Crime bill tactics hide democratic debate on issue: Atamanenko

A “gag” order has been placed on democracy as the federal government looks to push through the omnibus crime bill, says Alex Atamanenko

A “gag” order has been placed on democracy as the federal government looks to push through the omnibus crime bill, the city’s MP says.

Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior, said the federal government has invoked closure on the Justice Committee’s debate on the government’s omnibus crime bill, C-10 — proposed legislation that seeks mandatory minimum sentences for child sex offences, drug trafficking and an end to pardons for serious violent and repeat offenders.

But the federal government is “hiding” from opposition scrutiny by invoking closure to limit the debate on the bill, despite there being 208 clauses that should undergo a thorough parliamentary scrutiny, as well as hundreds of amendments that will undoubtedly not be discussed at all, he said.

“By putting a gag order on democracy the Conservatives are saying they don’t care what the provinces think and they are not interested in what experts say or what the facts are. Worst of all they are saying they don’t care what Canadians think,” said Atamanenko in a press release. “But, this kind of authoritarian rule and abuse of power has no place in a parliamentary democracy.”

Bill C-10 is another instance of the federal government downloading its responsibility. It is the provinces that will have to pick up the tab of $78.6 million over five years.

Proposed mandatory minimum sentences for incest and sexual exploitation of children would result in additional correctional costs — with $10.9 million provided in the first two years.

Atamanenko said the provinces are refusing to pay the bill for the changes to the Criminal Code, which would increase prison population.

He added that, in light of declining crime rates, the bill makes little sense.

“Provincial leaders have raised serious and justifiable concerns about this bill,” he said. “They’re worried they can’t afford it, and that it won’t make communities safer.”

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