Re: Not all of MP's constituents in favour of Tory crime bill, letter to the editor, Dec. 14
Whenever the federal opposition parties sling their twaddle about Conservative criminal justice policy lacking empirical support or draining money from critical social programs (which are primarily provincial jurisdiction if they actually read the Canadian constitution), I notice they neglect to do some basic research of their own.
Although the budget of the Correctional Service of Canada has doubled from $1.5 billion under the Liberals to nearly $3 billion this year, funding for that agency comprises just over one per cent of all federal expenditures (minus interest on the debt). It is definitely not siphoning money from the incompetent band council of the Attawapiskat reserve.
On the legal front, the Supreme Court of Canada stated in R. v. Smith (Edward Dewey) (1987) that a "minimum term of imprisonment is not in and of itself cruel and unusual" punishment under the Charter of Rights. They just have to be proportionate to the offence.
As for empiricism, prisons are essential institutions because evil people exist amongst us whether you live in coddled Europe or the self-reliant U.S.
Prevention is a worthy aspiration but the criminal population still has to be incapacitated. Public safety cannot be deferred for a generation.