Wednesday, February 02, 2011

More stupid on crime policy from the Conservatives

I've written regularly on the Conservative government's stupid on crime policies, and the unwillingness of all parties to risk the wrath of public opinion by calling BS on so-called "tough on crime" policies that are expensive, ineffective, and designed only to score headlines.

The Harper government wants a four-fold increase in the cost of applying for a pardon in Canada.

Saying it will not subsidize criminals, the government is proposing to charge $631 to study a pardon application, up from the current fee of $150.
Sounds great in theory, right? Who wants to subsidize criminals? And with public outrage over the Graham James pardon, the Conservatives are eager to jump on that bandwagon and been seen to respond toughly.

When you look deeper though, this is just more Conservative dumb on crime policy. So, you hike the fee from $150 to $631. Who will suffer from this? For your corporate fraudster, your retirement fund charlatan, an extra $500 is peanuts. They'll get their name cleared and their slate whipped clean.

But what about the single Mom on the poverty line who shoplifted to feed her family, or passed bad cheques to keep a roof over their head? She won't be able to come up with another $500. So she'll continue to be burdened with a criminal record, making it harder to get a job and support her family, while the wealthy mutual fund shyster gets a second chance.

And it's also worth noting that those eligible for the pardon program have already served their sentences, so unlike the Conservative soundbite, these people have been held accountable.

Look, if you want to reform the pardon program, and make them harder to get, that's a legitimate debate. Tighten regulations about who can qualify, the time periods, what crimes aren't eligible, and so on.

But just raising fees and pretending you're being tough is neither tough nor smart on crime. It's just stupid.

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WesternGrit said...

Yup... And what about the young who were forced into a life of prostitution and slavery? They didn't have any say in their situation... They may have acquired a record - and now they'll be punished when trying to clear it. For no fault of their own.

Typical Conservative policy: screw the little guy, but if you have lots of money, you're our friend!

The Rat said...

"But what about the single Mom on the poverty line who shoplifted to feed her family, or passed bad cheques to keep a roof over their head?"

Maudlin much, Jeff? Les Miserables was a great book but I don;t think it's a great place for Liberals to lift policy.

Gayle said...

Pretending they're tough on crime is all their justice initiatives are all about.

WhigWag said...

@The Rat: better to be informed by actual literature like Les Miz & Dickens, than by comic books (sorry: 'Graphic Novels) like the Cons, whose 'hug-a-thug' vernacular sounds like it's coming straight out of 'Rorschach' from 'The Watchman'

The Rat said...

Hey Jeff, here's one for you. I am an adoptive parent and soon to be again. The paperwork is extensive and expensive. And now we have another expense - we have to get vulnerable sector checks on top of standard criminal records checks. These checks are based on birth date (year-month-day) and fully 1/3 of male applicants have to go through enhanced screening because their birth date matches that of a PARDONED SEX OFFENDER! Real live adoptive parents are forking out $55 (our local police charges that) for each parent for the criminal records check, another $55 for the Vulnerable Sectors Check, and then well over $100 for fingerprinting and enhanced checks for those unlucky 1/3 who share a birth date with a scumbag who should never, ever have received a pardon in the first place. I hope you'll excuse me if I say screw your hypothetical single mom, 'cause Liberal policies have screwed thousands of real-life adoptive parents.