Castlegar, BC – According to Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior, the Conservatives are hiding from opposition scrutiny by invoking closure to limit the Justice Committee’s debate on the government’s controversial omnibus crime bill, C-10.
“This is just the latest of seven examples this session where Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have moved to bypass parliamentary work and prevent MPs from doing what we were all were elected to do by Canadians,” noted the BC MP.
Atamanenko says there are 208 clauses that should undergo a thorough parliamentary scrutiny, as well as hundreds of amendments that will undoubtedly not be discussed at all. Bill C-10, which has sparked numerous controversies across the country, will probably be adopted practically as is. This is a problem for the Provinces because it is they who will have to pick up the tab for what is being regarded by experts and opposition critics as an expensive and ineffective approach to criminal justice.
“I can see why the Conservatives don’t want to come under any further scrutiny in the face of the fire-storm they have brought down on themselves,” stated Atamanenko. “But, this kind of authoritarian rule and abuse of power has no place in a Parliamentary democracy.”
The omnibus crime bill has been the object of severe criticism since being introduced. The provinces are refusing to pay the bill for these changes to the Criminal Code, which would increase prison population while denying young offenders the possibility of rehabilitation. The bill makes little sense in the face of Canada’s falling crime rates, especially as they have steadily declined over the last 20 years.
“Provincial leaders have raised serious and justifiable concerns about this bill. They’re worried they can’t afford it, and that it won’t make communities safer,” concluded Atamanenko. “By putting a gag order on democracy the Conservatives are saying they don’t care what the provinces think and they are not interested in what experts say or what the facts are. Worst of all they are saying they don’t care what Canadians think.”