Stomach-churning (II)


Dan Gardner on the government’s latest crime legislation.

Is it broadly popular? Absolutely. Will it please the Conservatives’ disgruntled base? Certainly. Will it make streets safer or the justice system more just? Not in the slightest.


Stomach-churning (II)

  1. Yes Dan, letting murderers and rapists walk without jailtime makes the streets safer and the justice system more just, now pass the bong dude. Thhhhhhhhhhhhpt….ahhhhhhhhh

    What a buzzkill this Harper dude is for proposing that we move from a system that is insanely soft on crime to one that is merely preposterously soft on crime.

    Garth sez: Was it Amilius Papinianus or Justinian who first elucidated the now universally accepted idea that there should be no meaningful punishment for crime?

    I forget, but this is Magna Carta stuff we’re talking here, our ancient right to suffer no consequences whatsoever for our actions.

    It is said that a woman could walk from one end of Ghengis Khan’s empire to the other with a bag of gold unmolested, such was the law and order of a society which apparently punished everything with death. I say: what fun is that? No crime? Feh, what will we do for Law and Order scripts?

    • What a wonderful response. Wonderfully irrelevant, that is. Did you even read Gardner’s piece? If you did, you certainly didn’t understand it. Or chose not to, more likely.

    • Way to miss the pt. If the tories really care, then reform the system and reduce remand time, thereby eliminating the need for two for one. But that’s not politically a winner. Pathetic tory govt!

  2. “Will it make streets safer or the justice system more just? Not in the slightest.”

    Why will keeping criminals in jail longer not make the streets safer? I assume Dan knows recidivist rates so his argument that keeping criminals in jail does not reduce crime is bollocks. And I would argue that making criminals spend their entire sentence in jail, and not having time reduced because jail conditions don’t match that of a country club, sounds just to me.

    • Exactly. It’s about justice. Something that seems to get lost all to often in the crime debate.

      • The article was about fixing the real problems, instead of pandering to people like you two, i guess it works. Jwl missing the pt yet again – maybe Harper’s pandering does work!

        • There you go again, telling everyone what the ‘point’ of the article is when we are all perfectly capable of reaching our own conclusions.

          Gardner’s article was particularly asinine. His main point seems to be: “So why aren’t the Conservatives talking about how to unclog the arteries of the justice system and make it work better? Because that’s administrative reform.”

          If Gardner took a moment and looked at Constitution and the Criminal Code he would know that Feds enact criminal laws but provs are responsible for administration of court system so the reason Harper/Cons aren’t talking about admin reform is because it is not their area of responsibility. If Gardner is unhappy with the fact that people spend a long time in remand than he should be writing angry columns about provincial premiers, not the Fed government.

          • I understand it’s hard to see when yr wearing a paper bag on yr head labelled, “i’m a conservative and i don’t care, as long as they do the time”.
            Not our area of responsibility – Harper’s epitaph. Look forward to lots more of it folks if the tories ever get a majority. It’s the perfect built in excuse – almost as good as, the liberals made us !

            I hardly think Garner’s as dumb as you seem to think, but if you should be right – i doubt it’s that simple, then it’s a system set up for failure. So it still needs fixing.

          • KC, is it really so hard to type “your” instead of “yr”? Do you write your comments on a cell phone? If you do, then I take it back.

            Gardner is not dumb, he’s just biased.

            And frankly, I have no doubt in my mind that keeping criminals in prison longer makes the streets safer. It’s a no-brainer.

          • sf
            So your as equally unconcerned as jwl re: remand time, bear in mind some of those people will be found innocent. Incidentally, if the remand situation is fixed, there would be no need for 2 for one, would there?

        • “The essential thing to bear in mind when examining the Harper government’s policies on crime is that they are not about crime. They are about politics.”

  3. I think everyone here owes it to themselves to visit Bob Tarantino’s blog on the issue in question. I’m not going to explicitly divert traffic by linking directly, but if you’re interested, Google “Bob Tarantino”, and read his take on the 2 for 1 credit (in particular, his rebuttal to Gardner’s piece). It’s worth your time, I’d say.

    Incidentally, is there any column slagging the Tories that Aaron won’t link to? It’s not like he’s introducing anyone here to Dan Gardner. Just tossing that out there.

    • C’mon, it’s a natural after the Brodie piece.

      • Olaf
        That was a pretty good rebuttal. It could have done without all the cheap polemics though, a la Steyn…boy that guy has a lot to answer for. Tarantinos replys on the charge of gimicky cheap little reforms is: “Whatya expect – spensive big reforms” [ cheapshot] and: the report on remand conditions is dismissed out of hand because…gasp…it came from the sixties! Unchain your mind from the 50s Mr T; the sixties look pretty good from there.[ or here sometimes]
        Tarantino’s best point is that if fixing reform is the goal than 2for 1 is no fix, and may even do harm since it cuts down on the portion of the sentence where facilities are available. Then he goes prattling on about deterrence and punishment of people who are still innocent – funny, missed that in magna carta. Better yet his excuse for why we can’t fix the problem: “it’s too hard”since it’s a provincial responsibility – you know i believe that will be engraved on Canada’s tombstone one day: ” died of neglect, was it a provincial responsibility…or
        I also noted no concern on Mr Ts part re: the fact that those held in remand are still innocent until proven guilty. Like many conservatives he seems to naturally assume, if you’re there, it must be for a reason.
        Actually i’m mostly persuade that 2 for 1 is pretty generous – but what about simple time served? Isn’t that just a matter of basic justice! Anyway, fix the bloody remand politicians, and stop your cheap politicking for god’s sake!!!

