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Author Topic: Ottawa: Opposition parties want to be seen as tough on crime, but not TOO tough...
Hephaestion
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posted 26 March 2006 12:33 PM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The federal opposition is sending signals it will block Conservative plans to impose automatic jail terms for a variety of gun-related crimes unless the stiff terms are watered down.

The legislation, expected to be introduced this spring, is one of the Tory government's key items in an ambitious law-and-order agenda and it represents the government's greatest justice hope in a divided Parliament.

The proposal will call for mandatory sentences of up to 10 years for more than two dozen crimes involving guns if the Conservatives follow through on their election promises as expected.

The opposition, while willing to deal with the governing party to fight a spate of gun violence in urban centres, say the Conservative penalties could run afoul of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms' guaranteethat the punishment must be proportional to the crime.

"If we go to 10 years, all we're doing is providing a long court challenge that is probably going to be successful in striking it down, so I don't see us as a country engaging in that kind of activity," said NDP justice critic Joe Comartin.

Sue Barnes, the Liberal justice critic, suggested the Conservative penalties are "draconian" measures that would have to be diluted to survive a court challenge.

The Bloc Quebecois could not be reached, but the party has repeatedly focused on prevention rather than punishment to fight crime and is expected to carve out a law-and-order position on the left wing of the fractured Parliament.

The NDP and Liberals say the proposals must go hand in hand with anti-crime programs, such as initiatives to deter young people away from gangs, to garner their support.

[...]

One factor working in the Conservatives' favour is that no party wants to be seen as opposing a bill on firearms crimes at a time when there is public concern across the country, particularly in such cities as the Liberal bastion of Toronto.

The opposition parties are also already seeking compromises with the government in other areas, such as child care, so they may be willing to make extra concessions on fighting crime.

Comartin said he thinks Parliament could safely impose minimum terms in the range of five to seven years without violating the charter.

"At this point, I think what we should do is push it near the limit, which in this case is about seven," he said.


*click*

[ 26 March 2006: Message edited by: Hephaestion ]


From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 26 March 2006 12:42 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The opposition parties are also already seeking compromises with the government in other areas, such as child care, so they may be willing to make extra concessions on fighting crime.

Comartin said he thinks Parliament could safely impose minimum terms in the range of five to seven years without violating the charter.

"At this point, I think what we should do is push it near the limit, which in this case is about seven," he said.


I thought Layton's "tough on crime" rant was just misguided electioneering. Obviously I was wrong, as the crime-fighting crusade is still continuing.

I particularly appreciate the reference to "child care". Clearly I had misunderstood the full subtlety of Layton's cry for mandatory minimum sentences for youthful offenders. What better place to drop your kid off on the way to work, and get some quality education to boot, than at the local prison? It lends a whole new meaning to "play-pen".


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Jim Schmitt
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posted 26 March 2006 11:20 PM      Profile for Jim Schmitt     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:

I thought Layton's "tough on crime" rant was just misguided electioneering. Obviously I was wrong, as the crime-fighting crusade is still continuing.

Thankfully, it wasn't. I like Jack's approach, which he borrowed from Tony Blair. Granted Tony Blair is a prick and Bush puppet. But Blair's right - we should be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime...makes sense to me.

[ 26 March 2006: Message edited by: Jim Schmitt ]


From: Port Moody, BC | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
simonvallee
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posted 26 March 2006 11:31 PM      Profile for simonvallee   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yeah, send the possibly reformable and impressionable kids who have been flirting with criminality learn the tricks of the trade in jail where organized crime will make itself a pleasure of initiating them into their ranks. One hard-boiled criminal coming right up!

Being "tough on crime" never did nothing to prevent crime, it only creates overcrowding in jails and forces governments to inject millions of dollars in building and operating jails, millions that would be better used to prevent crimes and to rehabilitate those convicted of crimes. What's the purpose of keeping someone in jail 5 more years when they'll only be more likely to commit a crime when they're freed? Sure, it keeps them locked up longer and they can't commit crimes during that time, but without intelligent programs to rehabilitate and reinsert those people, you don't prevent any crimes, you just push back the date they are committed.


From: Boucherville, Québec | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Carter
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posted 27 March 2006 02:59 AM      Profile for Carter        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Comartin said he thinks Parliament could safely impose minimum terms in the range of five to seven years without violating the charter.

