NDP MP slams Tories over new organized crime regulations
NDP MP Libby Davies says it's "outrageous" that the Conservative government has quietly enacted new organized crime regulations — which include making bawdyhouse offences a "serious crime" — while Parliament is on summer break.
As part of its plan to crack down on organized crime, the federal government put through several regulatory changes to the Criminal Code in the middle of July. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced the changes on Wednesday.
"The fact that an offence is committed by a criminal organization makes it a serious crime," Nicholson stated in a press release. "These regulations will help ensure that police and prosecutors can make full use of the tools in the Criminal Code that are specifically targeted at tackling organized crime."
While most of the regulatory changes announced to the Criminal Code affect gambling, betting or drug trafficking, the government also included "keeping a common bawdyhouse (subsection 210(1) and paragraph 210(2)(c))."
Bawdyhouse laws have been repeatedly used by police to target gay bathhouses and raid them, as recently as 2002 in Calgary and 2004 in Hamilton.
NDP MP Libby Davies, who has studied the country's laws around bawdyhouses and sex work, is concerned.
"It's outrageous that they do it in the dead of summer," Davies says. "This is such a characteristic now of the Conservative government — they bring about manoeuvres and policy changes and announce them when they think no one's paying attention.
"To have changes to the Criminal Code that are regulatory and to do it outside of Parliament, when there's less chance of scrutiny because everybody's away, is terrible. It means that we can't hold the government to account because everyone's away, because Parliament's not sitting."
"If their intent is to put a tighter grip around bawdyhouses, then that will affect sex workers, and it will affect their safety and their rights. We should be very concerned about what they're up to here."
Liberal public safety critic Mark Holland has also raised red flags. "When you do legislation as a political weapon, when you do legislation in the middle of the night with no consultation, no utilization of Parliamentary committee, and you just whip it together to try to change the channel politically, it has all kinds of unintended consequences," he says.
Justice officials state in the release that making these provisions serious offences will make it easier for police and prosecutors to take full advantage of specific Criminal Code offences dealing with organized crime.
Davies begs to differ.
"We shouldn't be under any illusions that they're in some way protecting people because the story is, is on their crime agenda, their laws are actually very harmful — particularly when it comes to people who are in vulnerable positions, such as sex workers or people who use drugs."
This is the worst case of Karl Rove/George Bush "scare the crap outta people" politics we've ever seen. Harper and his social conservatives what people to believe that crime is getting worse in this country because they believe it's a good campaign issue for them. This is just twisted. This is why the Tories want to make Stats Canada useless - so they can make stuff up, and no one will have the data to disprove them.
The crimes being committed are crimes of stupidity that are perpetrated upon us
Surely if no one reports a "crime", nobody can be brought to justice for a crime that was not "reported' so how can we imprison anybody?
By the way, when incidents are "reported" that by definition takes them our of the realm of being "unreported": Hence an investigation can be initiated (depending on circumstances; whether it is a serious crime, and whether or not the police force is at Horton's ejoying their do-nut.)
The point is, only "reported" crimes can be "punished". Unreported crimes go unpunished, because . . . well, you figure it out from there.
Geez, these Conservatives: Dumb, dumb, dumb and dumber . . .
First; if the crimes are unreported there is no police investigation. If there is no police investigation there are no suspects to arrest. If no one is arrested and charged there is no one to send to prison. So what is Day really saying here? We are going to put people who do not exist in prison? What an idiot!
To suggest Stockwell Day is calling for jailing non existent criminals and thus justifying his call for more jail cells is both fatuous and ridiculous, get a grip folks!
Crime requires more complex solutions than either the neocon iron fist or the liberal namby-pamby "forgive the poor little (insert some socioeconomic or racial identifier here) for he knows not what he does."
The solutions have to span the range, from dealing with root causes to providing legitimate economic activity and sufficient childhood activities (community activity centers, etc.) to a justice system that toughens up the process of punishment and rehabilitation. Progressive mandatory sentences, as in mandatory sentences that increase with each offence, jails where prisoners are actually expected to work and abide by accepted protocols (a military protocol, perhaps) (which makes the idea of re-offending less and less attractive), and providing skillsets so that prisoners don't leave prison only to find crime is all they know.