Monday, December 5, 2011

"INCARCEREX" - Do Not Mix With The Charter Or Common Sense

Tonight was so very sad, justice in Canada has suffered a terrible blow!

Ottawa mum on cost to provinces as crime bill clears House

Because we all know, the Conservatives are “Tough on Crime!

"INCARCEREX" - Do Not Mix With The Charter or Common Sense - Made before the second last election but still spot on relevant today.

The Liberals have already officially responded:

OTTAWA – Liberal Leader Bob Rae made the following statement today on Bill C-10, the omnibus crime bill:
“I want to salute the hard work of our friend and colleague Irwin Cotler, the Liberal Justice and Human Rights critic, who has worked tirelessly to try to improve this legislation for the benefit of all Canadians. He introduced amendments to get tougher on terrorists. He introduced amendments to incorporate the needs and views of Quebec. Unfortunately, his expert advice and work were almost completely ignored – the only exception being when the Conservatives tried to re-introduce Mr. Cotler’s sensible amendments on terrorism as their own, despite having first rejected them without explanation.
Mr. Cotler continued:
“The Conservatives’ bundling together of 9 bills that warranted independent discussion, their shutting down of debate in committee, and their rejection of all amendments while arrogantly labeling others as supporters of criminals and not victims, undermines Parliament and democratic process. They have rammed through the House of Commons a law and order agenda that is poorly thought-out, rushed and demonstrates the Conservative commitment to governing by ideology instead of facts and evidence.
This bill will impose mandatory minimums that will turn young offenders into hardened criminals. It fails the mentally ill, aboriginal people, visible minorities and the poor. It repeats the mistakes of failed, expensive and discredited American crime policy. Police and prisons officials from states like Texas are telling Mr. Harper very clearly: We tried what you are doing but it drained the public coffers and made our communities less safe. Do not go down our failed path.
At the end of the day we will have more crime, less justice, skyrocketing costs, prison overcrowding, less rehabilitation for the offenders, less protection for victims and less protection for the public. Liberals are committed to pursuing a crime and justice approach that is evidence-based, cost effective and focused on preventing crime and victimization.”

Please also visit It Could Get Worse for different ways you can still help "Kill the Bill".

The disappointment in the MP's who voted for this "Everything plus the kitchen sink" Bill has me cranky, up late, and tired. *sigh*.......

UPDATE: March 12, 2012: As expected, the Conservatives ignore experience, evidence and experts, they have their ideology, Damnit!

Harper’s promise fulfilled as House passes crime bill

Sad days ahead for Canada, indeed....

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fan****ingtastic! MP Pat Martin Just Used The Word I Keep Using!

Finally posting this, the baby woke up just before I was finished and then the day went speeding by.....

1:39 A.M. - So at this late, or early depending how you see it, hour, it's up for debate on the validity of some expletive enhanced Tweets sent from NDP MP Pat Martin's Twitter Account.
Update: Awesome. It's him alright!)

Here's my "just too long to Tweet" response:

Imagine that! @PatMartinMP is Human! Admit it, you've probably used that word talking about Politics.

I was watching the Bill C10 clause by clause Senate debate on CPAC and a Conservative MP complained about how long it was taking to go through it all. So I say out loud to myself (and to the oblivious baby, who's too enthralled with an Elmo book to take any exception to my cussing) with the sheer gusto that this MP is going to hear my reply to his whining:

"Well! That's what happens when you mash NINE fucking crime bills into one big whopping wad of FAIL!"

Sure he didn't catch my response, but I felt better putting my opinion out there into the Universe. Indeed, the cursing solidified my point.

Crime is complex and justice demands that each case is handled individually and fairly. We employ Judicial Discretion because it is imperative to democracy. Bill C-10 is overly broad "You bad! - Go to jail!" Cave Man thinking. It's actually dangerously stupid to treat something as important as our legal and correctional system so recklessly. You know it, Steve knows it, the media knows it, we all know it! I mean, what could be dumber than combining crime legislation?

There's a reason crime is lower in Canada than in the United States, it's because we've resisted the ideological temptation of locking up non-violent first time offenders for long periods of time when community supervision or probation would be more beneficial. It's called a Correctional System for a reason, the goal is to correct, not to make one's mental state so broken and fragile that it's no surprise when people re-offend. Not only does helping people turn their lives around make our communities safer, it is also exponentially more cost effective. (I could really get into it about the Prison Farms program here, but I digress)

Prisons are also increasingly becoming warehouses for the mentally ill and alcohol & drug addicted. With a lack of programming people are released back into our communities without the benefit of medical and psychological attention and they get into trouble all over again. Ask yourself, do you want Canadians to be helped while they serve their sentence so when they get out of prison they stay out? Or do you want people released unstable, angry and ripe for recidivism?

We've seen the social and economic disaster unfold before our very eyes in the United States over the last four decades from one size fits all persecutions and yet the Harper Conservatives still insist on careening down the same destructive path, our safety and hard earned tax dollars be damned!

Honestly, if the Conservatives had drafted really good separate bills pertaining to violent crimes, especially those committed upon children, then I would wholeheartedly support them. I don't play to party lines when it comes to the best method of keeping our kids safe and reducing crime. I want the smartest, most effective laws on the books for the benefit of my own kids and my fellow Canadians. Alas, because C-10 is a "Everything plus the kitchen sink" omnibus bill the only smart, logical, reality-based choice we have is to fight against it.

Anything less would be fucking criminal.

"It represents a huge step backwards; rather than prioritizing public safety, it emphasizes retribution above all else. It's an approach that will make us less safe, less secure, and ultimately, less Canadian." ~ From "Bar association blasts tough-on-crime bill" ~ Organization representing Canada's lawyers says proposed Bill C-10 has been rushed, ignores evidence and will create out-of-control costs

Also see: Canadians: Don't Be Tricked by the "Safe Streets and Communities Act" - It's Omnibusted!

After Christy Clark said she supports Harper's Crime Bill, a group of 40 concerned citizens organized by gathered in front of her office to "Just Say NO to C-10!" and show that tens of thousands of Canadians have signed a petition opposed to this omnibus crime bill. As of November 17th, 111,000 Canadians have signed the petition! Sign the petition and get updated on future activities at

Avaaz also has a Petition to stop the Harper crime bill, over 102, 000 have signed!