"At this point, I think what we should do is push it near the limit, which in this case is about seven," he said.


So in other words the left-wing position is to impose the absolute most draconian prison sentences possible under the constitution, while the right-wing position is to impose even longer ones. Sounds like the US in the early nineties. I guess Canada's prison construction contractors, private prison firms, and correctional officers' unions are looking across the border and getting a little jealous. Being limited to only stealing finite amounts of taxpayer money must be really bad for profits. So it's in the interests of these noble economic actors to try to move the political center to a point at which reducing or even maintining the size of their industry falls off the outer edge of serious discourse and becomes literally unimaginable. The debate is then limited to exactly how fast the industry should grow.

And it was interesting to learn from the article that the Bloc has "repeatedly focused on prevention rather than punishment to fight crime." Too bad no one remembered to tell the Bloc that back when they were howling for blood about "organized crime" and trying to import the barbaric RICO statutes into Canada. I can even remember them complaining when the bill that was eventually introduced defined an organized criminal enterprise as anything consisting of three or more people: They wanted it to be two! But the article's correct that despite all that, they're probably the least bad of the four parties on most law and order issues. Which speaks volumes about the NDP. (As does Jim Schmitt's - correct - use of "Jack" and "Tony Blair" in the same sentence.)

But I guess we're expected to keep consoling ourselves with January's meme that the Conservatives can't do anything "extreme" because they only have a minority and the opposition parties will yada yada yada... And I suppose it's true: Ten years isn't that much more "extreme" than seven, after all. But it's a lot more extreme than having no mandatory minimums at all, or reducing the current maximum sentences. Why isn't anyone advocating that? Why is the debate being framed within such narrow (and bloodthirsty) boundaries? In a courtroom, the defense lawyer will ask for time served, the prosecutor will ask for ten years, and the judge will probably come down somewhere roughly in the middle. In Parliament, there are no defense lawyers: Just one group of ultra-fanatical prosecutors and three groups of slightly less fanatical prosecutors. And on top of that they're their own judges. And their campaign contributors in the prison industry are the executioners.


From: Goin' Down the Road | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
Marg Bedore
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posted 27 March 2006 06:58 AM      Profile for Marg Bedore     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Have the Conservatives made a promise for more money for prisons? Where are all these people going to go. Our prisons are full already
From: Kingston | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Carter
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posted 27 March 2006 09:58 AM      Profile for Carter        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Marg Bedore:
Have the Conservatives made a promise for more money for prisons?
To the public? No. To the prison industry? It would appear so.

From: Goin' Down the Road | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
simonvallee
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posted 27 March 2006 08:56 PM      Profile for simonvallee   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
There is no prison industry AFAIK in Canada, prisons are publicly-owned and don't sell their inmates' work in a way akin to slavery as apparently is happening south of the border.

And the laws against organized crime were correct. It's one thing to be lenient to people who commit crimes in order to try and rehabilitate them. But it's another thing to be lenient to the people who make crime into a lifestyle and have made an art of exploiting the system. Why is it that the police could draw you a schema of almost every important organized crime network but still can't arrest them for being the capitalist terrorists they are? Why is it that the media can say that X or Y is the criminal godfather of the sicilian/russian/chinese/etc mafia, but they don't get sued for defamation and those people are allowed to run their business at the cost of the lives of citizens?

It's clear that on this issue, the Bloc has been more consistently left-wing than the NDP. Though the Québec section of the NDP is pretty much the same, our star candidate in the election blasted Jack's announcement when it was made, and I could only cheer him on. A bad idea is a bad idea, no matter what mouth it uses to be spread unto this world.


From: Boucherville, Québec | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Carter
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posted 27 March 2006 11:12 PM      Profile for Carter        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
There is no prison industry AFAIK in Canada
That's like saying Canada hasn't fought a war since Korea. Oh, wait: You did say that, in another thread. Well at least you're consistent. Ignorance Is Strength (Orwell).

quote:
It's clear that on this issue, the Bloc has been more consistently left-wing than the NDP.
On the issues of young offenders and mandatory minimums for gun crimes, yes. On the issue of organized crime, the Bloc has been more consistently right-wing than the Reform/Alliance/Conservatives. Your paragraph of RICO apologetics made me very sad, and I really don't know how to respond to it, so I'll have to stop now. Sorry.

