drug legislation was based on the horrors of China's opium war and a radical overuse of over-the-counter narcotics in the 19th century. Victorian parents gave children opium or laudanum to quiet their crying.
11. The Senate report is not information; merely an opinion piece of dubious relevance. And what is it to you if the "sheeple" want criminals to pay the full cost of their crimes, and to keep them off the street longer? Unless, of course, you fear that you may be among them.
12. Until it comes time to ask that person smoking the joint in the privacy of their home where they got it, and whether it is blood pot. Perhaps you can tell me why blood for oil is evil, but blood for pot is not?
13. My argument is that American crime rates are falling. We should be asking ourselves what they're doing right, not waiting to see what they will do and then doing the opposite in order to satisfy our pathological need to not be American.
14. Somehow, I don't think any of the major parties have anything to worry about. You don't impress as the type who would vote Tory or Grit anyway.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-09 12:45:23 PM
Russell, do you really think that armed gangs who gun down competition in the streets would tolerate mom-and-pop grow-ops if they thought they were in any way undercutting their business? Grow-rips and pressuring such small outfits to join larger organizations are rampant.
And the fact of the matter is that the big guys will only get as much profit as the public gives them. If the public doesn't buy their pot, their profits will be zero. What you are truly upset about is the possibility that you will have to buy blood pot from now on, and that doesn't sit so well with you...although you'll probably buy it all the same.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-09 12:47:55 PM
"As I recall, Nixon tried the same thing with disasterous results. Really, folks, its a friggin' plant. How about going after the real drugs like meth and crack? Then Harper would look tough on crime AND intelligent."
The coca leaf from which crack is derived, and the opium poppy from which heroin is derived, are both also plants, Leigh. What do you say to that?
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-09 12:48:59 PM
"Uhhh... Shane, I hate to have to break this to you, but the US crime rate has been slowly and steadily decreasing since the 1920s, and the rate of incarceration there has gone wildly up and down during the same 3/4+ of a century. Learn something about history before you spout such rubbish, would you, please?"
Uh, Michael, the crime rate exploded in the 1930s because of the depression, and again in the 1960s and 1970s because of the influence of the baby boom demographic. In the early 70s, New York City was losing about 30 patrolmen a year, and was an absolute sewer. Now it's a destination and the murder rate has been halved. So don't presume to lecture me on history, Michael.
"The fact is that locking up more people doesn't change crime rates to any degree whatsoever - it just costs the taxpayer more money, provides government with a means of frightening many people, and makes certain that criminals have an institutional setting in which to teach each other the new tricks of their evolving trades."
So your argument is that whenever you lock up a crook, another person who would not otherwise have turned to crime, then turns to crime, just to keep the numbers up? You think that every single member of society is a potential criminal? Can you back up this absurd assertion, or is it just something you tell yourself so that you won't have to feel as bad in front of the mirror?
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-09 12:52:29 PM
"most of what 419, Shane Matthews and Zebulon Pike says is total nonsense. I thought they were just expert trolls at first. Naw, they're just off their meds."
Why, how insightful of you, Dave. Are you here to discuss the topic at all, or are you just making the rounds and trying to fill your daily quota of e-wedgies?
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-09 12:53:48 PM
Stig - thanks for your concern, but Marc is not speaking at the Liberty Summer Seminar this year (although he is hoping to attend). The speaker's list is available at http://liberalstudies.ca/events.
Posted by: Matt | 2009-06-09 1:23:05 PM
Canada will be cannabis free in no time. Mandatory minimums work, as do harsh marijuana laws in general. That's why there are no growers or pot smokers in the US, no violent organized crime groups making billions and billions of dollars a year from marijuana sales. Yes indeed, Canada should emulate the US.
Posted by: Jack | 2009-06-09 3:40:30 PM
".... Yes indeed, Canada should emulate the US..."
that means we get a Disneyland complex in Whistler
If you liked the Lion King.
you'll love " the Wonderful World of Wipeheads "
Posted by: 419 | 2009-06-09 6:10:00 PM
"...That's why there are no growers or pot smokers in the US, no violent organized crime groups making billions and billions of dollars a year from marijuana sales.."....... doth say Jack
These criminal gangs don't get any of my money, None. Zero
They don't get the money of the majority of well adjusted people either. However, they _do take the money from millions of clueless wipeheads-- and that adds up to Billions of dollars..
And what do the wipeheads get in return?
Full ashtrays and a brain full of Intoxicrap ( TM )
So why do we _non wipeheads care?
