Dear friends,

Together, we've sent over 33,000 messages to our federal and provincial leaders demanding they stop the cruel Crime Bill. Now, as Prime Minister Harper rushes to get his ineffective and costly bill through Parliament, we need your help to tell Canadians the truth about the damage it will do to our society by writing a letter to the editor of your local paper.

Please read below for how to send your letter to the editor...


As you know, our Government is rushing an ineffective, costly and cruel Crime Bill through Parliament. Even conservative Texans are warning us not to follow a failed fill-the-prisons approach to justice that will make Canada meaner, not safer.

Can you help us reach millions of Canadians by writing a letter to the editor of your local paper? We'll show you how below.

Our Government’s strategy is to convince Canadians that they are imposing harsher sentences to protect victims and make our streets safer. But experience shows that mandatory sentences backfire. They take resources from crime prevention and rehabilitation, turn minor offenders into hardened criminals, and create a revolving door for more prisoners in ever larger prisons.1

Now, a growing chorus of diverse citizens, experts and provincial governments are speaking out against the Crime Bill. Yesterday, the President of the Canadian Bar Association penned a powerful Op-Ed, stating that Canada has some of the safest communities in the world:

“This bill will do nothing to improve that state of affairs but, through its overreach and overreaction to imaginary problems, Bill C-10 could easily make it worse. It could eventually create the very problems it’s supposed to solve.” – Trinda L. Ernst, President of the Canadian Bar Association1

In turn, the Conservatives are racing to pass the Crime Bill before more Canadians learn about its true effects on our society, because they know the facts are not on their side.

Today, I need your help to write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Politicians pay close attention to the media, especially when they know they are weak on an issue. Together, we can reach millions of Canadians, and counter the Conservatives’ message that Canadians want a “tough on crime” agenda.2

Here’s how to send your letter to the editor:
  1. Think of a paper people in your community pick up regularly - a local or free paper is fine.
  2. Check out this fantastic list to see if there’s an email contact for your paper: http://www.canadians.org/wordwarriors/contacts.html
  3. If not, go on the paper’s website, and look for the “contact us” link or similar, to find an email for letters to the editor.
  4. Open up a new email, and write your letter (see below). Include your full name, address and phone number as many papers will not publish without.
  5. Important: Please cc or bcc me when you send - matthew@leadnow.ca - so we can keep track.
It’s best if you write the letter in your own words, and keep it short (200 words max). Here are some key points you can use:
  • The Omnibus Crime Bill is a proven failure. Conservative Texans are warning us not to follow a failed fill-the-prisons approach to justice, and the Canadian Bar Association, representing 37,000 Canadian legal professionals, has said the Bill “would move Canada along a road that has failed in other countries, at great expense”.
  • Mandatory sentences backfire. They take precious resources from crime prevention programs and rehabilitation, and turn minor offenders into hardened criminals.
  • The Crime Bill will make inequality worse. It's not tough on crime, it’s tough on Canadians suffering from mental illness, addictions, and poverty. It targets youth for harsher punishments, and it will put more Aboriginal people in prison.
  • The Crime Bill threatens valuable programs. Mandatory sentences will clog the justice system and fill prisons, forcing the provinces, who pay for most of our justice system, to raise taxes, increase debt, or cut spending on essential programs like health and education.
  • Across the country, Canadians are speaking out. Prime Minister Harper claims that Canadians support tough on crime laws, but tens of thousands of Canadians are publicly demanding their provinces refuse to pay for the Crime Bill. Quebec and Ontario have already refused to pay for a strategy that has been tried, and failed.
  • We need to make Canada safer, not meaner. To reduce crime we should focus on what's already working - prevention and rehabilitation - and address the major causes of crime by reducing inequality and supporting people who need help. The Conservatives’ cruel Crime Bill will do none of this, and ultimately will make us meaner, and less safe.
It’s vitally important that we let Canadians know the truth about this dangerous Crime Bill. Every letter to the editor counts, and we need to respond fast to get them printed as soon as possible, so please send yours in today.

Thank you,
Matthew, on behalf of the Leadnow.ca team

Sources:

[1] 10 reasons to oppose Bill C-10, Trinda L. Ernst, President, Canadian Bar Association:
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1086785--10-reasons-to-oppose-bill-c-10

[2] Public wants get-tough-on-crime approach, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson:
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters/article/1085486--public-wants-get-tough-on-crime-approach



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