From: Goin' Down the Road | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
thorin_bane
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posted 27 March 2006 11:57 PM      Profile for thorin_bane     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I am starting to take a distinct disliking of the NDP as of late, my MP to be exact. Mr Comartins stand is making me look at the marxist at this point. This is ludicrist, the trudeau libs make us look like so-creds at this point. What the hell happened to the party of Tommy! No balls to say what we actually think (you know the people who work and vote for the friggin party) Moving to the right just lets the whole debate get reframed. I think we need to take the party hard to the left. Even if we lose some votes, it is the thought process that has to be put forward. People need to think about reasons not emotions. It is too easy to just say FUCK IT LOCK THEM ALL UP! This does not bode well for the NDP and left movement in general, when the only party that "represents" us is going "just slightly less draconian than the neo-cons". Not good at all.
From: Looking at the despair of Detroit from across the river! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
James
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posted 28 March 2006 12:08 AM      Profile for James        Edit/Delete Post
thorin_bane

Joe is also my MP. Please tell me, what is progressive or left wing about going easy on gun crime? I can think of no redeeming factors, in general, for people so convicted.

Of course, if someone is inflicted by a mental illness, that can explain or excuse, but the law would continue to allow for that.

Violence against the vulnerable is reactionary, whether done by GWB or some thugs on Brock Street. I would deal with both as harshly as our constitution allows.


From: Windsor; ON | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Jim Schmitt
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posted 28 March 2006 12:19 AM      Profile for Jim Schmitt     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by James:
thorin_bane

Joe is also my MP. Please tell me, what is progressive or left wing about going easy on gun crime? I can think of no redeeming factors, in general, for people so convicted.

Of course, if someone is inflicted by a mental illness, that can explain or excuse, but the law would continue to allow for that.

Violence against the vulnerable is reactionary, whether done by GWB or some thugs on Brock Street. I would deal with both as harshly as our constitution allows.


James, I couldn't agree more. It is reactionary, not progressive, to let let these criminals off the hook. Most VICTIMS of crime are ordinary working people.

It's nice to see Jack and the NDP realize this. Jack is looking more and more like BC Premier Glen Clark (without the baggage, as Clark was guilty of nothing but unfortunately was railroaded by Gordo and the BC Liberal scumbags)...a pro-worker centrist who realized the need to get tough on crime.


From: Port Moody, BC | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 28 March 2006 12:24 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Sounds like the US in the early nineties.

This makes for great hand-wringing rhetoric, but aren't you kind of ignoring the big difference?

The U.S. filled their prisons to capacity by declaring war on drugs. They kept their populace safe from the possibility of two teens smoking a doobie behind the 7/11.

That's a far cry from gun crime.

quote:
Where are all these people going to go.

How many gun criminals do you think we have??


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
thorin_bane
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posted 28 March 2006 12:40 AM      Profile for thorin_bane     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
James, 7 years for a gun crime is a bit long and don't tell me it won't apply to someone who is 17 and dumb enough to involved with a gang. While I don't like gun crimes, mandatory sentances don't give the judge the ability to weigh the cercumstances, if the gun is not loaded 7 years, if it is a minor 7 years, if mentally handicapped 7 years. This is what we are headed for. Or 10 if the ocns get what they want. They funny thing is outside of that aberation in TO last year violent crime and gun crime has been trending downard for sometime now. We are a lot safer now than we where 15 years ago.
From: Looking at the despair of Detroit from across the river! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
simonvallee
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posted 28 March 2006 01:53 AM      Profile for simonvallee   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
That's like saying Canada hasn't fought a war since Korea. Oh, wait: You did say that, in another thread. Well at least you're consistent. Ignorance Is Strength (Orwell).

What the fuck are you talking about? Really, I remember no such discussion, though I do not recall any war waged by the Canadian army since Korea, though it participated in a few bombing missions. I guess it depends what your definition of "fighting a war" is, for that statement to be correct, the expression must mean that soldiers take side in a conflict and that there are major strategic movements and constant involvement in fighting.