Rapists do not offend my body,
-they offend others. so we stop them
Thieves do not steal my stuff,
-they steal from others stuff, so we stop them
Fraudsters do not defraud me,
-they defraud others, so we stop them
None of this is acceptable--
if you can't follow the story,
ask your Mom to help you
she may have tried already
Dope Gangsters do not suck my blood,
_they suck the blood of others, so we stop them
that is not acceptable in this world we all share Jack
and as of this week
there are mandatory jail minimums
in place for these persons non grata-
Its not a debate anymore- this is the real world
will of the people has spoken
as delivered up by your democratically elected government enforced by police & courts you pay taxes
ha ! you are busting your friends by proxy
if you are a wipehead in commerce'- watch out !!
next thing you'll know is
you'll be having lunch with Marc Emery
- for the next few years
Posted by: 419 | 2009-06-09 6:35:57 PM
I SURE AM GLAD THE GOVERNMENT IS FINALLY GOING TO GET TOUGH ON THOSE DOPER DRUGGIES. OUR COUNTRY WILL BE CLEANSED OF THESE SCUM AND OUR CHILDREN WILL FINALLY LEAD INNOCENT DRUG-FREE LIVES OF PURITY AND GOODNESS. THANK GOD OUR BOYS IN BLUE (AND RED) WILL AT LAST HAVE THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO WIPE THIS SCOURGE FROM THE VEINS OF CANADIAN KIDS.
(Just kidding and pretending to be a cop. We all know C-15 make things worse as prohibition always does. Thanks lots to the grandstanding fascists and their toadies who made C-15 possible.)
Posted by: O. B. Server | 2009-06-09 6:50:14 PM
yo OB Server-
would you consider setting that to music ?
" Penitentiary Idol " talent scouts are always looking for stars
Posted by: 419 | 2009-06-09 7:08:59 PM
"We all know C-15 make things worse as prohibition always does. Thanks lots to the grandstanding fascists and their toadies who made C-15 possible."
Spoken like a true anarchist.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-09 7:27:30 PM
Funny how, "Peace at any cost." has become the mantra. What a gelded generation.
Posted by: The Neighbours | 2009-06-10 12:11:05 AM
Well, Neighbours, depending on the generation to which you refer, they may not have had much in the way of role models.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-10 6:52:35 AM
"That's why there are no growers or pot smokers in the US, no violent organized crime groups making billions and billions of dollars a year from marijuana sales. Yes indeed, Canada should emulate the US."
Canada has the distinction of being the heaviest consumer of marijuana per capita in the industrialized world. Repeat: Canada, not the US, has that distinction. In the US, pot use among the young is actually dropping.
We shouldn't necessarily emulate the US, but we should see what's working for them, why it's working, and consider it when shaping new laws.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-10 6:54:59 AM
"Canada has the distinction of being the heaviest consumer of marijuana per capita in the industrialized world. Repeat: Canada, not the US, has that distinction. In the US, pot use among the young is actually dropping."
You should really stop making spurious correlations Shane. As usual, you don't establish causation. Do Americans smoke less because of cultural differences or laws?
"Russell, do you really think that armed gangs who gun down competition in the streets would tolerate mom-and-pop grow-ops if they thought they were in any way undercutting their business?"
Do you think criminals are some kind of bionic men who can be at all places at the same time? A relatively small number of criminals will not be able to control the massive increase in supply. They may be able to threaten a few. But they won't be able to threaten them all. Prices will then fall, making their involvement even less attractive.
Posted by: Charles | 2009-06-10 8:04:48 AM
"You should really stop making spurious correlations Shane. As usual, you don't establish causation. Do Americans smoke less because of cultural differences or laws?"
Cultural differences? Is that a joke? We watch American movies, American TV, listen to American music, browse American web sites, consume American products. Some difference exists but it's not profound, at least not west of Ottawa, certainly not west of Lake of the Woods.
Railing at "spurious correlations" is pretty much all the defence you have, isn't it? Because the numbers and the facts are all lining up against you, you choose to dismiss them. Marijuana smokers switch to hard drugs more frequently than non-marijuana smokers; therefore you call it personality differences. US crime stats are dropping, but it can't possibly be because more crooks are in jail. It's the last, desperate tactic of someone who refuses to review his own beliefs.
"Do you think criminals are some kind of bionic men who can be at all places at the same time? A relatively small number of criminals will not be able to control the massive increase in supply. They may be able to threaten a few. But they won't be able to threaten them all. Prices will then fall, making their involvement even less attractive."
"Massive increase in supply?" This country already smokes more than any other industrialized nation, yet somehow manages to export the bulk of the harvest to the US. So what are you saying--that Canadians will smoke even more dope, or that you're okay with smuggling even more to the US?
