Posted by: Nathan M. | February 26, 2009

Being Tough on Crime…When Crime Doesn’t Care

PM expects opposition to ‘parrot’ critics of anti-gang measures
Speaking in Vancouver, a city that has seen 18 shootings in the past month, Harper said the Tories received the Canadian public’s backing in the last election to ensure violent criminals face strong penalties.
“The truth of the matter is, those who say that the tougher penalties on perpetrators will not work don’t want them to work because they don’t believe in his kind of approach,” he told reporters.
The proposed amendments to the Criminal Code would make any gang-related homicide a first-degree murder charge, as well as create a new charge for drive-by shootings that would carry a mandatory four-year minimum sentence upon conviction, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said.
This bill simply does not recognize the real issue in gangs. Gang-members are not going to be frightened off by stiffer sentences. If anything, stiffer sentencing procedures will push gang-members to go further in order to prove themselves to their mates. The whole psychology of gangs is that of pride and reputation. Gang-members do what they’re told to by the gang, and do what they need to in order to maintain the respect and loyalty of the gang.
Harper’s claim that people who oppose this type of approach don’t want it to work is absolutely ridiculous. I seriously doubt that there are people out there that don’t want crime to slacken. The fact is that time and history have shown that stiffer sentences in our society don’t work. There is a reason why people “don’t believe in this kind of approach”.
The sad thing about this is, all of the propaganda and rhetoric about being hard on crime conceals the tragedy that sentencing like this creates-gang-members are teenagers and kids. These kids are generally caught in a situation where the only security that they can find in their lives is to join a gang. If the government truly wants to end gang crimes, than the government needs to address the root of the issue: bad parenting, and bad atmosphere for growth in the gang-member’s life. I have never seen anyone with good parents who has joined a gang. Something that I have always thought strange-you need a license to drive a car, but not to raise a child. The problem is, most of the people that end up raising kids that join gangs can hardly be blamed in the first place because they were born on the bottom of the rung, and were forced to make it on their own too. This bill is a lame-duck way of trying to convince the public that the government is doing something, without giving any kind of thought or effort into fixing the real problem. God help us, this is not the first time or the last time that the government has used this method.


  1. I do agree with you. The government is stuck in the habit of trying to find a “quick fix” for everything. If they just spent a little more time and energy, and yes, money, and examine Canadian family life and how parenting in Canada can be improved, then they might actually end up seeing some results! Sometimes it’s suprising to see that our politicians can’t understand how all these things are inter-related and the root cause for a problem is not always right in front of you. Makes you somewhat question their intelligence as well.


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