Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It Could Get Worse - Letter From C10 Opposition...

I've taken another look at the "It Could Get Worse" campaign and find I really like some of the messages being projected out there and have concern about some others!
I'm all for average community members from a variety of social locations coming out to oppose C10!  In fact this is one piece which has been somewhat lacking over the last view years.  Those who have come out to oppose all of the incarnations of C10 have done so because their experience and background have provided them with sufficient factual based information telling of the disaster to come.when Bill is passed into law.  Average persons likely don't have backgrounds around issues like poverty, life long trauma, and criminalization and so wont have developed a thorough critique of these subjects either.

However when we speak from our hearts publicaly about a topic we know little about, one must proceed with caution.  I totally get that none of us has the time to fully study every single issue....but we should at the very least take whatever minimal time is required to investigate some of the arguments from each side and perhaps short of a fuller, more complete investigation, take our own positions within the realm of those issues we have had the time to look at...
Without appropriate caution we run the risk of perpetuating myths and stereotypes which do more harm than good and in some cases even bolster those on the opposite side of an argument.  Take a look at the following letter opposing C10 for instance.  It is immediately obvious that the author has little knowledge around issues affecting criminalization, and incarceration.  However it is probable that their approach to social issues have a left leaning.   sj, Nov 29, 2011
A note of concern re:Omnibus crime-Bill C-10.
While we can understand the need for a tougher stance on SERIOUS crime (Does not spell out what is “serious crime” or even “crime” in general) we strongly feel that minor offenses and first-time offenders shouldn’t be placed in the same category as hardened criminals.(minor offences”, “first time offenders”, “hardened criminals”??? Sounds like the right speaking here. We need to be very careful when dividing the “deserving” lawbreakers from the “undeserving” lawbreakers. Really there is no such thing as a hardened criminal, only those who have been forced to survive the most harrowing of life circumstances.)
The court/justice/incarceration costs alone would be prohibitive if this Bill is allowed to pass without alterations….i.e. both thoroughly and thoughtfully…clause by clause .We would rather that the government be more fiscally responsible . (Again focusing on arguments perceived to be from those opposing C10. The financial burden argument is the safest one against the Bill and one that some conservatives are sure to take. Though it is an important issue, its equally important to stress why.)
The societal costs could indeed be much higher ..the ‘lifelong record ‘, possible job loss, relationship ramifications etc.that our citizens might have to bear for a possibly very minor crime would make the passage of Bill C-10 “as is”  quite intolerable .  (Here the author talks of the social costs and then does go on to list some important ones. But besides cringing at the language used here I wonder at the contradiction around the notion of “hardened criminals” in the first point and then concern over a “lifelong record” in this last point. Since only those who likely fall under the author's definition of “hardened criminal” [repeat lawbreakers, violent lawbreakers] will be those refused pardons under C10. And the letter seems to imply that sanctions against the “hardened criminal” are more acceptable than those applied against first timers. Again I want to stress that the effort to learn about this issue and then to speak out against it are valiant, But please take the 30mins. required to learn about an issue, before “safely” speaking out against it, least you damage the very cause you seek to assist!)
What happened to that wonderful (or illusory!) democratic notion of  public consultation ??
Please attend to ( FIX) the problem quickly.

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