Thursday, August 05, 2010

We Can't Afford The Harper Con$ Criminal Agenda

When Canwest's writers are starting to twig to the dogmatic, ideologically bound Harper Con$ervatives agenda - and pointing out the problems with it - you know it's bad.

Why the Harper Conservatives would want to adopt such a tragically failed social and fiscal strategy beggars understanding.

"We don't govern on the basis of statistics," Nicholson told reporters Wednesday.

Of course not. Why pay attention to facts, to evidence, or to logic, if they don't support your pet ideological agenda?

If we want to understand the real costs of the HarperCon$ ideological agenda, we only need to look south of the border where various states have implemented the very policies that the Harper government is trying to force upon Canada:

The United States has spent two decades experimenting with the same "tough on crime" philosophy the Harper Conservatives now espouse. The results have been economically and socially disastrous.

In South Carolina, for example, the state adopted tough new "truth in sentencing" laws in the mid-1990s. From 1983 to 2008, spending on prisons went up 600 per cent, while the number of prisoners soared from 9,000 to almost 25,000.

In California, according to data from the Pew Center on the States, more than 755,000 people are either in prison or on parole; the state spends almost $10 billion US a year on corrections, helping to drive it into financial meltdown.

Over all, spending on corrections in America has jumped from $11 billion US 20 years ago to $50 billion US today. One out of every 100 adult Americans is in jail, and one in 31 is on probation or parole. As the respected conservative magazine The Economist put it last week, "Never in the civilized world have so many been locked up for so little."

It is truly a sad statement when they are willing to ignore the unmistakable fact that the crime rate in Canada has been dropping for most of the last two decades, and instead insist that there is a phantom "unreported crime" epidemic as justification for their agenda.

The Harper government is going to drive Canada into bankruptcy with a "tough on crime" policy that has enormous costs and virtually no real impact on the crime rate. Funny, for a party that has campaigned on "better governance", and "greater transparency", that they should be so wilfully blind to the realities of their own policies ... unless of course they were lying to the public - which would hardly come as a surprise.

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