UPDATE: Once again thumbing their noses at democracy, Tory MP Goguen moves motion to end committee hearings on omnibus crime bill

'This puts the mock in democracy,' says NDP MP Jack Harris about the Conservation manoeuvre ~

Image Via the NAACP:

"The United States is the world's leader in incarceration with 2.3 million people currently in the nation's prisons or jails -- a 500% increase over the past thirty years. These trends have resulted in prison overcrowding and state governments being overwhelmed by the burden of funding a rapidly expanding penal system, despite increasing evidence that large-scale incarceration is not the most effective means of achieving public safety."

"In addition to the extreme human toll this is taking on our Nation, the financial costs are staggering: The National Association of State Budget Officers estimates that states spent a record $51.7 billion on corrections in FY2008, or 1 in every 15 general fund dollars. Adding local, federal and other funding brings the national correctional spending total to $68 billion. This is money that cannot be spent on education, health, transportation, or other projects that benefit society as a whole." ~ NAACP Supports Legislation To Help States Reduce Prison Population

Monday, September 19, 2011

Canadians: Don't Be Tricked by the "Safe Streets and Communities Act" - It's Omnibusted!

"I would love to have all you soft of crime guys come post after some one close to you was violated for ever. Why do you want criminals out early.

You look at the cost to society of keeping them in jail. No one mentions the cost to society of letting them out.
" - "Gambitdude2" on CBC Message Boards re: Harper's Omnibus Crime Bill

The above is just an example of some comments talking about "us Lefties letting criminals run rampant through our streets". Here's my response:

You're missing the whole point, Mandatory Minimum drug laws and much of the legislation laid out in the Tory Omnibus Bill are for *after* a criminal offense has already taken place. After. While Benjamin Franklins' famous quote "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" was actually fire-fighting advice, it also stands true as a way to fight crime. My bleeding heart doesn't need to "Hug a Thug" - it wants to divert people from becoming involved in the criminal justice system in the first place. That's not being "Soft on Crime", that's addressing the subject of crime realistically and proactively.

As we know, crime in Canada is at a historic 30 year low. If the Conservatives pour billions of hard earned taxpayer dollars during these tough economic times towards building new prisons and the astronomical budgets needed to operate these facilities (along with additional ballooning legal costs to persecute more Canadians entering the justice system, not to mention how much Provinces are going to have to pony up) it diverts funds away from true necessities like hospitals and health care, education, job creation, childcare, mental health supports, the environment, infrastructure, transit and other essential services that benefit all Canadians. The more educated, healthy, employed, industrious, productive and happy we are, the less likely our citizens will engage in criminal activity. This is being SMART on crime.

Anybody who believes every human will be "perfectly behaved" is fooling themselves. Of course Canadians are concerned about crime and we want to be safe where we live, work, go to school, play and socialize. Alas the reality is that no place on Earth ever has been or ever will be Crime Free because we are Human. We are a species driven by emotion - you'll be hard pressed to find someone who actually looks up the sentence of a criminal code violation before breaking a law. (You know it's true.)

History has shown throughout our whole existence people have committed crimes fueled by what they feel or by way of mental anguish or defect. No decree, police force or punitive law will stop this reality of Human Nature. Of course hurting others is not acceptable and those who victimize others physically and/or financially should face punishment, but it's reckless to drive crime policy based on fear and an absence of judicial discretion, Canadians deserve better than that! Our very own
Canadian Justice Department has concluded that Mandatory Minimums don't work, cost taxpayers dearly and fail at keeping people safer.

Obviously violent, dangerous offenders should be sought out by police and incarcerated - that is the most important utilization of law enforcement and our correctional system. You'll get no argument from me about keeping paedophiles and murderers like Paul Bernardo behind bars and off our streets, but we also must have the common sense to leave ideology, deceiving (Tough on Crime!) mantras and knee jerk reactions out of our legal system as all crime is not "equal".

We are smart enough (I hope!) to recognize that a couple of college kids growing 6 cannabis plants should not be lumped in with a bill that targets child molesters, (Seriously, read this about C-10:
Child rapist to get less time than pot grower, Incarcerated weed offenders to skyrocket) Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms legislates that sentences should be proportionate to an offense. The state of California has gone broke because of correctional spending, proving that locking up non-violent drug users and pizza thieves as long as gun-wielding carjackers is superfluous and does nothing to improve community safety. Why would we want to emulate such a disaster?!

I'm not the only one calling the Tories out on this, if this mish-mashed, rhetoric-laden, incoherent patchwork of an Omnibus(ted) Bill passes through Parliament let's say goodbye to our great country and prepare to suffer the harsh societal consequences of American-style "justice". Git 'er done!

And p.s. to "Gambitdude2" - I HAVE been a victim of crime.

UPDATE October 26th. 2011: Even Texas says to the Conservatives You're Doing It Wrong.

"Republican governors and state legislators in such states of Texas, South Carolina, and Ohio are repealing mandatory minimum sentences, increasing opportunities for effective community supervision, and funding drug treatment because they know it will improve public safety and reduce taxpayer costs," said Tracy Velázquez, executive director of the Washington-based Justice Policy Institute.
"If passed, C-10 will take Canadian justice policies 180 degrees in the wrong direction, and Canadian citizens will bear the costs."

From the October 18th, 2011 edition of The National.
CBC's Terry Milewski discovers the Canadian government's crime policies - including the building of more prisons - are getting poor marks in Texas.
Please read the accompanying article for this story: Texas conservatives reject Harper's crime plan 'Been there; done that; didn't work,' say Texas crime-fighters

Here's more amazing articles recently published discussing the colossal failure that is Bill C-10:

Judge deems Harper's crime bill 'strain' on system:
"As Justice Bauman said, Parliament and the legislatures have a constitutional obligation to ensure that the judiciary, which is a separate and independent pillar of our government, is able to bring people to justice in a timely fashion and that citizens have access to justice.
Both the criminal and civil legal systems are cornerstones of a civil society and they are both in jeopardy."

The mandatory minimum mess:
"And remember the phrase "real property that belongs to a third party"? That's what a rented apartment is. Imagine a university student living in a rented apartment with her boyfriend, suggests University of Toronto criminologist Tony Doob. She grows a single marijuana plant. She rolls a joint for her and her boyfriend. And just like that she's a "trafficker" subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of nine months in jail.
Are these outcomes simple, clear, and predictable? Hardly. They're shocking as hell. But mandatory minimums have a nasty tendency to do that.
Remember the infamous case of the pizza thief sent to prison for life in California? The law didn't say "pizza thieves shall get a life sentence." The law said anyone convicted of a third felony would get a life sentence. Pizza theft is normally a misdemeanor. But that poor sap had committed previous felonies and a different law said that petty theft committed by anyone convicted of felonies must be prosecuted as a felony. So misdemeanor pizza theft became his third felony and he was sent to prison for life - an outcome almost everyone thought was insane."

Bill C-10 will create the prisoners to fill Conservative prisons:
"Bill C-10 is a massive piece of legislation of roughly 100 pages that rolls nine laws from organized and drug crime, to pardons, to child sex offenders, to migrants entering Canada and young offenders into a single omnibus law. The panel is focusing on how the bill's policy on mandatory minimum sentencing for selling, or even giving away a small amount of drugs, will criminalize a generation and attack some of the most vulnerable people in our society."

Harper's omnibus crime bill won't reduce victimization rates
"Lorraine Berzins worked in federal penitentiaries for 14 years and was the victim of a hostage-taking. As spokesperson for the Church Council on Justice and Corrections, she says the Harper tough-on-crime agenda “goes so much against all the evidence about what keeps communities safe, and it does so much harm, and they are going to spend so much money, that it’s really surprising that there isn’t more opposition.”
Steve Sullivan of Ottawa Victim Services (and erstwhile Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime) says “victims understand, better than most, that nearly all offenders will eventually be released from prison. . . . The best protection victims, their families, and the community will have is if the offender can learn to modify negative behavior before he or she is released.” In other words, rehabilitation programs are key.
In spite of eloquent pleas by victims’ advocates, the Harper government forges ahead with a retrograde, antediluvian and discredited approach to criminal justice. Its only “solution” for any and all crimes is a long prison sentence."
Safe Streets and Community Act Will End Real Justice:
"Some of my fellow criminal lawyers have cynically pointed out that ultimately we lawyers alone will benefit from the draconian mandatory sentences that are attached to the new legislation. We will now be able to look clients in the eyes and say, "Well, why should you plead? There is no upside to 'making a deal.' Let us put the government up to task and let them prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. It is not as if the judge will have any discretion in sentencing even if you were allegedly carrying on in the spirit of Mother Teresa!"

Quebec National Assembly calls for withdrawal of Bill C10:
"The motion, presented by the Parti Québécois, but winning the support of the Charest government and all parties and independents present, says Bill C-10 goes against the values of Quebecers."

From the Church Council on Justice and Corrections: CCJC Bulletin – Omnibus Bill:
"The CCJC urges everyone to actively and vocally express their concerns about Bill C10. Let us not by our silence condone the suffering of others."
and Will the Omnibus Bill Bankrupt Canada?:
"The government’s Parliamentary Budget office projected the increase costs related to just one of bills would be more than five billion dollars – more than doubling current expenditures for the corrections system alone. Furthermore, he revealed that the provinces and territories would have to contribute the largest proportion of the increase."
More from the Globe & Mail: Coalition of churches condemns Ottawa’s justice plan:

And lastly, Leadnow has created an email campaign for Canadians:

"The good news is that more and more Canadians are speaking out and public opinion is close to a decisive shift. We need to strengthen each other’s voices to show the Conservative government that they must choose a better path, or pay a serious political cost for a cruel Crime Bill that will make Canada a meaner and more dangerous place."

"Our Conservative government is trying to rush through a cruel Crime Bill with mandatory sentences that will fill new prisons. Even conservative Texans think the Crime Bill is too harsh, costly and ineffective. Send a message to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to stop the Crime Bill from making Canada meaner and more dangerous."

Read the rest here and send your letter easily, so far over 15 000 Canadians have!

And just out today: Canada's homicide rate declines to 44-year low

I will continue to add story links as they are published. Funny that we're not seeing many articles in support of the bill. Where are they, Conservatives?


*The Church Council on Justice and Corrections ( a national faith-based coalition of eleven founding churches incorporated in 1972. We promote community responsibility for justice with an emphasis on addressing the needs of victims and offenders, mutual respect, healing, individual accountability, and crime prevention. It is primarily by education and community development initiatives that we foster healthier communities and crime prevention through social responsibility. CCJC has demonstrated in publications, pilot projects and numerous other initiatives how to strengthen community through its understanding that real justice requires the pursuit of wholeness for all. We work with both multi-faith and non-religious partners and have achieved international recognition for our contributions to creative thinking about criminal justice.

This post was updated/edited October 26th 2011.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Please Stand By......

The landscape has changed, we need to regroup on Saturday and figure out a new game plan.

And hey, at least there's a One Seat Bright Side to this head-shaking turn of events.

From: Watch part two:

In the meantime....We're Canadian, we'll keep fighting, this just makes us stronger and more determined!
We'll be alright....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We! Are! Cannabian! And We're Voting Too!

Millions of Canadians use Cannabis,
and guess what?
We're voting too!!!

Canada's marijuana activists unite against American-style drug laws - 420 vote mobs to be held in over 10 cities across Canada
on April 20th
"All you have to do is look at the disastrous experience in the U.S. with mandatory minimum sentences to know this is a dumb idea", says Marc-Boris St-Maurice, Executive Director of NORML Canada.

Attention All Freedom Loving Canadians!

As we are all aware, Canada is on the hustings. This election is necessary as Stephen Harper and his Conservatives are the only party in our country's history to be found guilty of being In Contempt of Parliament. Their refusal to be honest and disclose the hit to the wallets of Canadian Taxpayers regarding the cost of American-style superfluous prisons, Stupid-On-Crime bills and engineless jets triggered a motion of Non Confidence in the Harper Government, and rightly so! (Oh, and let's not forget about all the other ShitHarperDid.)

In the age of the Internets, people are using social media to coordinate and then share "Vote Mobs" to reach youth and those who may not realize just how important it is to exercise our democratic right to vote. What is a "Vote Mob" you may ask? According to "Vote Mobs encourage friends, families, neighbours, and communities to get out and vote, together!" So, in the spirit of 420 and a concerted effort by the Cannabis Community to get rid of Lock 'em Up Steve, #420VoteMobs will be happening all across our great land. Visit and share the Facebook 420 VoteMob Event Page to get the word out to other Canadians.

Please also visit LeadNow, it's really impressive! They also have all VoteMob videos that have been posted online so far on one page.

In times of much needed fiscal restraint, taxpayers deserve to be treated fairly - the Tory plan to spend billions on jails when crime is declining is grossly irresponsible of Stephen Harper. As far as campaigning goes, the smart party in this political race will not shy away from the elephant in the room that is Harper's ideological hunting down of Canadian cannabis users who dare stand up for their own personal autonomy and freedom. Note to the Conservatives: Canadian adults don't appreciate such intrusion into our lives. Bring on May 2nd. and Election 41!!!

VoteMobs: Inspired by Rick Mercer!

Thank you, Canadian Youth - you are inspiring!

Meanwhile, Harper is also using social media....

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Departing Harperland

"Whoever controls the media,
controls the mind
~ Jim Morrison


And then THIS.

Now, can anyone please tell me where Canada went? Does Stephen Harper ^NOT realize that Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees freedom of the press, along with the right to freedom of expression? Or maybe the query should be, "Does he even care?".

You know, at first I wasn't quite sure about it when the other parties started to refer to the Tories as the "Conservative Regime", but now I'm certain that the label fits. This is not the Canada I was born and raised in, and it's certainly not the political, social and undemocratic environment I wish for my sons to grow up in.

For the love of every single Canadian* and our beautiful country, please realize that May 2nd. is a gift to all Canadian citizens of voting age. On this day each one of our voices are equal, in the basic yet effective form of a checkmark on a paper ballot.

We have the opportunity to oust the Guilty of Contempt Harper led Conservatives from Parliament. Then, we can begin to repair and mend the damage the Tories have thrust upon us, I know collectively we are strong and we can achieve this goal together!

In our National Anthem we sing "O Canada, we stand on guard for thee", so let's honour that pledge and defend this most awesome land from coast to coast to coast.

I'm tired of living in Harperland, I need my True North Strong and Free!

Don't let Parliamentary crime pay! Peter Russell, constitutional expert, talks about the Harper Government's contempt for parliamentary democracy and what is at stake in the Canadian Election 2011.

2007 From CBC's "The Hour." Stephen Harper and Media Control

Sing it!!!
By therealg8g20: "This is a song that was performed by Richard Underhill in Kensington Market in 2008. I found the raw video on Youtube and asked the author if I could make a new remix with the footage. Perhaps this can become the theme song for those of us who are concerned about the direction this government is taking our country in. I'm hoping that it will inspire those who are not happy with the leadership of the Harper government, but haven't gotten involved yet, to get active, get organized and get involved! Maybe we can make this video go viral!" Vimeo Version:

for the love of every single Canadian* - Seriously. Read it. Please.

UPDATE 4/14/2011: Check out more at

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hey Americans: Want a Job? Just Go To Jail!

One of the great things about social media is connecting with intelligent people who you'd otherwise never get the chance to "meet". Facebook and Twitter have brought thousands of new friendly voices into my realm over the past few years and they are what I lovingly refer to as my "Mad Posters" - meaning, they/we love to share news and videos and education regarding not just the Drug War, but injustice in whatever form it happens to take throughout the world.

"Posting Links" is one of the best tools that social activism has, on any given day I am gifted with personalized judicial and ecological news from Canada, the States and beyond. With the click of a mouse a daily itinerary is before me and I appreciate those who take the time to "Pass It to the Left".

While much of what we share is from news outlets and other mainstream media, what I cherish the most are contributions from everyday people passionate about making a difference. On Saturday a "Note" was posted on Facebook and it was so informative that I asked the writer, Lydie Meunier, if she would let me post it here to share with all of you and she graciously accepted.

Lydia brilliantly opens our eyes to scheming corporations and the U.S. Prison Industrial Complex coveting much sought after jobs and profiting greatly from free and cheap inmate labour. It's also a shocking glimpse of what will happen here in Canada if the Conservatives are re-elected and allowed to proceed with their fear driven crime agenda and American style prison plans.

U.S. Unemployment Exacerbated by the Outsourcing of Jobs to Prisons
By Lydie Meunier


Call your Congress Members and Ask them to Put a Stop to this Infamy!!!

I know that many people don't want to look into prison labor and the impact it has on unemployment figures because this is a disturbing issue. And yet, Jobs are outsourced to prisons, and slavery is being reinstated because corporations are counting on, and taking advantage of folks' apathy and disdains for prisoners... Meanwhile jobs for law abiding citizens are taken away from them to be given to cheap prison labor.

Today, prisoners are being exploited by corporations, paid more or less 40 cts/hour, more often less than more, sometimes paid nothing at all (see current situation in Georgia prisons not covered by the media), in lieu of the minimum $7.25/hour that corporations would have to pay to law abiding citizens. The difference, quite clearly, contributes to major corporate profits, while law abiding citizens are still unemployed and continue to lose their jobs.

On the FREE National market (vs. the WALLED industrial complex market), only 9% of our GDP comes from manufacturing. You can not sustain a middle class lifestyle with a service economy. To turn that 9 % into a much higher number, we need to introduce a new Bill in Congress to stop the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to prisons (outsourcing to prisons is now called "insourcing").

When you consider the major corporations that employ prison labor (furniture factories, Microsoft, Boing, IBM, Starbuck, Victoria secret, BP, Sodexo, medical supplies, road signs, military supplies, etc.) you quickly realize that moving jobs back to law abiding citizens would surely help diminish unemployment figures!!!

