Update & New Action: Thursday Dec 8, 2011
On Monday, Prime Minister Harper’s Conservative MPs voted for the cruel Crime Bill. That night, the NDP, Liberal, Bloc and Green MPs stood together against the bill, and many of them were wearing “Safer, not meaner” buttons in solidarity with our campaign.
Now, the struggle for Canadian justice moves to the Senate. The Senate’s job is to provide a “sober second thought.” Senators are appointed for life, and free to make their own choices. They can review the evidence, change the bill, and force another vote.
Every day, opposition grows as Canadians learn more about the Crime Bill, but Prime Minister Harper is putting enormous pressure on Senators to rubber-stamp the bill quickly so it can pass before Christmas. There is only one thing that can balance the scales: a massive public outcry from Canadians like you, right now.
Send an urgent message to the Senators that represent your province, asking them to rise above partisan politics, look at the evidence, and make Canada safer, not meaner.
Together, you are taking on the strongest force in Canadian politics: a newly elected government with a majority of seats working to pass a core plank of its election platform on a hot-button issue.
And, thanks to your messages to your representatives, your letters to the editor, your local actions, and your phone calls, we have helped shift the national conversation decisively against this bill in a way that no one thought possible just a few months ago.
Catherine Latimer, the Executive Director of the amazing John Howard Society of Canada, just wrote about this shift:
“Organizations like the John Howard Society, which have been lampooned for simply advocating for effective, just, and humane responses to the causes and consequences of crime, sense a change in the winds. More and more people have been persuaded by the evidence and are speaking up for a more effective, fairer, and less mean approach to achieving our shared objective of reducing crime than is proposed in Bill C-10.” 
Don’t let anyone tell you that this is over!
On Tuesday, Newfoundland’s Justice Minister spoke out firmly against the Crime Bill, saying it has not been properly studied, and the actual costs will be “astronomical”.  On Wednesday, Grand Chief Derik Nepinak of Manitoba’s Assembly of Chiefs, called a national press conference to say that the bill’s mandatory sentences would continue the legacy of residential schools, and must be opposed. Nepinak said that “instead of investing in jails we need to invest in healing.” 
The Manitoba Chiefs are calling on our Senate to provide the sober second thought that our country so desperately needs. Let’s join them.
This action is about checks and balances. Remember that every time you write, every time you speak out, you give people the courage to join you. You give people courage to speak truth to power. And we are so grateful to you, because to change the world, we must first change the conversation.
It’s time to speak out, and ask your province’s Senators to rise above partisan politics, look at the evidence, and make Canada safer, not meaner.
- “A bad day: what now?” by Alex Himelfarb:
- Ottawa’s omnibus crime bill criticized by Newfoundland justice minister
- Crime bill furthers legacy of residential schools: Nepinak