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Friday, January 06, 2006

The Shotgun Approach to Politics

"Canadians have a reason to be nervous. The CPC is moving closer to the position in which the US Republican Party finds itself. If the Conservatives form government, the differences will be difficult to distinguish."

- A quote from The Galloping Beaver: The Albatross Around Harper's Neck

The recent spat of gun violence in Toronto as spurned the major political parties to make pronouncements about Gun control and the justice system as is. The unfortunate part of the problem is that they both miss the point. Looking the CPC record on religion and continuing to the issue of gun control one can identify a theme of shallow, unreflective political policy pandering to the populist sentiments in the West.

The CPC is a scary place to be. Living in Alberta I get to enjoy the full bore white-hot conservative rhetoric straight from its fetid wellspring. The CPC's policies as of late reflect the knee jerk reaction-action politics that often typifies the Right. I should mention here that the proposed Liberal ban of all handguns in Canada is also in the same vein, but with slightly less disastrous consequences.

Let us get this straight for the record. Tougher laws and more stringent sentences will not solve the problem of violence in Toronto. It seems like the simple straight solution but it is not. The case of punitive sentencing and its effectiveness is being played out right now south of our border. The United States incarcerates its people at a rate greater than any other Western nation. What has it achieved? The Human Rights Watch article says it best I think:

"The country[the US] that holds itself out as the "land of freedom" incarcerates a higher percentage of its people than any other country. The human costs — wasted lives, wrecked families, troubled children — are incalculable, as are the adverse social, economic and political consequences of weakened communities, diminished opportunities for economic mobility, and extensive disenfranchisement.”

This is not way we should proceed. It is an obvious failure. Will our media have the gumption to pick up on this issue? I seriously doubt it. Reflective thinking and fact have little to do with what is printed in the media today.

We need more time to think about the issues rather than the soundbytes we are being bombarded with. I think a few of us might realize that the initial starting conditions have a lot to do with the violence that is plaguing our cities. Addressing the initial conditions: poverty, inequality, drugs [etc...] are the keys to sucessfully combating the violence in our cities. Essentially, stopping crime before it starts.

The political leader that espoused this view would be attacked from all sides...being "soft" on crime and what not...but they would have the right answer and my vote.


Blogger babzog said...

My view, as a Conservative, is that a two pronged attack on crime is required. You need to first lock up those who are committing crimes - the guilty must be punished (and the innocent protected) for their actions which they know to be wrong. Second, you need to work with communities, as you suggest, to stop the escalation of criminal behaviour amongst the youth and unemployed.

The tough thing about it is, you can bring a horse to water but you can't make him drink. You can implement a host of programs designed to tech skills and find employment, but not everyone will want to take part, preferring to retain their perceived "freedom". If can at least reach a respectable percentage of these people though, the program will have done its job.

10:08 a.m.

Blogger Sardeth said...

Babzog, a very good point. A two pronged attack is a good idea.

There is a certain segment of the population that will commit crimes no matter what programs / laws we have in place.

The political focus as of late though has been very Law & Order 'lock them away till they rot' overtones to the debate. That is the part that is worrysome to me, because either methodolgy mentioned is not as effective if used alone.

5:10 p.m.


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