Closing Remarks at the November 11th Omnibus Crime Bill Forum

We all need to speak out against Bill C-10 and its wrong-headed approach to crime and public safety. I encourage all of you to do so because that is precisely what the Conservatives don’t want you to do.  They do not want to hear the fact-based arguments against their policies. 

How do we know? They cut off debate at Second Reading in the House of Commons before most MPs had had a chance to speak, including me. They are attempting to limit the number of witness who will be heard on this Bill at the Justice Committee. Even more disturbing to me are the attacks by the Conservatives on the personal integrity of witnesses appearing at committees like the Elizabeth Fry Society and John Howard Society and on individual Members of Parliament who have opposed their supposed tough on crime agenda. 

If Bill C-10 is enacted the Conservatives will accomplish precisely the opposite of what they say they intend to do. Instead of restoring confidence in our justice system, C-10 will cause increased delays in our court system and additional miscarriages of justice which will further undermine public confidence in our system. Rather than making our communities safer, focusing on retribution and harsh punishment instead of rehabilitation will have the opposite of the intended effect. These measures will make our communities less safe while at the same time running up huge financial bills. 

Canadians need to speak out against this attempt by the Conservatives to use Bill C-10 to change Canada from a nation that has been caring, compassionate, and progressive to one where we as citizens are fearful, angry, and divided. Yes, the Conservatives have a majority in this parliament but, as all governments, they will want to be re-elected in four years. We must let them know that proceeding with Bill C-10 will have a very high political price.