Crime & Punishment

I’ll be perfectly frank here and admit that I don’t have the time or interest to fully plunge into this issue with any great insight (sorry, but I have to confess that I find criminal activity and its purported remedies to be a supremely boring subject that’s usually about as phenomenally uninteresting as the perpetrators themselves), however I did note in passing this morning our friend Jeff’s remarks about the Liberals’ problematic stance on the issue and he asks some valid questions.

As a point of reference, and perhaps by way of serendipity, I also happened to watch this news report from the BBC this morning:

Sign of things to come perhaps?

I know the idea of addressing the socio-economic causality of crime is vastly more complex and difficult to remedy than simply focusing on purported methods of deterrence (that are proven to be ineffective), but it would be nice to see an honest debate about the issue rather than the usual bullshit about cracking down on offenders and doling out harsher sentences, etc.



Filed under Crime & Punishment, Liberal Party of Canada

12 responses to “Crime & Punishment

  1. Ti-Guy

    We don’t need another debate. The jury’s in and the facts are on our side. Crime is a complex problem that requires complex solutions, from punishment and rehabilitation through the criminal justice system to addressing the underlying roots causes. Canada’s tradition has been along the lines, and we have one of the safest societies on Earth.

    As I commented over at Jeff’s, what we need now is for non-Conservatives to push back and express what we all know is true: Conservatives get off on other people’s suffering.

  2. Gayle

    I don’t really blame the politicians (aside from the fact they are doing what is immediately politically expedient rather than what is best for the country). I blame the citizens and voters in this country who crave easy answers to serious problems, and the media who now cover every crime like it was the worst thing to ever happen (I recall a documentary on A and E several years ago which noted that while crime rates are decreasing, reporting on crime has increased).

    The only way we are going to get an honest debate is if that is all the media demand, and the politicians who offer their flippant answers get called on the fact there is no basis in reality for their claims. In other words – there will be no honest debate. (Thank god Trudeau had the foresight to entrench the Charter into the constitution)

    Here in Alberta we are building our own “super-prison”. At the same time we are building that, the provincial government has decided to close all the beds in the psychiatric hospital in Edmonton, which means placing seriously mentally ill people in the streets. I predict they will start committing crimes within a week, and then people will start whining about the soft judges.

    All that said, Jeff’s concern is with the infringement of our rights through this proposed legislation. I am not worried about the people who are caught drinking – I am worried about the people who are searched under the cover of this legislation as a means to investigate other crimes.

  3. Ti-Guy

    Push back first. Then debate, if required. Get the right wing on the defensive and those who have no good arguments (the hysterics with their tortured ‘gut feelings’) will go quiet soon enough.

  4. Gayle

    Maybe my perspective is skewed. After all, I do live in Alberta. Rational thinking on this issue is not exactly common. Pushing back will have no effect.

    Maybe people outside Alberta actually think for themselves???


  5. Ti-Guy

    Pushing back will have no effect.

    You’ve just been overwhelmed with Conservatives (really mean ones, to boot) for such a long time, pushing back seems like a frightening thought. 😉

    I’m serious about getting them on the defensive though. We’ve been wasting our time for years mounting defences against this baseless vilification.

  6. MississaugaPeter

    Sorry Red Tory, I do not see the correlation between more spot checks and overcrowded jails (does California have spot checks – never once in all my travels there have I seen one).

    If you could find a story that there are overcrowded jails in Australia (where I was asked politely, with wife and 4 children in the van with me, to count up to 4 into a wand, at 11:00 a.m.) or New Zealand or Ireland, I may see the correlation.

  7. Gayle

    Peter – I think his point was with the whole tough on crime crap Harper is trying to sell us.

  8. Ti-Guy

    I do not see the correlation between more spot checks and overcrowded jails

    I don’t think RedTory is arguing there is one. That’s the discussion you’re having at Jeff’s blog.

    If they move to increased police powers to do random checks, they should also, at least in Ontario, start selling beer and wine in corner stores. But along the lines of what Gayle is arguing, given how badly the police have been behaving lately, I’m hesitant to give them greater powers.

  9. MississaugaPeter

    Ti-Guy, I have no problem with someone being tough with BAD Cops also.

  10. Peter — I wasn’t actually referring to any specific policies, but more the general mindset of “lock ’em up and throw away the key” so familiar to us coming from the Conservative side, or the general knee-jerk urge to “get tough” on criminals… as if that’s going to somehow “solve” the problem of crime.

    Both the Liberals and NDP have been co-opted into this vote-winning (but dumb) approach to the problem because: a) it’s lazy; and b) they’re afraid of being branded as “soft on crime” or some such rubbish.

    So, I don’t really have any particular axe to grind here (as I said, the subject doesn’t interest me that much as crime of one sort of another is kind of an endemic and ineradicable thing) but I’m skeptical when it comes to conventional wisdom on the matter insofar as offering up simplistic solutions. I suspect that a more comprehensive and sophisticated approach is needed to address the problem — and even then, life will never be entirely “safe” from criminal behaviour.

  11. Gayle

    “I have no problem with someone being tough with BAD Cops also.”

    Good, because one of the functions of the Charter is to either exclude evidence or dismiss a charge if Charter rights are breached. In a sense, that is how one “punishes” the police for acting improperly.

    Sometimes they forget that the Charter is part of our law, and while they are “upholding” one law, they are violating another.

  12. Like the RCMP officers that lied to the Dziekanski inquiry? I heard they’re now claiming they can’t be held accountable to provincial standards of police behaviour. Essentially they’re above the law. How charming.

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