Letter from New Brunswick retirees in a Conservative Riding: FIX this problem quickly!

What happened to that wonderful (or illusory!) democratic notion of public consultation ?? Please attend to (FIX) the problem quickly.
From a retired Teacher and Social Worker, New Brunswick

MP John Williamson is a Conservative House of Commons rep for New Brunswick Southwest, where Omnibuster Jordan Arseneault’s parents live and have worked their whole lives as a teacher and social worker, respectively.

They demand that Mr. Williamson and his government “Please attend to (FIX) this problem quickly.” Here’s a sample of what you can say to your MP: community rehabilitation, compassion, and fiscal responsibilities are social values that cross party lines. FIX Bill C-10, or drop it! Call or Write your MP today!

A note of concern re:Omnibus crime-Bill C-10.
While we can understand the need for a tougher stance on SERIOUS crime , we strongly feel that minor offenses and first-time offenders shouldn’t be placed in the same category as hardened criminals.
The court/justice/incarceration costs alone would be prohibitive if this Bill is allowed to pass without alterations….i.e. both thoroughly and thoughtfully…clause by clause .We would rather that the government be more fiscally responsible .
The societal costs could indeed be much higher ..the ‘lifelong record ‘, possible job loss, relationship ramifications etc.that our citizens might have to bear for a possibly very minor crime would make the passage of Bill C-10 “as is”  quite intolerable . 
What happened to that wonderful (or illusory!) democratic notion of  public consultation ??
Please attend to ( FIX) the problem quickly.

Flash demo at Riding Office Gets Great Media attention

On Friday (Nov. 25) Omnibusters were out in force letting the larger media know that C-10 is not a good idea.

In a show of solidarity with over 150 protests around the country the day before, we showed up in front of NDP MP and ally Hélène Laverdière’s office in Montréal. CTV Montreal, APTN National News, Global TV Montreal, CKUT, and RGmag were there to get the story, cameras and note-pads in tow.

Jordan Arseneault told CTV’s Stéphane Giroux “Poor people, First Nations and people stuck in cycles of violence will be adversely affected,” he said, although he also lambasted the bill for privileging the wealthy who are able to afford better legal representation to keep them out of jail.


Omnibuster Jason C. McLean This bill opens the door for so many bad things. I mean, our prison system’s not great already. There’s a disproportionate number of native people in prison. It’s not perfect and this bill will make it worse.” See the video here:


Hélène Laverdière pointed out that “If the money used for prisons would be invested in social programmes… it’s not only because it’s nice for people, it’s also because it’s the wisest way of doing things.” Behind her, Omnibuster Jordan Van Tassel showed up to hold the “Kill Bill C-10” banner made especially for It Could Get Worse. He later did an interview for CKUT’s Friday Off the Hour.

Marlo Turner Ritchie, whose Omnibusting has helped get the media attention for It Could Get Worse and who has been writing numerous letters to MPs, hammered home to RGmag that the demo was not a fringe movement: the governments of Ontario, Newfoundland, and especially Québec have roundly criticized Bill C-10’s unjust and short-sighted mandatory sentences.

While this media coverage really helps the cause, it’s really up to all of us to let our voices be heard.


Let Me Tell You a Story about Bill C10 – Omnibuster Chris

Chris (Montreal, QC) tells us a story of what Bill C10 can do to families and the ones we love. Canada is know for compassion towards its citizens and the world. Say NO to the Omnibus Crime Bill.

Sign the petition, write and call your Member of Parliament now: tell them you oppose Bill C-10!

It could get worse—don’t let it!

Prisons are Not Treatment Centers – Omnibuster Jess

Jessica MacCormack (from BC) is a university professor and video-maker who has spent time working with women in the prison system. She tells us that prisons are horrible places to live and that people that need help should not be sent to prison because “Prisons are not mental health treatment centres.” Say NO to the Omnibus Crime Bill!

Sign the petition, write and call your Member of Parliament now: tell them you oppose Bill C-10!