But still, there is no prison industry in Canada, prisons aren't a money-making business here, that's why the legal system likes to put people out of prison as quickly as it can. About the only ones who get some cash out of it are guards and the maintenance people, and possibly some big companies which are hired as subcontractors for things like laundry or food. But the people working in prisons have a nuanced view about it and the subcontracting companies either:
a) are too small to form a lobby.
b) are so big that they pretty much don't care much for their activities in prisons.

quote:
On the issues of young offenders and mandatory minimums for gun crimes, yes. On the issue of organized crime, the Bloc has been more consistently right-wing than the Reform/Alliance/Conservatives. Your paragraph of RICO apologetics made me very sad, and I really don't know how to respond to it, so I'll have to stop now. Sorry.

Being hard on organized crime isn't right-wing, it's simple common sense. Those people are exploiting the misery of common people so they can profit from it and are rich enough to exploit the system. To stop their activities, we have to be a step ahead of them and have legislations that let us attack them. You want an industry? This is your industry, the crime industry and by it mere presence it increases criminality as it pushes people into crime to feed the greed of the people of head it.

Carter, you are a fucking joke with your constant demonization of everyone who disagrees with anything you say as a fascist. You have no respect for anyone who doesn't share every one of your ideas, I've seen it in the past and I see it still today with your ridiculous lashing out against me because I dared disagree with you (in a respectful manner I might add). I wouldn't be surprised if you turned out to be a right-winger whose pastime would be to post as a ultra-left-wing anarchist stereotype.


From: Boucherville, Québec | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
James
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posted 28 March 2006 02:43 AM      Profile for James        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by thorin_bane:
James, 7 years for a gun crime is a bit long and don't tell me it won't apply to someone who is 17 and ..,

Yes, as Comartin is saying, 7 yrs, is probably hard against the limit the Charter would allow and, no, it would not apply to a 17 yr, old - theYouth Criminal Justice Act applies to all those under 18. Let's also not forget that 7 yrs means about 28 months before eligability for full parole. My sensibilities can live with that, and I'd guess that those of most other Canadians could as well.

Edit to add; for the record, I too oppose " manditory minimums" on principle

[ 28 March 2006: Message edited by: James ]


From: Windsor; ON | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Carter
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posted 28 March 2006 11:28 AM      Profile for Carter        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by simonvallee:
There is no prison industry AFAIK in Canada, prisons are publicly-owned
The Canadian Forces are publicly owned, therefore there's no such thing as the arms industry. Simon, you're not really being serious, are you?

From: Goin' Down the Road | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
Aristotleded24
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posted 28 March 2006 03:38 PM      Profile for Aristotleded24   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by James:
Joe is also my MP. Please tell me, what is progressive or left wing about going easy on gun crime? I can think of no redeeming factors, in general, for people so convicted.

I remember the NDP in 2004 talking about such things as arming border guards, reinstating ports police, and cracking down on gun smuggling, which are all things I agree with. The problem I see is reactiong to fear-mongering headlines about guns and not taking into account other circumstances. Guns are not even the top choice of weapon used in crimes in Canada, and I think to just crack down on guns because of the screaming headlines without actually examining the problem doesn't really solve anything.


From: Winnipeg | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
thorin_bane
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posted 28 March 2006 08:29 PM      Profile for thorin_bane     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
James I am not so sure if they will be out in only 28 months, I think man-minimums stiplates they must serve the entire term. I am not sure but that is the perception I am getting from the MPs that want this. So for example if I was attacked in my house, I would have to serve time if a waved a gun at the thug and he reported me to the police(a dumb example but plausible).uggh I am very anti-gun but I don't think the min sentance will work. I think it is electioneering by the NDP. If they want to be a choice, make themselves something different than what is presented by the other 2 parties, this is a losing strategy IMHO.
From: Looking at the despair of Detroit from across the river! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
simonvallee
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posted 28 March 2006 09:19 PM      Profile for simonvallee   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Carter:
The Canadian Forces are publicly owned, therefore there's no such thing as the arms industry. Simon, you're not really being serious, are you?

You aren't serious, Carter. The army is another matter completely, it requires weapons and other equipment for warfare which makes it a very profitable business, but there is no correlation between the two sectors, you're basically comparing apples and oranges. There is no profitable industry that leeches off prisons in Canada, which are basically a net-loss operation here in terms of money.


From: Boucherville, Québec | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Jim Schmitt
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posted 28 March 2006 09:58 PM      Profile for Jim Schmitt     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
"Comartin said he thinks Parliament could safely impose minimum terms in the range of five to seven years without violating the charter.

"At this point, I think what we should do is push it near the limit, which in this case is about seven," he said.

Well, I don't think 10 years is unreasonable - especially if Layton is serious about getting tough on crime. And I'm not a fan of much of the Charter. But as long as the Charter is the law of the land, the NDP is being reasonable here. Mandatory minimum sentences for crimes of 5-7 years involving guns sounds reasonable to me.

Seriously, what's with this inverse logic? Penalize gun owners who have committed no crime, but saying that we can't get tough on gun crimes? No wonder the NDP has so much trouble winning back its old working class base in the West. But while imperfect, at least the NDP is taking a step in the right direction.


From: Port Moody, BC | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
thorin_bane
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posted 28 March 2006 10:35 PM      Profile for thorin_bane     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
So you are only interested in punishment I guess. Jail is not only punishemnt. Plus expect to see your taxes go up because at 100,000/year/prisoner there will be a hell of a cost to be paid. Because it would be mandatory tying the judges hands. This is bad bad bad. Increase the penalty is fine but do not make it mandatory. It is already proven that jail is not a deterant so I don't see how telling people you will serve 7 years is all of the sudden going to make them say "Hey I was going to rob this place with a gun but shit I will see 7 years of jail time, I suck using swords and knives, I guess I won't commit the crime." Because that is what they are saying. SO now the NDP is advocating punishment.

I hate gun crime like the rest of you but lets be honest about this. This isn't the correct position.


From: Looking at the despair of Detroit from across the river! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
James
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posted 28 March 2006 11:27 PM      Profile for James        Edit/Delete Post
quote:

I think man-minimums stiplates they must serve the entire term. I am not sure but that is the perception I am getting

The perception is wrong, at least as presently constituted. A minimum sentence provision has absolutely no impact on parole principles or policies.

I stand to be corrected by any true "experts" in the field (Jeff House et al), but I'm 98 % sure of which I speak.


From: Windsor; ON | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
simonvallee
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posted 29 March 2006 12:17 AM      Profile for simonvallee   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Getting "tough on crime" by increasing sentences is smokes and mirrors to caress the ego of those who judge their own righteousness by wanting those who are not righteous to receive harsher and harsher punsihments. I've yet to see any proof, study or even any reasonable argument in favor of stiffer prison sentences in regards to the effects on crime prevention and the security of people in our society. Let's banish our lower instincts and think about what's right and best for society, and take a decision based on that.
From: Boucherville, Québec | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 29 March 2006 12:41 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I have a friend who lives in Kingston and whom describes the entire penal system there as overcrowded and sick. And we want to add to that???
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 29 March 2006 01:33 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've been watching NDP supporters in this thread debate as to whether or not we should get tough on crime.

In Canada.

In our streets.

What has this party come to?

By the way, thorin_bane, I appreciated your arguments and I share them all. That's why I know you won't take it the wrong way when I comment on this quote of yours:

"I hate gun crime like the rest of you but lets be honest about this. This isn't the correct position."

It reminded me of October 2001, in the wake of the post-Sept. 11 manufactured hysteria, when progressive people tried to speak out against the invasion of Afghanistan. They had to preface their remarks by: "Of course, I think terrorism sucks, but..."

And in the lead-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, they had to say: "Of course I think Saddam Hussein is far worse than Hitler and Genghis Khan and Stalin put together, but..."

These were the finest people with the noblest sentiments, but they were surrounded by a right-wing hysteria, a climate of fear, which stopped them from speaking their minds without the slightest equivocation - the way we all did during the U.S. aggression in Indochina, when we boldly wished victory to the Vietnamese people, and we didn't always have to add, "oh but my goodness we do support our troops too of course..."


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
thorin_bane
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posted 29 March 2006 07:35 PM      Profile for thorin_bane     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I know, why must we preface anything with that. I feel kinda silly in a way, who really likes gun crime, I suppose even your average street thug would prefer if he wasn't such a scared shitbag and could just rob you without having to resort to something like that. Welcome to conservative canada where you have to preface all statements with common sense.
Oh BTW I support the troops, BUUUT I think we need to bring the home.
This has been a public service announcement.

