Vancouver - Groups of Canadians opposed to the Omnibus Crime Bill, bill C-10, gathered today at the constituency offices of over 120 MPs to say: “Don’t mess up like Texas, stop the cruel Crime Bill.” The actions were the first wave of Stand Against the Omnibus Crime Bill, a two day event that concludes Friday evening.
Participants arrived at the offices wearing cowboy hats to call attention to the fact that Republican Texans are warning Canada not to make their mistake by focusing on mandatory and harsh sentences to reduce crime. Texas’s “tough on crime” policies proved a costly failure, and it is now investing in proven and cost effective crime prevention and rehabilitation strategies.
"I am joining these actions because I believe that this bill has deep and far-reaching consequences and will send Canadian justice in the wrong direction,” said Julia Pope, coordinator of today’s action at Conservative MP Dan Albas’ constituency office in Penticton, British Columbia. “Bill C-10 will cost taxpayers billions of dollars and will erode public safety by creating a massive, incarcerated population and eliminating the ability of judges and prosecutors to divert non-violent offenders.”
The 140 actions were organized over five days using social media, with volunteer leaders signing up to be responsible for their constituency office online. Many of the volunteer leaders said that this was their first time leading a demonstration, and that they had chosen to act because they felt so strongly about the Omnibus Crime Bill.
Two organizations, Leadnow.ca and Reclaim our Democratic Canada, are working in a coalition to coordinate the events. MP’s are being presented with a petition organized by Leadnow.ca with over 29,000 signatures, and a copy of the Canadian Bar Association’s damning 10-point critique of the Omnibus Crime Bill.
“Mandatory minimum sentences remove the ability of judges to sentence offenders based on the unique circumstances of the crime and the offender. This bill is born out of warehousing mentality for criminal offending and completely ignores the multiple underlying reasons for criminal behavior, which most frequently involve mental illnesses, fetal alcohol syndrome, poverty and drug addiction,” said Pope.
Leadnow.ca’s petition calls for the Omnibus Crime Bill to be stopped, and for Parliament to establish a Citizen’s Assembly for Canadian Justice that would bring diverse citizens and experts together to create a new plan that would build on decades of evidence to make Canada safer, not meaner.
National: Jamie Biggar, Executive Director of Leadnow.ca, firstname.lastname@example.org
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