It could get worse—don’t let it!

Flash-demo against Omnibus Crime Bill – Projet de loi C-10 – Manif éclair

People in the riding of Laurier Ste-Marie (and all of Montréal!) come out to oppose Omnibus Crime Bill C-10! Le texte en français suit
MP Hélène Laveridière has already spoken against it, but we will be meeting in front of her riding office in solidarity with LeadNow.ca and Canadians across the country who have demonstrated in front of their MPs offices (and “Occupied” them!) this week. She will be there to listen and speak as well.

Flash-demo against Omnibus Bill C-10 at 1001 de Maisonneuve Est, Montréal, Fri. Nov. 25th @ 1pm, in solidarity with LeadNow.ca and concerned Canadians everywhere!

Bill C-10 may now be voted on as early as Monday, Nov. 28. We stand with LeadNow.ca and leaders who know that longer sentences, more prisons, and putting more youth, LGBTs, Frist Nations, and people affected by poverty behind bars IS NOT THE ANSWER.

The banner will be there (thank you, G. Tucker!), along with a group of Omnibusters from Forget the Box and the queer community.
Come, bring a friend, and meet the MP for the Village if you like!
Check out videos opposing the bill here: www.youtube.com/omnibusters

Les résidents de la circonscription Laurier Ste-Marie, et de partout à Montréal, se rassemblent pour une manif-éclair contre le projet de loi C-10, le projet cruel contre le crime.

Nous y serons pour une manif-éclair (+ discussion + rencontre avec la Député du Village) contre le projet de loi Omnibus C-10 au 1001 de Maisonneuve Est, vendredi le 25 nov. 13h

La Député Hélène Laveridière, déjà ouvertement opposée à ce projet conservateur, sera présente, avec It Could Get Worse et maintes autres citoyens, en solidarité avec les Canadiens partout au pays qui ont manifesté devant les bureaux de leur députés parlementaires hier. Mme. Laveridière (NPD), sera à l’écoute de nos inquiétudes, et nous partagera ce que le NPD a fait pour s’y opposer jusqu’ici.
Le projet de loi Omnibus C-10 pourrait être voté dans la Chambre des Communes d’ici lundi (le 28 nov.). Nous nous manifestons pour déclarer collectivement que la PRISON n’est pas une réponse adéquate au crime, surtout quand aux jeunes, aux LGBT, aux Premières Nations, et aux personnes vivant dans la pauvreté.
Nous demandons, en concert avec le gouvernnment du Québec, le NPD, la Ligue des droits et libertés, la Société John Howard, Plaidoyer-Victimes, l’Association du Barreau canadien et PLEINS d’autres organismes et associations professionnelles, que le projet de loi C-10 soit abandonné!

Pour plus d’info sur les actions, les pétitions, et les vidéos, consulter:


Check The Facts – Omnibuster Laura

Laura Beeston (Winnipeg, MN) is the Editor in Chief at The Link newspaper. As a journalist she must always check the facts before publishing a story. She asks that you check the facts on the Omnibus Crime Bill because things don’t add up. The facts say that this bill will not help reduce crime. The fact is that crime rates are going down.


Sign the petition, write and call your Member of Parliament now: tell them you oppose Bill C-10!

It could get worse—don’t let it!

Judge Nunn Contradicts Conservatives, Says C-10 goes “Too Far”


After being repeatedly used as validator, Judge Nunn contradicts Conservatives on bill C-10


OTTAWA — Conservatives have repeatedly claimed that their crime bill is based on a study by Judge Melvin Nunn, but the judge spoke out this week against the bill, declaring the government was going too far.

On Wednesday, Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Justice, Robert Goguen, once again told the House of Commons that “Bill C-10 is based on an important study signed by Judge Nunn. This study led to amendments to the law to protect the public against young offenders.”