From: Looking at the despair of Detroit from across the river! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
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posted 29 March 2006 08:04 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The problem with those locutions isn't just the acceptance of the dominant discourse, or the banality of the prefatory clauses. It's also the use of the word "but". (This relates to Rasmus' discussion of framing on another current thread.)

"But" in this context indicates that you're going to say one thing and then contradict it. Better to use "and", or another conjunction that implies a logical connection between the first clause and the second, assuming of course that you can actually show that connection.

E.g.:

"I support our troops, which is one of the reasons that I want to get them out of an environment where they're being put in harm's way (and where they're putting civilians in harm's way) to no useful purpose."

"Terrorism sucks. And what the September 11 terrorists were retaliating against was the exercise of state terror over a long period of time. Terror begets terror."

"I hate gun crime, AND there are much better ways to reduce it than by imposing mandatory minimum sentences, such as...."

Just make sure that in expressing yourself this way, your argument doesn't become too obviously contorted, as in the case of John Kerry's infamous "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."

[ 29 March 2006: Message edited by: Yossarian ]


From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Carter
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posted 29 March 2006 08:38 PM      Profile for Carter        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:
These were the finest people with the noblest sentiments, but they were surrounded by a right-wing hysteria, a climate of fear, which stopped them from speaking their minds without the slightest equivocation - the way we all did during the U.S. aggression in Indochina, when we boldly wished victory to the Vietnamese people, and we didn't always have to add, "oh but my goodness we do support our troops too of course..."
I basically agree, but I don't think I would put it the same way. The problem today is not that we don't have people waving Baathist flags at anti-war demonstrations, or attempting cadre organization among Toronto street gangs. The sixties were great, but come on, they weren't perfect.

Instead, the problem with having to preface all of our arguments with "well of course I deplore the evil Saddam/terroristm/street gangs, but..." is the breathtaking inanity of it. Everyone agrees that all of these things are bad; it really should go without saying. But unfortunately it doesn't go without saying, because the right has managed to set the terms of the debate in such a way that their opponents are expected to spend half their time falling all over themselves making these really banal pro forma denunciations. And, as is usually the case these days, when Bryant Gumbel is only giving you 20 seconds to pitch your soundbite before cutting you off (or Bill O'Reilly 3 seconds), wasting half of it on these irrelevant trivialities doesn't leave you with very much left.

Further up in the thread, another poster defended the NDP's get-tough-on-gun-crime approach by pointing out that gang members who shoot handguns into crowded sidewalks in Toronto are "reactionary." Well, like, no duh. Of course they are: That's why I don't vote for them. But what's never adequately explained is how the fact that street gangs are "non-progressive" is supposed to justify throwing away judicial discretion in sentencing and the burden of proof in bail hearings, and locking gang members in prison camps for one, two, even several decades. What's the connection? Similarly, of course Saddam is a son of a bitch. But what on earth does that have to do with whether or not our government should be dropping cluster bombs on Iraqi civilians and marching into Baghdad? Just because they're bad, why does that mean we have to be worse?

Yes, I know all about the "contexts" these despotic measures arose out of. The gun violence that these mandatory minimum supporters deplore really is deplorable. The PATRIOT Act didn't spring up out of a vacuum, but instead was passed after a very real and devastating terrorist attack on the US. Michelle Malkin is (let's assume) correct that the internment of the Japanese wasn't some half-baked, fly-by-night scheme but rather was in "response to" a real danger of sabotage by Japanese spies. I know all of these things perfectly well, but I don't give a flying fuck about any of them. None of them make any of these measures a single smidgen of an iota more justified.

And the other problem with being forced to always preface your arguments with these banal denunciations of obviously evils like terrorism or gun crime is that it doesn't allow you to focus enough your attention on the evils that for whatever reason are more pressing, such as the ones you're paying for. There may for instance be criminal street gangs running around kidnapping people: That's terrible, and absolutely 100% unjustified. But since they're doing so with their own money I don't think I should be spending as much time denouncing them as denouncing the mass kidnappings committed with my money, under the guise of the penal system. The Taliban's murders of Afghanis were evil and horrific; but I feel a more pressing need to spend my time talking about the Afghanis whose murders I was forced to pay for.


