Last November, in the run-up to the Saskatchewan provincial election, the Quebec and Ontario governments indicated that they weren’t interested in shouldering the increased fiscal burden that would be imposed on them by the federal Conservatives “tough on crime” agenda. Once Bill C-10 is passed, it was recently estimated, Ontario will be faced with an additional $1 billion in costs for prison, court and parole services.
Not only are those two provinces concerned about the cost, they also have serious doubts about the wisdom of the Conservatives’ policy. Over the last few decades, crime rates have been consistently trending downwards in Canada, and American jurisdictions like Texas and California that have experience with the same sort of “tough on crime” policies have simply found them to be a huge drain on the public purse that does little or nothing to improve community safety.
The other day Saskatchewan Justice Minister Don Morgan (pictured) waded into the debate. Unlike his counterparts in Quebec and Ontario, he supports the Conservatives’ initiative. But with provincial correctional facilities already filled to bursting he, too, would like the feds to pick up the tab on the extra costs (which his department has yet to calculate) that the province will incur.
If Bill C-10 is going to be such a plus for the province, you’d think the government would be eager to shell out the coin that will be needed to put more provincial residents in jail to keep everyone else safe.