Letter from Marlo, Omnibuster youth activist, to Justice Committee Chair Dave MacKenzie

Marlo was going to be part of our first batch of Omnibuster videos, but something came up, so she drafted this letter to the Chair of the Parliamentary Justice Committee, Conservative MP Dave MacKenzie. Call him. Write him. Now. It works. Thank you, Marlo!

It Could Get Worse – Don’t let it!

letter to: 

Dave MacKenzie, MP (and Justice Committee Chair)
Federal, Conservative
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Telephone: 613-995-4432
Email: dave.mackenzie@parl.gc.ca

November 22, 2011

Dear Mr. MacKenzie,

I am writing to register my deep concern and dismay over the proposed Omnibus Bill C-10, an Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts.

I join with the thousands of other Canadians who have signed the petitions at Avaaz.org and Leadnow.ca, members of leading non-profit organizations, the Canadian Bar Association, and I am also bolstered by our elected representatives in Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland.

I oppose this bill for three reasons and am inspired by young activists in Montreal working on a campaign called “It could get worse…don’t let it” to simplify my reasons as follows:

1) There’s no policy, money, or thought to prevention and education in the bill. Safer housing and help with mental health and drug addiction are the REAL efforts that help keep crime rates low
2) It’s too expensive! It costs over $100,000 a year to keep someone in prison.
3) The social costs are WAY too high. Putting people in prison creates criminals, not communities.

As a young woman with over fifteen years experience in management in the non-profit sector, I know that there are many complex social issues to sort through when it comes to creating safe, healthy communities. What would our country look like if everyone who had mental health challenges, addictions, or who were struggling with the compounded effects of poverty and discrimination of various forms, were given an equal shot at having a vibrant life? I’m deeply upset that this bill proposes threatens to criminalize those who need and deserve special care.

What would you want for your children, your grandchildren? To be sent to prison, or to have a chance to learn about reducing risks in their lives and those of others, a chance at reconciliation and healing?

I implore you to do everything in your power as Chair of the Justice Committee to engage with leading experts, who are working in the best interests of all citizens, and to revise this bill significantly.

The health of our communities and freedom of our youth depends on your actions.


Ms. Marlo Turner Ritchie
BA in Humanities and Social Sciences
Youth Activist

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