Beyond Prohibition Foundation Commends Liberal Party of Canada for Opposing Bill S-10 (Press Release)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 9, 2011
CONTACT: Jacob Hunter at 604.803.4085 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Kirk Tousaw at email@example.com
Beyond Prohibition Foundation Commends Liberal Party of Canada for Opposing Bill S-10
Today the Liberal Party of Canada announced that it would vote down Bill S-10, a cornerstone of the Harper Conservative’s incarceration agenda, which would have imposed mandatory jail sentences on non-violent minor drug offenders. The Beyond Prohibition Foundation commends the Liberal Party for standing up to Mr. Harper’s false “soft on crime” slurs and defeating this dangerous, enormously expensive and ideologically-driven legislation.
“We are extremely pleased that the Liberal Party has made its decision on the basis of evidence,” noted Kirk Tousaw, Executive Director of the Foundation, “This punishment plan would not have reduced crime, nor would it have made Canadian safer from the influence of gangs. In fact, the Foundation has long argued that the evidence is clear that ramping up a war on drugs has the perverse effect of making drugs more available, cheaper and more potent while simultaneously increasing the profitability and violent tendencies of organized criminals. Today the Liberal Party of Canada decided to be smart on crime.”
The legislation had previously been the subject of intense criticism during two rounds of testimony before committees of the Senate and House of Commons. Experts from Canada, the United States and abroad testified that other jurisdictions using mandatory jail terms have worse crime and drug problems than Canada, and that these experiments have been expensive failures. Despite this, the Harper Conservatives have been pushing for the legislation for years.
“The Foundation knew that the Conservatives would not listen to expert advice and, therefore, we made a strategic decision early on to appeal to the Liberal Party,” explained Jacob Hunter, the Foundation’s Policy Director. “We believed that the Liberals would understand that making economically and socially smart decisions with Canadian’s tax dollars would be a political benefit, not a liability. Everyone knew that Mr. Harper would attempt to fool Canadians with ‘soft on crime’ rhetoric but the Foundation believes that our citizens are smarter than that. We are very pleased the Liberal Party agrees.”
Earlier this week, the government refused to tell the House how much its incarceration agenda would cost Canadians. “Mr. Harper tried to use fear to sell Canadians on a multi-billion dollar legislative boondoggle by hiding the costs and falsely describing it as targeting only major criminals.
Instead, it would have almost exclusively punished non-violent small time drug offenders. Now that the legislation appears doomed, we urge all Parliamentarians to conduct a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of drug prohibition. Its time to reject the failed approaches of the past and, instead, to work toward putting criminals out of business by ending the war on drugs,” Tousaw continued.
Canada: Voice Your Opposition to Costly Mandatory Minimum Sentencing for Drug-Related Offenses (Action Alert)
The federal government of Canada is currently considering Bill S-10, which proposes legislative amendments that, among other things, would introduce mandatory minimum prison sentences for certain drug-related offenses. Research clearly demonstrates that mandatory minimum sentences are extremely expensive to the taxpayer and do not meaningfully improve public health and safety nor reduce drug use or crime in communities.
The Urban Health Research Initiative is inviting concerned health practitioners, scientists, researchers and academics in Canada to join it in supporting evidence-based drug prevention and treatment initiatives and opposing the introduction of costly and ineffective mandatory minimum sentencing legislation. Please see the sign-on letter at http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6452/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY....