10/19/2007

Crime: A Matter of Confidence

Media take on crime legislation: Canada.com , CTV, Globe & Mail, PoliticsWatch

Bill C-2, also known as the Tackling Violent Crime Act, is a combination of five crime bills from last Parliament. Three of the five bills had already passed the Commons and were in the Senate. One had finished the Commons committee stage and the fifth was midway through it. As all five bills died on the order paper with the prorogation of Parliament, they have been bundled together into one massive piece of legislation. Since dealing with crime is one of the five key priorities of the Throne Speech, the Conservatives have made this piece of legislation a matter of confidence. It's defeat would mean an election.
It's fairly unlikely that this piece of legislation will be voted down. Most of it has already been agreed upon by the government and opposition parties. Indeed, four of the revived bills included all of the compromises already made with the opposition. There may only be some small amount of wrangling over the dangerous offenders portion.
In other words, right now there is much ado about nothing.
However, upon reflection, I would suggest that crime legislation should always be a matter of confidence. How a government chooses to deal with criminals is perhaps one of the most significant indications of its ability to govern. It is even more important than its ability to manage a budget. What should a government choose to punish? How harsh should punishments be? The key end of a government is to facilitate the peaceful life of its citizens. While there may many ways to achieve this end, there can be no doubt that criminals are an obstruction to that end and as such must be dealt with accordingly. How a government deals with criminals has a direct impact on the ability of its citizens to live in peace.
And, for the record, I am thrilled to hear that the age of sexual consent will be raised back to 16. It should never have been lowered in the first place.

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