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Liberals Will Kill Bill S-10

By admin | February 9, 2011

Liberal Press Release on S-10:

The Liberal Party of Canada announced today that it will oppose Bill S-10 over concerns that the bill disproportionately targets youth and would cause an explosion of costs to build new mega-prisons.

“This bill isn’t tough on crime, it’s dumb on crime,” said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. “We’re all in favour of cracking down on serious criminals, but this bill doesn’t distinguish between massive grow-ops and a first-time offender with a small amount.

“What’s more, the Conservatives won’t tell us what the fiscal implications of this bill are. How many billions will it cost? How many mega-prisons will have to be built? For these reasons, we just can’t support it,” he said.

The Conservatives continue to stonewall opposition parties on the cost of this legislation despite repeated requests. The Parliamentary Budget Office pegged the cost of just one crime bill as $10-$13 billion after the Conservatives told Parliament it would cost $90 million. This week, Liberal Finance Critic Scott Brison accused the government of contempt of Parliament for refusing to disclose prison spending.

“Canadians know that spending billions of dollars on U.S.-style mega-prisons to lock up young people will only produce more hardened criminals,” said Liberal Public Safety Critic Mark Holland. “It’s a failed American crime policy, and it just doesn’t work.”

A disproportionate number of Canadians aged 18-25 would be harmed by the marijuana provisions of Bill S-10, which proposes a mandatory six-month sentence for possessing as few as six marijuana plants – the same sentence that would be applied to a trafficker with 200 plants. Liberal Senators tried to raise the minimum number of plants to 20, but Conservative Senators refused amendments to the Bill.

“Liberals support stiff sentences for large drug producers and traffickers – but we won’t support a bill that can’t tell the difference between criminals running grow-ops and mistakes often made by our young people,” said Liberal Justice Critic Marlene Jennings. “The government has shown no willingness to accept substantive amendments, so we’re sending them back to the drawing board.”

Conservative Senators also refused to amend provisions that will remove judicial discretion over minor drug offences by automatically invoking mandatory minimums for those with minor drug convictions in the last 10 years.

Canada’s churches, the Canadian Bar Association, the Assembly of First Nations, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and health professionals have all spoken out against the bill.

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