On second thought

From their scrum yesterday, Michael Ignatieff and Mark Holland explain the Liberal side’s decision to oppose Bill S-10.

Ignatieff: We’ve taken a long hard look at S-10, this mandatory minimum proposal of the government. We’ve tried to amend it, to no avail. It’s going to add huge amounts of money to Canadian prison costs. It’s going to target young – young people, you know, a guy who gets messed up with Tylenol 3 or has six marijuana plants, gets a mandatory minimum. We just think this is not the right way to go for Canadian justice policy. It follows a failed American model so we’re going to vote against it.

Holland: Canadian churches, Canadian health care providers and those on the front lines of stopping crime and stopping victimization in this country say this bill won’t work. And this bill will burden us with billions of dollars in new costs for prisons. It will send us down the same path California walked, the same path that the United Kingdom is now trying to undo. We simply can’t afford it. It will crush us. It will steal from priorities like health care and education and at the end of the day make our communities less safe.

Of note: when Parliament resumed business last month, the Conservatives vowed that no votes, aside from the budget, would be considered matters of confidence.