        • I’m with KC. Well said!

    • A very good rebuttal, absolutely dead-on. For the life of me I cannot understand 2 for 1, there seems to be no reasonable logic behind it.

  4. Apparently, this is all old news. Obsolete, if you will. I just now drove through downtown Waterloo–true story–and there was a gang on the streetcorner. A gang of bankers, economists, MBA types, with their suits and ties, perfectly coifed hair, and manicured nails. Made me shudder just to look at them.

    Then, while I was still stopped at the light, I saw it–the exchange of crack. Crackberry of course, and they tried to hide it, but the one guy couldn’t resist a twirl while he stuffed it in his creased pants pocket.

    With criminals like this roaming the streets, the biker gangs and other hoodlums don’t stand a chance.

    No, seriously, I honestly just saw this.

      • Not to put a damper on your enthusiasm as to where the real criminals hang out these days and what the appropriate response is to anti-social behaviour of any and all kinds but the questions that Mr. Gardener has brought to light recently reminded me to check where I stand on certain issues. It was quite awhile ago that I took these quizzes but I just re-wrote the tests and it turns out I must be set in my ways because my scores have not changed measurably.

        In the interest of full disclosure I have inserted my most recent score beneath the appropriate URL. I have no idea whether I should be appalled at my naivety or pleased that I remain, I hope, an optimist as to the human condition?

        Before anyone attempts these may I please point out the idealist’s rebuttal to the realist; “Sure that’ll work in practice, but it would never fly in theory.”


        My score:

        Economic Left/Right: -5.50
        Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.92

        Puts me in about the same area as the Dalai Lama.

        The scores of several Composers can be found on the menu of the left hand column if anyone is curious whether their musical tastes match their political leanings?


        My score:

        My #1 is: American ”Liberal”
        My #2 is: Social Democratic
        My #3 is: Social-Liberal
        My #4 is: Left-wing Neoliberal (Clinton)
        My #5 is: Liberal Socialist
        My #6 is: Anarcho-Communist
        My #7 is: Liberal
        My #8 is: Marxist

        • I took the test and came out to the left of Ghandi. I didn’t think that was possible.

        • Some of those questions are nuts.

          For instance,
          “If economic globalisation is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations.”

          The correct answer is none of the above, there is no either-or here. Unfortunately that is not one of the multiple choices.


          “No one chooses his or her country of birth, so it’s foolish to be proud of it.”

          Isn’t it possible to be proud of a country for reasons that have nothing to do with your place of birth, but rather the accomplishments or standard of living? Unfortunately, that is also not one of the multiple choices.

          • Well, the test landed me near where I thought I was, somewhat close to Friedman, in the quadrant where nobody else seems to land.

        • My score:

          I am a centrist moderate social libertarian
          Left: 0.05, Libertarian: 2
          My Foreign Policy Views
          Score: -2.66
          My Culture War Stance
          Score: 0.02

          So I guess I would vote Liberal, if it wasn’t for the pesky belief that we shouldn’t end people’s lives for the sake of convenience.

    • Don’t make fun Jenn.

      Just because we can’t SEE the roving gangs of violent criminals that the Tories are keeping us safe from doesn’t mean they’re not there.

      • LKO, you are right and I shouldn’t have made fun of gangs. I know they are there and I know they are dangerous and a menace to society and all around bad things. Somebody should seriously do something to get them off our streets and out of our neighbourhoods.

        But I had to tell somebody I had just seen a gang, at least a baker’s dozen, in suits and ties (but acting like hoodlums, banging on dumpsters and yelling and carrying on) and this thread seemed like a perfect place to express my astonishment.

        I shall try to refrain in future.

  5. jwl, I am somewhat familiar with the constitution and the point you raise, having spent three years in law school and eleven years writing about crime policy. However, you might consider that criminal justice is a shared enterprise in this country, given the division of duties, and there is considerable cooperation between the federal and provincial governments. So if a federal government were sincerely bothered that judges were giving sentencing discounts due to the worsening delays and growing mess in remand, they could bring the provinces together to identify problems and work together on resolving them. But there’s not so many votes in that, is there?

