The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

February 10, 2010

Federal Conservatives play political games

Behind tough on crime rhetoric, Conservatives play political games with crime and victims
by: New Democratic Party of Canada | Feb 9th, 2010

OTTAWA – If Stephen Harper’s Conservatives were serious about getting tough on crime they would not have killed 17 crime and justice bills or junked all the work that has been done by committees on these bills, says New Democrat Justice Critic Joe Comartin Windsor-Tecumseh).

“Behind the tough-on-crime rhetoric, the Harper government is playing political games with crime and victims,” says Mr. Comartin. “His shameful use of victims of crime for photo-ops suggests that he would rather keep crime as a political bludgeon than pass much-needed legislation to modernize the Criminal Code, strengthen investigations or prevent crime.”

Among the bills killed by Harper’s decision to prorogue parliament was a bill on White Collar Crime that, after substantial amendments by the Justice Committee, would have addressed ponzi schemes similar to the one orchestrated by the now infamous Earl Jones. Harper’s decision to prorogue Parliament both killed the bill and junked all of the committee’s work to make the bill effective and enforceable. If the bill is re-introduced, it will be back to square one both for the committee and for Canadians waiting for the government to take action against these schemes.

“Canadians whose hard-earned livelihoods have been destroyed by white-collar criminals, families facing the devastating loss of a loved one and communities struggling to control the ravages of gangs are all badly served by a Conservative strategy designed to grab headlines, not criminals,” says Comartin.

For New Democrats it’s simple: the Conservative approach to crime is wrong-headed and hollow. New Democrats believe that a comprehensive plan involving more effective law enforcement, additional resources for the judicial system and social infrastructure that seeks to prevent crime, not just punish it, is necessary to truly address crime in Canada.

“Prorogation proves beyond reasonable doubt that Mr. Harper is simply not serious about crime or justice. Neither should be a political diversion for any government. We simply have too much at stake.”

Over the weekend, Harper’s Conservative Party took the unprecedented step of assuming control of the riding association in Calgary West to silence rank-and-file Conservatives who want to remove Anders as their party’s candidate.More and more the real Stephen Harper is coming into view. Whether it is novelty cheques emblazoned with the Conservative logo, partisan interference in freedom of information, patronage appointments to government jobs, or now demeaning local democracy, the Harper Conservatives are proving no change from the old politics of the past  By silencing grassroots Conservatives who are dissatisfied with MP Rob Anders, Stephen Harper has embraced the old politics he said he would fix.

Jack Layton of the New Democratic Party (NDP) is now the best-ranked federal party leader in Canada, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 29 per cent of respondents approve of Layton’s performance.  The approval rating for Canadian prime minister and Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper stands at 26 per cent. 15 per cent of respondents approve of the way Liberal and Official Opposition leader Michael Ignatieff is handling his duties.

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