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-10 8:24:27 AM
The real question in all of this is will this get disenfranchised conservative voters to vote conservative again. I don't think so.
Getting tough on dope heads is not the same thing as getting tough on the types of crime most conservative voters are concerned about, property crime, theft, rape and murder. Other than the most radical social conservatives I think most see this as another major underachievement on the policy front and that's being charitable when really they didn't hit the target at all.
Besides which their lousy fiscal policies(spend,spend, spend, and then spend some more) which have grown the size of government and will lead to higher tax's down the road are going to overshadow everything they do for a long, long time.
Next election I see a lot of conservative voters sitting on their hands.
Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2009-06-10 9:51:28 AM
Any Conservative voters feeling disenfranchised are not very politically savvy, FJ. The Conservatives were faced with a choice: Either bring in a stimulus package of their own, or let the "coalition" under Dion seize power and let them do the same, with the added benefit of giving the Bloc veto power over anything of consequence. That would have been the price of a principled stand. Many Conservative voters, myself included, consider that price to be too high. And they will not forget the attempted coup.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-10 10:22:57 AM
I would argue that those who are not yet disenfrancised are incredibly naive and not particulary saive on the political strategy front. Standing up to the coalition was the Conservatives only chance at getting a majority, the country was solidly behind them at the time but they threw that support away by waving the white flag of surrender to the Liberals.
You may wish to vote for cowards who have mortgaged your grandkids future but many will not.
Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2009-06-10 11:56:01 AM
You can and have argued lots, F.J., little of it convincingly. I will decide if I have been disenfranchised, not you.
All very well to bang the drum of "stand up to the coalition!" but in fact it was not up to the Conservatives whether the coalition seized power, but the governor-general. The coalition's case was shaky--the official members of the coalition did not outnumber the Conservatives, for one thing--but contemporary viceregals have very little experience in deciding such matters, the last being in 1920. Even constitutional experts confessed themselves uncertain. So all the leadership in the world would not have mattered.
Moreover, by voting for the Liberals, you are merely voting for those who WOULD have "mortgaged your grandkids's future" if only someone else had not done it first, in fact threatened to bring down the Conservatives for not doing it when they had initially stated they did not want to do it.
Your head is just something you keep your hat on, isn't it, F.J.?
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-10 12:28:10 PM
Netherlands to close prisons for lack of criminals
Published: 19 May 2009 16:31
The Dutch justice ministry has announced it will close eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty.News - Belgian judge frees thief because of crowded jails
During the 1990s the Netherlands faced a shortage of prison cells, but a decline in crime has since led to overcapacity in the prison system. The country now has capacity for 14,000 prisoners but only 12,000 detainees.
Deputy justice minister Nebahat Albayrak announced on Tuesday that eight prisons will be closed, resulting in the loss of 1,200 jobs. Natural redundancy and other measures should prevent any forced lay-offs, the minister said.
The overcapacity is a result of the declining crime rate, which the ministry's research department expects to continue for some time.
Some reprieve might come from a deal with Belgium, which is facing overpopulation in its prisons. The two countries are working out an agreement to house Belgian prisoners in Dutch prisons. Some five-hundred Belgian prisoners could be transferred to the Tilburg prison by 2010.
The Netherlands would get 30 million euros in the deal, and it will allow the closing of the prisons in Rotterdam and Veenhuizen to be postponed until 2012.
The Dutch need to adopt minuminum mandatory sentencing to start filling up those jails. Or maybe the provinces can rent space there too like the Belgians.
Posted by: Ken | 2009-06-10 12:54:12 PM
Hey if you want to reward the Conservatives for not being actual conservatives, be my guest, knock yourself out.
You're the kind of guy they're looking for. Why don't you write them a big fat cheque while you're at it, that otta keep them moving in the same direction (left to far left,captain).
Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2009-06-10 8:00:08 PM
Jails and intelligent drug dealers win. Let's institute fines for having marijuana in your system
Posted by: Timothy | 2009-06-10 9:15:05 PM
Jails and intelligent drug dealers win. Let's institute fines for having marijuana in your system
Posted by: Timothy | 2009-06-10 9:15:05 PM
Do you any idea what you are advocating here?
Should we all have to report government piss stops on the way to our government issued cubicles from our government issued homes too?
This is the kind of thinking that put Hitler in power.
Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-10 9:27:46 PM
He was being sarcastic, JC.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-11 6:37:49 AM
Old news, Ken. No one has linked Holland's low crime rate to their "liberal" drug laws. Without even a tenuous link, it's white noise.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-11 6:39:04 AM
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