It’s hard to tell where in the universe Stockwell Day, the head of the Canadian government’s Treasury Board, thinks he’s living.
Responding to criticism that Ottawa’s plan to build more jails under its “Truth in Sentencing Act” will double prison costs by $9 billion a year, Day said it’s all needed because of an “alarming” increase in unreported crime.
This is really interesting. Unreported crimes lead to unreported convictions, unreported sentences, and unreported stretches behind bars. In unreported prisons?
Day has been making these kinds of vacuous statements ever since he got elected as an MP and leader of the Canadian Alliance party. The fact he was dumped when the party merged with the PC’s to form the Conservative party under Stephen Harper, doesn’t seem to have changed Day’s “flat earth” views of the world.
He’s the guy, after all, who pronounced that man and dinosaurs walked the earth together. And that the Niagara River flows south, which is where he said Canadian jobs were going back in the 2000 election campaign.
The effort to justify the unwarranted increase in the cost of operating prisons in Canada was already in serious trouble when Day came out with his latest off-the-wall comment.
It began with a new law that would eliminate the double time off prisoners get for the time spent in custody awaiting sentence. According to Parliamentary budget officer Kevin Days, this will add about 159 days to the average prisoner’s sentence.
For this, we’ll have to build a lot of new prisons to accommodate all those being kept behind bars. The government talks as if this will bring crime under control. Do they really think that adding five months to somebody’s sentence is going to change anything?
I can write with authority on unreported crimes. I’ve had a backyard intruder make off with my daughter’s briefcase. (Found later in a park). I’ve had a couple of bikes stolen from outside the house. Ditto some nice iron planters. Did I report these to the police? Maybe I should have, but I didn’t.
Yet Day, Harper & Company insist that with their “build a jail a day” plan they’re somehow protecting us from vicious criminals carrying out these “unreported” crimes.
All this flies in the face of facts. The nearly 2.2 million crimes reported to police in 2009 were about 43,000 fewer than in 2008, according to a Statistics Canada report released in July.
This helps explain why a government poll shows only one per cent of Canadians rank crime as the country’s biggest problem.
Of course, if you’re a vindictive, “get even with them” kind of guy, the kind of measures the government is proposing might make you feel better.
But what of Conservative fiscal prudence, something these guys have claimed is bred in the bone with them?
Two billion dollars on the G20 meeting? Sixteen billion for new (unneeded) fighter planes?
This kind of nonsense ranks on a par with the Harperite edict to abolish the mandatory long form census report. Dozens of Canadian organizations, including municipalities and provinces, have decried this effort to puncture our understanding of what makes this country tick.
Don’t give the government any information . Lock ‘em up and throw away the key. Arm ourselves to the teeth with fighter planes.
What kind of flat earth are these guys living on?
(Note: Today’s Ekos poll, showing the Conservatives in a statistical dead heat with the Liberals, may be more than a straw in the wind. As the old adage goes, government’s aren’t defeated, they defeat themselves. These guys are doing everything in their power to prove this once again.
AFTERTHOUGHT: Giving the lie to Conservative party claims of fiscal prudence, Industry Minister Tony Clement now says provincial and municipal governments (as well as private businesses) that relied on Statscan should do their own data mining. They’ve been getting a “free ride,” he says. Clement seems to be saying these governments should spend additional millions of taxpayer dollars on duplicate studies that are bound to yield uneven results. Efficient government? Not under Harper & Company.