The John Howard Society of Manitoba released the following statement to the press today:
A coalition of Manitoba agencies is calling on the Manitoba Legislature to oppose the omnibus crime bill now before parliament in Ottawa.
The Quebec National Assembly unanimously passed a motion last week calling on the federal government to withdraw Bill C-10 from the parliamentary agenda,
“With Bill C-10, Ottawa is about to sign a blank check that provincial governments will have to pay. The government is not giving an estimate of the costs involved, but it could be up to three times more than what the federal government is going to pay. This should be reason enough for our Legislature to ‘just say no’ to the Bill,” said Dennis Lewycky, Executive Director of the Social Planning Council.
On October 8th, Le Devoir quoted Michael Patton, a spokesperson for the Public Safety Minister Vic Toews as saying that the provinces can use Federal Transfer payments to pay for their portion of Bill C-10, neglecting to point out that transfer payments are used to fund health, education and social programs.
“Manitoba shouldn’t be forced by Parliament to build more jails at the expense of education, health and social spending, especially when we already know that putting more people in jail doesn’t reduce crime”, said John Hutton, Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Manitoba. “Ironically, education and social spending does.”
“The omnibus crime bill represents a highly expensive and damaging approach to crime, which will only serve to weaken Aboriginal communities as more and more of our people are taken away and placed in jail,” said Cora Morgan, Executive Director of Onashowewin, an Aboriginal restorative justice agency.
“The Manitoba government should join with Quebec in calling for Bill C-10 to be withdrawn, and the money saved could go to strengthening services for First Nations people,” Morgan concluded.
The organizations calling to the Manitoba Legislature to oppose Bill C-10 include:
- BUILD Winnipeg
- Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
- Kenton Eidse, Employment Counsellor
- Elizabeth Fry Society of Manitoba
- John Howard Society of Manitoba
- Initiatives for Just Communities
- Mennonite Central Committee Manitoba
- Ogijiita Pimatiswin Kinamatwin (OPK)
- Onashowewin Inc.
- Social Planning Council of Winnipeg
- Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO)
For more information about this issue see Omnibus Crime Bill Won’t Reduce Victimization Rates by Paula Mallea.
For more information about the Manitoba call to action contact John Hutton, Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Manitoba.