NDP Response

The NDP Interim Leader's response to a Letter:

Thank you for writing to express your concerns about the Harper government's omnibus crime legislation, Bill C-10.

This Conservative crime bill is a collection of nine bills from previous Parliaments- a number of them are not even related to the Criminal Code or the Justice Department mandate!

Public safety is a top priority for New Democrats. While there are measures in this bill that we support, such as tough new laws on Internet luring of children, there are others that will do nothing to make our streets and communities safer.

With NDP Justice critic Jack Harris taking the lead, we proposed to divide the legislation so Parliament could immediately pass those parts that would meaningfully tackle public safety and help protect our children. We have also put forward a number of amendments to remove offending parts of this bill. Regrettably, the Conservative government rejected our proposals and decided to ram the bill through Parliament, shutting down debate both in the House and at Committee.

The Conservative Public Safety Minister has even tried to amend the bill at the last minute, without success:


Opposition to this misguided legislation is mounting: Quebec's National Assembly recently adopted a unanimous motion against certain provisions contained in the bill; the Police Chiefs say it is unbalanced; the Canadian Bar Association and crown prosecutors say it will overload our justice system; and provinces are unable to pick up the tab. Even Judge Nunn, who has been used repeatedly by the Conservatives as a validator for this legislation, has declared his opposition.


As it stands, Bill C-10 could have child molesters getting lighter sentences than individuals who grow six or more pot plants. We do not think this makes any sense nor makes our communities any safer.

Without a doubt, C-10 will be expensive for taxpayers and the provinces. Despite our efforts, the government has refused to reveal the true cost of Bill C-10. We have gone so far as to ask Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page to look into how much these changes will cost taxpayers. Mr. Page estimates that over five years the federal government will spend $5-billion
while expenditures between $6-billion and $10-billion will fall to the provinces and territories.

Equally troubling is that the majority of the crime bill is not based on evidence. We know from studies and testimonies from victims and those who work in the area of criminal justice that increasing mandatory minimum sentences and building more expensive mega-prisons do not make our streets safer. Rather, greater preventative measures and more police on our streets are better choices to make our communities safer.

Canada's crime rate continues to fall while our unemployment rate is on the rise. The government should be focusing on jobs and not jeopardizing our economy by increasing the debt all in the pursuit of a failed ideology that says putting more people in prison and building more jails will make us safer.

Looking forward, New Democrats will act in the best interests of public safety. It's time for leadership that will move Canada forward.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write.


Nycole Turmel, M.P.
Interim Leader of the Official Opposition
New Democratic Party of Canada
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