From: Goin' Down the Road | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
otter
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12062

posted 02 April 2006 08:15 PM      Profile for otter        Edit/Delete Post
Being 'tough' on current offenders is one thing. And crimes involving guns need HUGE sanctions as a consequence as well as a deterrent. But so does violence of any kind.

But after all the breast-beating and pontificating is done, there is still no honest commitment to promote crime prevention as just as important a priority as crime responding. Perhaps because the policy makers usually live and travel in areas that enjoy all the security protections that money can buy.

an alternate forum for crime prevention discourse

We have not even considered nationally bully-proofing our schools as a first step towards curbing violence in our communities. Instead, anti-bullying programs only appear after a particular brutal event occurs at the school. Nor have we confronted the wealth of knowledge that abuse is most prevelant and severe between family members and siblings are the worst offenders.

violence really can begin at home, for a multitude of reasons.

[ 02 April 2006: Message edited by: otter ]


From: agent provocateur inc. | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
kylebailey260
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11330

posted 03 April 2006 01:15 AM      Profile for kylebailey260     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think one of the things that we don't fight enough is the crime stats that always get used for justification. For instance, people use examples like Sweden and Britain to "prove" that a low incarceration rate is linked to a high crime rate- completely ignoring the fact that the types of crimes being counted is entirely different.
I think Canadians are smart enough to get some of the nuances on crime rates. We need to start telling them.

From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
kylebailey260
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11330

posted 03 April 2006 01:34 AM      Profile for kylebailey260     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
For example, I'm willing to bet that the rate of reporting of crime has steadily gone up. Since crime statistics usually look at police stats, this leaves us under false impressions of the dangerous rising tide of crime.
Can anyone point to a studyof reporting rates of Canadian crime?

I agree wholeheartedly that the NDP should not push for mand. mins- they should basically keep the rest of their 'prevention' platform. During the debates, I got so pissed off that Gilles was theonly one talkng sense.


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 03 April 2006 02:17 AM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Not only don't mandatory minimums work, but as (I think) Grace-Edward Galabuzi said at a recent meeting of progressive black activists in Toronto (Howard Hampton was also present), the victims of these crimes are generally from the same population as the perpetrators. Mandatory minimums won't make them any safer. But they make white people feel better.

Not only that, but to accept mandatory minimums as part of the solution to crime is to miss an important opportunity to educate people on neoliberalism and how we got here. Back when the cutbacks to social services started, any number of progressives predicted an increase in crime as a result. Instead of talking about this, during the recent election the NDP bought in to the neoliberal frame, in which you disappear the social question and you individualize the behavior and blame the victim, in particular, subjecting young men of colour to harsh regimes of policing and control.

During the election debates, Duceppe talked very clearly and reasonably about how mandatory minimums don't work. Jack joined the chorus of the right wing parties. And now that parliament is nigh, we see the NDP is actually trying for a more right-wing position than the Liberals. Let's push it as far as the constitution will let us, Comartin says! And Comartin is supposed to be on the left wing of the caucus. It's quite depressing.

I'm ashamed that I didn't have a more vital reaction when the NDP first took this position during the election.

[ 03 April 2006: Message edited by: rasmus raven ]


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pogo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2999

posted 03 April 2006 11:45 PM      Profile for Pogo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The NDP sucks on this issue. I think we should be tough on crime it just means something different for me.

First and foremost that means catching criminals and prosecuting them effectively. More resources to catch criminals, and more resources to provide swift justice. Shorten the time-lag between the act and judgement.

I would look at revising how we sentence in a cosmetic nature. If the sentence is divided in thirds, with parole being available in the second third and mandatory in the last third why don't we refer to the sentence length by the first third. The remaining two thirds are then looked on community reintergration and not pure incarceration.

Next when people are in the justice system treat it for what it is, a rare opportunity to influence them for the rest of their lives and take full advantage of it. Currently our prisons are just a 'warehouse of bodies' to coin a NFB documentary title. We need to do more.

Then turn to the causes of crime. Identify the easy/cheap fixes and do them. Identify the harder fixes and create honest goals.

The NDP can be tough on crime without turning to sentencing methods whose only value is that they are politically expedient. Even if they have to capitulate on this issue because of the public mood, do they have to also try and lead the parade?


From: Richmond BC | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged

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