If Canada follows through on plans to crack down on miscreant youth, it’ll be one of the few jurisdictions in the world heading in that direction.
And the tough-on-crime approach in the face of contrary evidence is bemusing international observers.
Judges, criminologists and policy-makers in the United States, Britain and Australia – countries whose systems, for the most part, closely resemble Canada’s – can’t figure out why this country is planning to shift toward a jail-intensive approach. Everyone else seems to be doing the opposite, not for ideological reasons, but because evidence shows it works.
The Conservative crime agenda has never substantiated itself with evidence. When confronted with clear statistics, we here nonsensical things like "non reported crime" or fabrications, or one off stories that are used to solicit fear. As well, there seems no transparency on the costs of this reckless crime agenda, even though we already have evidence of ballooning expenditures, PRIOR to many of these laws manifesting themselves.
For years, Canadians have looked south and largely shaken their heads at the almost primal system of justice, the levels of imprisonment. And yet, we are now in a situation where Americans are looking north wondering what we are doing, moving in the opposition direction. Just as other jurisdictions are waking up to the folly of past policy, we are adopting that failed model. It is truly ASININE and disturbing, and yet saleable because the Conservatives have used electoral ignorance to advantage, sensationalized the real issues to create superficial support. Rather than "good government" we get "good strategy", so there is no political consequence here for what amounts to a completely irresponsible crime agenda.
Canadians will pay a very high price, both literally and figuratively in the coming years, as we truly digest the seismic changes these ideological amateurs have brought. Evidence based policy has been replaced by "we know best" laymen mentalities, and that is a very dangerous development.
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