    • What – work with provinces on an issue that wouldn’t have an immediate photo-op conclusion to pawn to a too-lethargic electorate? C’mon, Harper could do 3-4 US interviews bragging about the Canadian banking system he had no involvement in regulating and cut half a dozen ribbons. Besides, too much credit would have to be shared with those shiftless-cohorts of confederation…

      • Hey Dan, igot a question no-one wants to answer, seemingly. Are people who are eventually found t be innocent being held for long periods in these remand centres?

  6. Mr. Gardner is absolutely right.

  7. Got a single instance of a murderer or rapist “walking without jailtime”?

  8. It’s so obvious it’s not obvious at all. That’s how incredibly obvious it is.

  9. Sorry, forgive my hostile sniggering. I’m trying to cut back.

    I just mean to say that if I had heard of a single instance of a murderer not getting jail time, I might be inclined to buy into this sentencing business. I’m certainly willing to think that sentences should, in general, be harsher, e.g. for theft and fraud and whatnot. But murder and rape is a whole other ballpark. Give me an instance of a murderer getting less thatn 15 years in prison and I might actually take this seriously. Go on, show us your macaroni.

  10. “Men talking serious stuff” is a laugh. You’re new here, so what’s your credibility? Your bland nickname? Gimme a break.

  11. Jack, surely you recognize “conservative” as the same unbalanced early-AM gent you exchanged views with a few days ago? Or at the least, his doppelganger.

  12. The Conservatives, like the Libs, NDPs and Greens, have an essentially fascist agenda. Their goal is to achieve power over the country and then consolidate and expand their power by increasing the number of laws and then enforcing these laws with the greatest possible rigor. The purpose of constantly expanding the state should be obvious to any student of politics and government – that’s where the money is.

    The Conservatives choose as their fund-raising target “hardened criminals”, whatever that means, and as if any judge or jury with normal intelligence couldn’t tell the difference between a home invader who beats a man to within an inch of his life and steals his savings and a homeless guy who sells someone an ounce of dried leaves. It doesn’t matter if the crime rate is improved by this effort, in fact it’s better if it makes the crime rate worse, because that will provide the excuse to gather even more power of arrest and imprisonment. And human nature being what it is, the police and prosecutors will put a lot more energy into putting away the guy with the baggy of dried leaves, because (a) he’s unarmed and relatively harmless, (b) he doesn’t have a gang for backup, (c) he can’t afford a good lawyer, (d) he’s easy to find. There’s your “hardened criminal” for you, in actual practice.

    One of the Liberals’ big fundraising efforts is tp focus on gun owners. Naturally they will sweep up mostly duck hunters and other fairly innocent people in their dragnet because the really dangerous people have the bad habit of carefully hiding their weapons and if struck by the police are more likely to resist with violence. Removing guns from innocent people and concentrating them in the hands of the police and gangsters has the happy side effect (for them) of leaving ordinary people defenseless in the face of official and unofficial plundering and promotes a general wartime atmosphere which is always the best environment for the expansion of government.

    The NDP strive to criminalize things like extending people credit at what they determine to be an unfair rate, and offering jobs to teenagers, dropouts and unskilled immigrants at what they decide is less than a “living” wage. Other than the type of “hardened criminal” on which they project their wrath, the overall strategy and tactics are identical to the other parties. Again, the fact that these policies will worsen and not improve the availability of credit and jobs is a bonus and not a hindrance. No money, no work … hello welfare system. Lots of jobs for the (NDP) boys and girls in ye olde poverty industry.

    Likewise the Greens would criminalize driving a car, turning on a light, or breathing. The Bloc would criminalize being insufficiently French within the borders of “Chez Nous”, and have succeeded in making it a crime to operate any federal government department, agency or crown corporation without spending a disproportionate amount of their budget on their home turf.

    All of the parties cooperate with each other. Although they pretend to dislike the others’ fascist policies, in practice they not only tolerate but encourage and extend them whenever given the chance. The Conservatives do not abolish the gun registry nor do the Libs decriminalize dried leaves. They adopt the NDP’s welfare agenda, they push for carbon taxes and other loony Green policies, and they compete with each other trying to be the biggest panderer to Quebec. Over 140 years or so they have learned that a broad-front war against taxpayers and innocents is the best strategy.

    • Man, that is one depressing viewpoint.

      Depressing because you’re probably a little bit right.

      • That’s cus he’s a little bit nuts!

      • He’s rather a long way right, I think.

    • You’re sort of ignoring the fact that the Conservatives have done everything they can to abolish the gun registry.

      Overall, your comments are an extreme exaggeration.

      Removing 2 for 1 is not fascist, and if you collect all their crime bills together, it is not even remotely fascist at all, what they have been doing.

  13. Oh . . . right you are. Dang. I must have a “kick me” sign on somewhere . . . Thanks for the heads-up, John.K.

  14. As flies unto honey, so are the kooks drawn to the reasonable commenter….

  15. Anyone tell me what conservative/libs fail is on about, beyond his bizarre assertion that murders and rapists get no jail time? Or is it as obvious as it seems- he’s a misogynist?

  16. Forget it, just saw some of his other nutty posts!

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