“Judge Melvin Nunn may well have done a study, but even the judge agrees the Conservatives are going too far with their bill,” said NDP Deputy Justice Critic, Françoise Boivin (Gatineau). “Judge Nunn was very clear in an interview this week. He shares the concerns of Quebecers and other critics of this bill.”

According to New Democrats, once again, the Conservatives are putting politics ahead of good laws and protecting public safety.“They’re ignoring the opinions of the provinces and crime experts who are tuned in to the reality of Canadians,” said Boivin. “Canadian families and provinces want more font-line police officers, not massive costs for a wrong-headed prisons agenda.”

For more information, please contact:

Marc-André Viau, lead caucus press secretary, 613-295-9228 or Marc-Andre.Viau@parl.gc.ca


Après avoir servi de validateur à maintes reprises, le juge Nunn contredit les Conservateurs à propos de C-10


OTTAWA — Les conservateurs ont plusieurs fois affirmé que leur projet de loi C-10 sur la criminalité s’appuyait sur une étude réalisée par le juge Melvin Nunn. Or, le juge a fait une sortie publique cette semaine pour s’opposer au projet de loi, affirmant que le gouvernement Harper allait trop loin avec celui-ci.

Mercredi, le secrétaire parlementaire du ministre de la Justice, Robert Goguen, a encore une fois affirmé à la Chambre des communes que le projet de loi C-10 avait été « fondé sur une étude importante signée par le juge Nunn. Cette étude a mené à des amendements à la loi afin de protéger le publique contre les jeunes contrevenants.»

« Le juge Melvin Nunn a bel et bien mené une étude, mais le problème, c’est que même le juge trouve que les conservateurs vont trop loin avec leur projet de loi, a souligné la porte-parole adjointe en matière de justice, Françoise Boivin (Gatineau). Le juge Nunn a été très clair lors d’une entrevue accordée cette semaine. Il partage les craintes des Québécois et d’autres personnes s’opposant à ce projet de loi. »

Selon le NPD, encore une fois, les conservateurs font passer les jeux politiques avant la règle de droit et la protection de la sécurité publique. « Ils ignorent les avis des experts en criminalité et des provinces qui, eux, sont à l’écoute des besoins des Canadiens », a conclu Mme Boivin. « Ce que les familles canadiennes et les provinces veulent, c’est plus de policiers, et non pas un programme défaillant de prisons qui va coûter une fortune. »

Pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez communiquer avec :

Marc-André Viau, attaché de presse principal du caucus, 613-295-9228 ou Marc-Andre.Viau@parl.gc.ca

Omnibuster Irkar Bejaars – The Crime Omnibus Bill targets Natives

Omnibuster Irkar Bejaars, (from Montreal & the Mohawk territories), is a native activist, community worker and filmmaker. He explains that the Omnibus Crime Bill targets natives and the already vulnerable members of our communities. He knows first hand that the prison system currently works and can successfully rehabilitate members of our society. We should not change this and we should not be implementing stricter prison terms. We should be investing in rehabilitation.

Sign the petition, write and call your Member of Parliament now: tell them you oppose Bill C-10!

It could get worse—don’t let it!

A crime victim opposed to Bill C-10: Omnibuster Alexis O’Hara

Inspired by all the great work over at http://www.itcouldgetworse.com , I wrote the letter below and sent it to the 12 members of the Parliamentary Justice Committee. It took me all day & it may not be the best piece of writing I’ve ever done, but I felt compelled to do something other than post one more link on Facebook offering up appalling evidence of the federal government’s ominous disregard for its citizens well-being and safety.

Letter to: 

Stephen Woodworth, Conservative, Kitchener Centre, Ontario (Member of Justice Committee)

Telephone: 613-995-8913 EMail: stephen.woodworth@parl.gc.ca

Dear Mr. Woodworth,

I am writing you today because I feel strongly opposed to Bill C-10. I reach out to you today as a Canadian voter and taxpayer, as a concerned aunt of six great children and as a crime victim.

In 2002, I was assaulted by a man with a long history of mental illness and alcoholism. I later learned that my assault had not been an isolated incident; he had previously assaulted at least two other women. I strongly believe that if he had received adequate treatment as a youth, he would not have developed a pattern of violence.

I was extremely grateful for the support I received from CAVAC, the crime victim’s assistance centre affiliated with Québec’s Ministry of Justice. They were helpful and supportive throughout the lengthy process of my recovery. My case was tied up in the court system for over two years, there was no measure of solace to be found in that waiting period. And I cannot say that the incarceration of my assailant would offer any solace. Solace was found through the personal work I did with the help of CAVAC, a good therapist and time.

The new crime bill will force so many more cases through the justice system, it’s hard to imagine a scenario other than longer waits for trials. The federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has repeatedly refused to offer concrete facts as to the benefits or costs of Bill C-10, offering up again and again, hollow talking points about “being concerned about victims”. As a crime victim, I am much more interested in prevention than deterrence. Prevention means eradicating child poverty, treating mental illness and fetal alcohol syndrome, strengthening programs for at-risk youth. None of these measures are even addressed in Bill C-10. Instead the bill aims to put more people – even teenagers! – in jail at an inestimable, and completely obfuscated, price tag. And to what effect? There is ample evidence that criminal behaviour is only honed in jail, and with the Bill’s provision to remove restrictions on the force prison guards may inflict on prisoners, a cycle of violence will spiral further out of control. These prisoners will be released some day. Do we not want them to come back as members of society or as predators further damaged by the prison experience?

The Canadian Bar Association is opposed to this bill, Aboriginal leaders are against it, the provincial governments of Ontario and Quebec are against it, even Republican Texans question the logic of enacting measures that they have found to be ineffective to the point of crippling their state economy. Please tell me why the Conservative government is in such a rush to enact this bill, without considering the concerns of community leaders, criminal justice professional or even addressing the many amendments the NDP and Liberal MPs have proposed?

I beg you, Mr. Woodworth, to consider the many negative effects Bill C-10 will have on the future of our youth, our communities, our country.

Thank you for your time,

Alexis O’Hara

Artist and educator

Montreal, Quebec

Eighteen Reasons to Speak out and Call MPs today about C-10

"Calling is effective, it really works," attests MP Laurin Liu, who opposes the Omnibus Bill C-10 because "it doesn't help victims, it only creates new ones."
Laurin Liu, MP (NDP, St-Eustache)

KILL BILL C10 banner by Omnibuster G Tucker for It Could Get Worse

Hello Omnibusters! The Big day has come! Today, when you go to call or e-mail your MP, back it up with a few key points about why this bill must not pass! Personalize your message, include your own story or research, but feel free to use any combination of these points from It Could Get Worse and other sources (CBC, Rabble, John Howard Society, CBA, CCLA, etc.)

See the related post “Justice is Calling” for which MPs are on the Justice Committee that we urge you to call today. “Calling is effective, it really works,” attests MP Laurin Liu, who opposes the Omnibus Bill C-10 because “it doesn’t help victims, it only creates new ones.”

It Could Get Worse – Don’t let it! Call your MP today.

1)    Hi I’m _____ from _____(feel free to say where you grew up, i.e. “Saint John, New Brunswick” or say Montréal. Non-voting Canadians and non-residents can call too. Anyone can call the MPs on the Justice Committee and be heard! List below.)

2)    This bill needs serious reconsideration and should be dropped entirely in order to focus on preventative measures, not punitive ones

3)    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. (CBC)

4)    Keeping a person in prison costs $100,000 a year. This is far more than it takes to help people get education, housing, and mental health services that are really needed to stop crime.

5)    Canada’s aboriginal people already represent up to 80 per cent of inmates in institutions in the Prairies, a national embarrassment that Bill C-10 will make worse.

6)    Scaling back on house arrest! That’s crazy! Canadian Bar Association attests.
7)    Eighty per cent of my students are criminals under this legislation. About 10 to 20 per cent of them would be liable to a mandatory minimum sentence in a federal penitentiary of two years for simply passing a tab of ecstasy at a party on university campus,” said Eugene Oscapella, a lawyer who was a founding member of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy and has appeared many times before Canadian Parliamentary committees on drug policy issues.

8)    Federal spending on corrections in Canada has gone up from $1.6 billion in 2005-06, when Stephen Harper’s Conservatives took power, to $2.98 billion in 2010-11. That’s an increase of 86 per cent. Soon, it will double.

9)    If mandatory sentences for small crimes and repeat offenses are instituted, the system overload will be tremendous. Already there are not enough lawyers available to do legal aid for people who are accused and cannot afford representation. This will result in the poorest and most disadvantaged people being stuck in a cycle of crime and kept at the margins of society.

10) Victimizing the most vulnerable. With mandatory minimums replacing conditional sentences, people in remote, rural and northern communities will be shipped far from their families to serve time.

11) Increased privatization, which will make prisons more and more independent from a responsible government approach to monitoring the conditions in those prisons.

12) There is nothing in the bill that will improve the likelihood of people rehabilitating after incarceration, and no funding is planned for improving rehabilitation services.

Three reasons from the John Howard Society of Manitoba:

13)  Preventative programs are more effective at fighting crime than blindly lengthening prison sentences; Bill C-10 contains no provisions to better fund prevention programmes, which the Harper Government has already started cutting;

14)  Cost: in the US, the cost of running the prison system has gone up 600% in the last 30 years without any real impact on crime rates.

15) Social cost: The prison-focused system creates more and more social and economic inequalities;”Putting people in jail for longer periods of time keeps them away from their families and communities, and they’re away from their responsibilities, making it harder for them to reintegrate into society.” – John Hutton, Nov 2011

Below are six broad points where the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is most concerned about the impact of this Bill:

16. Broad and vague amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act: Amendments give a very broad mandate to deny any foreign national a work permit and do not specify what factors would be used to target an individual as ‘at risk’ of being exploited.  It is also poor public policy to punish foreign individuals who are vulnerable to abuse as opposed to addressing the Canadian employers who exploit these populations.
17. Hollow expansion for the rights of victims: Both torture and terrorism are serious crimes of international concern.  Numerous Canadian victims of torture have been unable to access meaningful justice in Canadian courts– and yet the government has chosen only to make these amendments available to victims of terrorism.  Even victims of terrorism would have to have their cases ‘pre-approved’ by the government, which has the ability to decide which governments can and cannot be sued.  Canada should not play politics with victims of torture and terrorism.
18. Unconstitutional use of mandatory minimums: The use of mandatory minimums for broad and vague underlying offences may result in the imposition of unjust, grossly disproportionate sentences.  The drug provisions include low-level drug offences – producing as little as six marihuana plants – and extremely broad aggravating factors which would target all those who rent or live in a house they do not own.
The child pornography provisions criminalize, and would impose mandatory minimum jail sentences, for the consensual, legal sexual activities of youth and young adults.  There is little evidence that mandatory minimums provide any deterrent impact, enhance community safety or lower crime rates.  There is also little evidence to suggest that they will significantly impact sentences for the most serious offenders – who are already being sentenced to significant amounts of jail time by the judiciary.  Rather they will handcuff the judiciary, preventing them from responding to unique facts and exceptional personal circumstances.
>> Read CCLA’s op-ed on this question “Mandatory Minimum Sentences Are Just Plain Wrong

19. Prison conditions and disparate impact of amendments on aboriginal peoples and persons requiring mental health care:  The proposed will amendments greatly increase the prison population, and are likely to have a disproportionate and devastating impact on already-marginalized communities – particularly Aboriginal peoples and those with mental health needs.  These populations are already greatly over-represented in correctional institutions, and existing programs and services are already ineffective and insufficient to keep up with general demand.