The way these prison partnerships typically work is that a manufacturer wanting to increase profits moves their equipment, technology, materials and unfinished goods to a factory setting within a prison industry facility. Once up and running, the same products come off the assembly lines and are shipped as before. The difference is this, private sector employees of the company have been terminated or laid off. A handful of employees are usually kept on long enough to train inmates and prison supervisors in the manufacturing used to make the products. Once that is accomplished, they are also eliminated and their positions taken over by a prison industry supervisor.

This insourcing of labor creates quite a number of unemployed citizens. Burdens are placed on state and community social help programs, unemployment compensation, etc. So while the corporation saves lots of money in labor costs - no more unemployment insurance premiums, less expenses in lease of facilities (usually leased by the prison operators at $1.00 per year), and no more employee benefits such as medical insurance, vacations or paid time off - the communities they vacated are left to fund the unemployed left in their wake. In addition the local government loses taxes that were paid by the corporation, previous landlords of the facilities once leased to the corporations are left with vacant property and local shops and other businesses suffer a drop in sales due to the newly unemployed workers left behind.

Efforts to involve Union officials, management and labor leaders in rectifying this issue have been unsuccessful for some reason. Politicians and Union leaders are too busy arguing about outsourcing of our jobs overseas and seem to not have any interest in eliminating or addressing insourcing. The next time you or your neighbor loses your/their job; before looking toward China or India to see if you can see your job making its way there, look the other way and see if perhaps some criminal that stole your car has just as easily stolen your job and income as well.

Source: INSOURCING- A new concept about private sector job losses, by Bob Sloan, November 10, 2010

The prison industrial complex shows the fastest growth in profits, with politicians and judges and lawyers, and the top 2% investing in its stocks, which constitutes the most corrupt conflict of interests: for each incarceration, the private prison industry is not only paid big bulks by our tax money, it also disposes of the people as private property subcontracted to corporations. Meanwhile, we keep paying for the prison industrial complex to sustain itself with our tax money, oblivious to the fact that we are also paying with the loss of our jobs!!!!

Wake up folks!!! This is not only a national disgrace, it is a national scandal!!!

The United States has the highest incarceration rate!!!! Do you want to know why? Follow the money!!!

Here is a report for you to read to understand the mess this country is in regarding employment politics by regressing into slavery The prison industry in the United States: big business and a new form of slavery

Civilian Inmate Labor Camps designed to manufacture army supplies Jobs that used to be performed by law abiding citizens

Insourcing - Transfer of Private Industry Jobs to Prison Industry-Made in USA


Here are more links related to more recent news in Georgia where prisoners have been forced to work without pay for their labor, a violation of the 13th Amendment, which prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude:

The Largest Prison Strike In American History Goes Ignored By US Media

Prisoner Strike Enters New Phase, Needs Our Support

Prison labor on the rise in US

Corporatocracy can best be described as: "A type of government in which huge corporations, through bribes, gifts, and the funding of ad campaigns that oppose candidates they don't like, become the driving force behind the executive, judicial and legislative branches". It explains why prison labor is ignored by politicians and main stream media!!!!!

Federal PIECP and Program Violations: Discussions on the use of prison labor in the U.S. and corporations that eliminate private sector jobs with inmate labor

While we are busy believing that prisoners need to pay their debt back to society, corporations are cheating society by "hiring" prison labor

Prisoner Advocate Elaine Brown on Georgia Prison Strike

Mass Incarceration in America

Private Prison Industry Helped Draft Arizona Immigration Law

Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law

Private Prison Lobby Behind Arizona's Immigration Law

Rachel Maddow: Exposing Private Prison Industry Role in Shaping Arizona's Anti-Immigration Law - August 14, 2010 - Corporate Con Game



Prison Labor: A Dynamic Sector - Covert Action Quarterly #54 - Fall 1995

Prison Labor - Policy Report 2002

BP Hires Prison Labor to Clean Up Spill While Coastal Residents Struggle - 2010

Prison labor cheats society - 2001

As Prison Labor Grows, So Does the Debate - Published on Sunday, March 19, 2000 in the New York Times

Prison Industry Funnels Donations To State Lawmakers Introducing SB1070-Like Bills Around The Country

The Prison Industrial Complex: Does It Create A New Form Of Slavery? How Much Labor Is Done In The Prison System?

"One might think an enterprise able to pay unskilled workers just 21 cents an hour would be able to manufacture goods it could sell at rock-bottom prices. Unfortunately, that is not so when the enterprise is Ohio's Penal Industries system." Penal Industries Costs Out of Line - February 3, 2011 - The Intelligencer

"ACLU 2010 report presents the results of a yearlong investigation into modern-day "debtors' prisons," and shows that poor defendants are being jailed at increasingly alarming rates for failing to pay legal debts they can never hope to afford." American Civil Liberties Unions - 2010 - See 2011 update

Last year, officials in McIntosh County, Okla., south of Tulsa, issued about 1,500 debt-related arrest warrants, up from about 800 a year before the crisis, according to a court clerk. More than 950 borrowers got similar warrants in Salt Lake City courts last year. Maricopa County, Ariz., officials issued 260 debt-related warrants in 2010 Welcome to Debtors' Prison, 2011 Edition

Other people's suffering makes such a lucrative opportunity for investment Private Prisons Have Future Growth All Locked Up - Oct 20, 2009

Prison Valley - A web documentary exploring the Prison Industry

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini.

The United States continues to have the largest incarcerated population and the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world.
- Human Rights Watch, World Report, 2008

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This Truth Ad Brought To You By...

Me! Okay, while I don't have a big advertising budget to create and air, not an "Attack Ad", (Those are just so.... UNCanadian, to me) but a Truth Ad, I thought I'd utilize the Power of The Internets to share a spot on video with my fellow Canadians highlighting the Conservative push to replicate the failed American War on Drugs*.

The following was originally created by the Drug Policy Alliance in the United States. Marc Emery paid for a Canadian version for the last Federal election as Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have been pushing their Stupid On Crime Agenda for many years now.

"INCARCEREX" - Do not mix with The Charter or Common Sense.

Chances are (If we're lucky!) there's an election coming this Spring** and Canadians have to decide just where our priorities lie. Ask yourself: "What do Canadians need more? Money for Education, Health, Child and Elder Care, Infrastructure, (Which will also create jobs, we all use roads and bridges, lets make them safe & smooth!) the Environment, etc? Or do you want to copy failed U.S. Drug War policy, and shovel BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of your hard earned tax dollars towards building and operating prisons, especially at a time when crime is at a 30 year low and we're SIXTY BILLION dollars in debt? (See the Canadian Debt Clock to your right--->)

~Pic from: Wall Photos by Jodie Joanna Emery

And FYI, for all the bleating the Conservatives put forth about being the only party who care about victims of crime, let us be reminded that in 2010 the Tories slashed Grants for the Victims of Crime Initiative by 43% & the Contributions to the Victims Of Crime Initiative by 34%. Please also read the Globe and Mail article: Canada warned not to follow U.S. tough-on-crime ‘mistakes’, although, I'm sure the Conservatives will stupidly continue to ignore the advice from our neighbours to the south. #FAIL


"What purpose does it serve the Conservatives to quash judicial discretion? To disregard evidence and research that clearly demonstrates that Mandatory Minimum Sentencing is ineffective, expensive and a fallacious approach regarding drug policy and criminal legislation? I ask my fellow Canadians, "Are YOU comfortable with the knowledge that your government blatantly ignores the findings of our very own Justice Department?" ~ Con Job! Tories Ignore Justice Department Reports


*the Conservatives are refusing to allow Canadian taxpayers to be privy to the estimated costs of Bill S-10 along with other crime bills citing "Cabinet Confidence", and the Opposition just may call the Tories out with a vote of non confidence.

**War on Drugs ~
AP: Billions Spent Had Meager Effect In 40-Year War On Drugs

An Associated Press analysis of America's 40-year war on drugs concludes that the country's costly effort has met virtually none of its goals. In 1970, when President Richard Nixon signed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, he declared drug abuse "public enemy No. 1 in the United States" and promised to wage an "all-out offensive." His first drug-fighting budget was $100 million. Now it's $15.1 billion, 31 times Nixon's amount even when adjusted for inflation.

The AP tracked where that money went and found that the United States repeatedly increased budgets for programs that did little to stop the flow of drugs. In 40 years, taxpayers spent: $20 billion to fight the drug gangs in their home countries, including $6 billion in Colombia; $33 billion in marketing "Just Say No"-style messages to America's youth and other prevention programs; $49 billion for law enforcement along America's borders to cut off the flow of illegal drugs; $121 billion to arrest more than 37 million nonviolent drug offenders, and $450 billion to lock those people up in federal prisons alone.

Friday, March 4, 2011

News Flash - People Like Primo Bud

"If drug gangs in Mexico are successful enhancing the quality of their product, they can sell the improved marijuana for up to five times the normal price. The going rate for top quality U.S. marijuana is around $2,500 per pound, while Mexican types sell for under $500, U.S. law enforcement officials say."
~ Mexico marijuana growers learn new tricks from US

My response:

"They say its used for pain management, but drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels would have the same effect,"

Yes, but the difference is that the bottle of Jack Daniel's can kill you, while the Cannabis can't. That is, unless you can ingest approximately 1500 pounds of it within 15 minutes.

Like fine wine, people will pay good money for quality cannabis. The Mexican cartels have recognized this truth and are upping their game to compete in the black market opposite "Primo" California bud."

C'mon, we can't be surprised by this - we all know that Cannabis is worth more because it's illegal. The best solution to stop the drug war violence is re-legalization and regulation, a controlled production, quality tested, sales industry much like what already exists for the previously banned alcohol. The bonus will be tax revenue, legitimate jobs in an already booming, established market, and taxpayer savings through lower legal, court, incarceration and probation costs. Plus, Industrial Hemp is a plant mine eagerly waiting to prosper, so the environment also wins.

Why is this plant illegal again?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Con Job! Tories Ignore Justice Department Reports

CON JOB: verb-transitive ~ To swindle (a victim) by first winning his or her confidence; dupe.–noun ~ A swindle. –adjective ~ Of, relating to, or involving a swindle or fraud: a con artist.

ALARMIST: person or group/organization who needlessly alarms or attempts to alarm others, as by inventing or spreading false or exaggerated rumors of impending danger or catastrophe.

~Pic courtesy of FrankD

Are you scared yet?

In a cheap attempt to sway uninformed Canadians into voting for them, the Conservatives continue to be alarmist, trying to convince you that Canada is bursting at the seams with dangerous criminals lurking on every corner like a Boogeyman in your closet. Harper, Toews, Nicholson, Glover et al want you quivering, believing that no one can save you and your family from becoming victims except for the "Tough on Crime!" party! The kicker? Crime has actually been declining in Canada, in fact, crime rates fell by about about 3% in 2009 — 17% lower than a decade ago. Joseph Neuberger puts some context to this: "The last time Canada's crime rates were as low as Statistics Canada says they are now, The Sting and American Graffiti played at the movies; Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon ruled the airwaves and M*A*S*H was tops on TV." (Please read the whole awesome article Tough on Crime Bill Is Tough on Us All)

The following is from a previous post I wrote called "Calling the Tories Out on Bill C-15 - "The Politics of Fear". This information is applicable to Bill S-10 and deserves to be highlighted as the Conservatives continue to attempt to label the opposition as *soft on crime and pull one over on Canadians who are unfamiliar with the consequences of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing from drug offenses:

On the Canadian Department of Justice website you can find the report: "Mandatory Sentences of Imprisonment in Common Law Jurisdictions: Some Representative Models" by Julian V. Roberts With the assistance of Rafal Morek and Mihael Cole. Report prepared for the Department of Justice Canada © GOVERNMENT OF CANADA, 2006-11-09

Highlights from the 55 page report include:

The judiciary in Canada and elsewhere are opposed to mandatory sentences of imprisonment. The Canadian Sentencing Commission (1987) found in their survey of judges that slightly over half felt that minimum sentences impinged on their ability to impose a just sentence and that inappropriate agreement between defense and Crown counsel may result.

The future of mandatory minimum sentences in Canada remains unclear. There is some indication that minimum sentences are not an effective sentencing tool: that is, they constrain judicial discretion without offering any increased crime prevention benefits. Nevertheless, mandatory sentences remain popular with some Canadian politicians.

Where mandatory sentences do exist, they have been the object of considerable (and growing) opposition from a variety of parties, including advocacy groups, judges, academics and criminal justice professionals. This opposition has led to a number of Bills to amend or repeal the mandatory sentences legislation. While a number of countries have passed mandatory sentencing legislation within the last decade, there is evidence that jurisdictions with the most severe mandatory sentencing laws are beginning to repeal, or consider repealing, the most punitive sentences of imprisonment.

Trends in Mandatory Sentencing Legislation - After a decade in which a number of common law countries enacted mandatory sentencing legislation, there is clear evidence that several jurisdictions are now either repealing or amending these punitive laws. For example, in 2002 the Michigan mandatory sentencing laws were significantly amended. The effects of these amendments include the following:

• elimination of mandatory minimum sentencing for certain controlled substance
• creation of provisions that permit courts to consider important mitigating factors; and
• revision of the quantities of drug that trigger certain sentences.

This movement towards a more flexible, judge-determined sentencing scheme is a result of several factors with international repercussions including:

• a shift in public opinion away from supporting strict mandatory minimum sentencing (see above);
• the impact of Advocacy groups such as
Families Against Mandatory Minimums Foundation (FAMM);
• growing public disenchantment with the “War on Drugs” that initially triggered many of the most punitive mandatory sentencing laws (see Eagleton Institute of Politics Center for Public Interest Polling, 2004);
• news media coverage of “three-strikes” cases in which offenders whose “third strike” consisted of a less serious felony and stories of offenders receiving lengthy prison terms for offenses such as stealing a bicycle from a garage have undermined public support for this kind of sentencing; and
• growing concern among criminal justice professionals that mandatory sentences have played an important role in keeping prison populations from declining, even in an era of falling crime rates.

Mandatory Sentencing and Public Opinion - Although this report deals only with the statutory regimes with respect to mandatory sentences of imprisonment, it is worth noting that there is evidence from a number of jurisdictions that public support for mandatory sentencing has declined over the past decade. Mandatory sentences of imprisonment represent the most punitive sentencing reforms of recent years and are found in many western nations. Often justified by reference to public opinion, they have proved highly controversial in practice. Where do members of the public stand with respect to the issue? Few studies have addressed public knowledge of statutory minimum penalties; fortunately, the surveys that exist on this issue have generated the same findings: the general public has little knowledge of the offenses that carry a mandatory minimum penalty, or of the magnitude of the statutory minima. For example, in 1998, members of the public responding to the British Crime Survey (BCS) were asked if they were aware of the mandatory minimum prison term of three years for offenders convicted of burglary (see Roberts, 2003).

Even though this mandatory sentence had been the object of considerable media attention, less than one quarter of the sample responded affirmatively. This finding is consistent with earlier research in Canada that found that very few members of the public had any idea which offenses carried a mandatory sentence (Roberts, 1988 - It should not be surprising that public knowledge of mandatory sentences is poor. Opinion surveys conducted in several jurisdictions have shown that the public knows little about maximum sentences, sentencing options, alternatives to imprisonment, sentencing patterns, recidivism rates, or many other elements of the sentencing process (see Roberts and Hough, 2005, for a review). For example, respondents may overlook the fact that mandatory sentences of imprisonment violate important sentencing principles such as proportionality in sentencing. In addition, mandatory sentences of imprisonment may prove expensive by increasing the costs of the correctional system as more offenders are admitted to custody (and for longer periods of time).)

There is clear evidence that even in the United States, where support is stronger for mandatory sentences, public support for the concept is declining. For example, in 1995 over half of the sampled public in the US held the view that mandatory sentences were a good idea (Roberts, 2003). In 2001, this percentage had declined to slightly more than one-third of respondents (Peter D. Hart Research Associates, 2002; Roberts, 2003). In fact, over half the polled public in the US now favour the elimination of “three-strikes” mandatory sentences (Peter D. Hart Research Associates, 2002). The most recent polling on the issue of mandatory sentencing comes from the state of New Jersey. When asked whether mandatory jail or mandatory drug treatment was the more effective approach to non-violent offenders, respondents chose treatment over imprisonment by a three to one ratio (Eagleton Institute of Politics Center for Public Interest Polling, 2004). Three-quarters of the sample favoured allowing judges to set aside mandatory sentences “if another sentence would be more appropriate” (Eagleton Institute of Politics Center for Public Interest Polling, 2004).

The Future of Mandatory Sentencing - It would be overstating the case to say that the pendulum has swung away from mandatory sentencing to a model of sentencing that privileges judicial discretion. However, it is clear that public and legislative interest in mandatory sentencing laws has declined, and is likely to continue to decline in the near future. Although the public supports tough sentencing measures for violent offenders, the experience with mandatory sentencing legislation in a number of countries has shown that these laws do little to promote public confidence in the sentencing process.

This report has demonstrated that while mandatory sentences of imprisonment proved popular in the 1990s across a number of common law jurisdictions, closer examination of the laws reveals that many countries allow courts the discretion to sentence below the minimum when exceptional circumstances exist. This usually means that courts are permitted to consider mitigating factors relating to the offense or the offender, in some cases, as long as the judge provides written reasons for doing so. In addition, while the general public appears to favour the use of mandatory sentences for offenders convicted of the *most serious offenses and repeat offenders, there are important limits on public support for strict mandatory sentencing laws. When the public is provided with more information regarding the law and the circumstances surrounding the offense and the offender, the tendency is not to favour punitive sanctions such as mandatory minimum sentences.

*most serious offenses ~ s. 718.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada states: "sentences should be proportionate to the offense and reflect the degree of responsibility of the offender."

Another report on the Canadian Department of Justice Website is:
Their Effects on Crime, Sentencing Disparities, and Justice System Expenditures

Thomas Gabor, Professor
Department of Criminology
University of Ottawa
Nicole Crutcher
Carleton University
Research and
Statistics Division

An excerpt from section 5.4 Mandatory Sentences for Drug Offenses states:

Some of the most sophisticated research in this area has
been undertaken at the Rand Corporation (Caulkins et
al., 1997). Through various mathematical models, Rand
researchers compared the cost effectiveness of various
drug prevention/control strategies, including lengthy
MMS. Their analysis considered the cost of each
strategy and the expected yield in terms of both drug
consumption and crime reductions. Their conclusion
was that conventional sentences imposed on dealers are
more cost effective than long MMS reserved for fewer
offenders and that treating heavy users is more cost
effective than either approach in lowering drug use or
drug-related crime. MMS were found to be the most
cost effective strategy only in the case of the highest level
dealers; however, the low thresholds at which MMS
tend to kick in means that these laws are more likely to
ensnare low-level offenders. Also, high-level dealers are
more likely to avoid MMS, as they are in a better position
to have information to trade for an exemption from
these penalties. Finally, these investigators note that the
time horizon of evaluations is critical, as MMS become
less cost effective over time.

Hansen (1999) asserts that the tide is turning against
MMS for drug infractions. He notes that they have done
little to reduce crime or to put large-scale dealers out of
business. Rather, they have filled prisons with young.
low-level, non-violent individuals at great cost to
taxpayers. Hansen points out that, in Massachusetts,
84% of inmates serving mandatory drug sentences are
first-time offenders.

...MMS fail to discriminate between these hardcore drug
dealers and those who feel compelled to sell due to an
addiction or difficulties encountered in participating
steadily in the work force. The implication is that
employment opportunities, more accessible drug
treatment, and alternative sentences would be
preferable to the “iron fist of the war on drugs.”

Harsh MMS and the “drug war” approach in general
show little effect in relation to drug offense. Judges
routinely circumvent the “mandatory” death sentences
for drug trafficking in Malaysia and the tough MMS in
the US have imprisoned mostly low-level, nonviolent
offenders. MMS do not appear to influence drug
consumption or drug-related crime in any measurable
way. A variety of research methods concludes that
treatment-based approaches are more cost effective
than lengthy prison terms. MMS are blunt instruments
that fail to distinguish between low and high-level, as
well as hardcore versus transient drug dealers.
Optimally, it would appear that tough sentences should
be reserved for hardcore, high-level dealers, while
treatment may be more appropriate for addicted dealers
and employment opportunities may be more cost
effective in relation to part-time dealers who are

Conclusion: 9.5 Mandatory Sentences for Drug Offenses

Severe MMS seem to be least effective in relation to drug
offenses. Studies using a variety of methodologies
seriously question the value of the “drug war” approach.
The draconian penalties in Malaysia are routinely
circumvented by the judiciary and the tough MMS in the
US (both at the state and federal levels) have imprisoned
mostly low-level, nonviolent offenders. Drug
consumption and drug-related crime seem to be
unaffected, in any measurable way, by severe MMS.
Both mathematical modeling techniques and field work
arrive at the conclusion that treatment-oriented
approaches are more cost effective than harsh prison

9.9 Concluding Remarks

From a utilitarian point of view,
incarcerating occasional, non-violent offenders, for
substantial periods, constitutes a colossal waste of
justice system resources.

...Therefore, MMS should not be
introduced merely to placate a political constituency or
without regard to a thorough understanding of the
infractions or offenders for whom they are intended. ~ Fin


"Discretion is a science of understanding, to discern between falsity and truth, between wrong and right, between shadows and substance, between equity and colourable glosses and pretenses, and not to do according to their men's will and private affections." ~ Justice Edward Coke


What purpose does it serve the Conservatives to quash judicial discretion? To disregard evidence and research that clearly demonstrates that Mandatory Minimum Sentencing is ineffective, expensive and a fallacious approach regarding drug policy and criminal legislation? I ask my fellow Canadians, "Are YOU comfortable with the knowledge that your government blatantly ignores the findings of our very own Justice Department?"

Please also be aware that the Conservatives keep cost of crime measures a secret and these ideologically driven bills will criminalize and imprison large numbers of young Canadians. The legislation is also opposed to by all other Canadian political parties, (Liberals, NDP, Bloc, and Green) the Church Council on Justice and Corrections, a 39-year-old coalition for justice reform that represents 11 of the largest Christian denominations, the Canadian Bar Association and well over 500 Health researchers slam Tory mandatory-minimum-sentence proposal for drug crimes.

Prevention. It's worth more than a pound of Tory rhetoric for Canadian families and hard working taxpayers. Lets ignore the Con Job, Canadians, of course we are all concerned about crime, but lets be brave and approach solutions to keeping our kids and communities safer by being smart, logical and realistic about crime policy.

Ignoring evidence that clearly proves that Mandatory Minimum Sentences escalate crime and violence in our neighbourhoods? Now that's scary!

Fortunately, we can see what has happened in the
United States when a government is "Stupid on Crime"
because they don't want to be labeled "Soft on Crime".


“Still, my own personal view is that it’s a mistake to take away discretion from judges, In the last couple of decades, the U.S. has gone the way of mandatory sentencing for a whole bunch of crimes and the result is their prisons are jammed.

I find it hard to understand how the richest country in the world has one of - if not the - highest prison population in the world. There’s something wrong there, and the problem is mandatory sentences. I’m disappointed to see Canada drifting in that direction.” ~ Retired Quebec judge John Gomery


*soft on crime ~ From: It's a 'myth' Canada is soft on crime
It is a myth that Canadian courts are soft on crime and that the Charter of Rights is responsible for criminals escaping conviction or receiving light jail terms, says Canada's chief justice, Beverley McLachlin.

The Charter of Rights, signed on April 17, 1982, as part of the repatriated Constitution, gave judges the power to not merely interpret laws, but to strike them down if they were found to violate any of the established rights.

They include freedom of religion, expression and association, the legal right to life, liberty and security of the person, and the right against unreasonable search and seizure. Equality guarantees, including freedom from discrimination based on age, sex, race, or disability, came into effect in 1985.