I recently wrote this letter to Ken Epp, Member of Parliament and responsible for a piece of Conservative Party propaganda which arrived in my mailbox (and likely yours).
The Honourable Ken Epp,
c/o CRG Government Caucus Services
131 Queen Street, Suite 8-02
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario KIA 0A6
September 18 2008
Dear Mr. Epp,
I recently received a one-page brochure from you asking me, "Who do you think is on the right track on crime?" I’d like to answer that question for myself, but first I need more information. You state the "the Conservative Government will clean up drug crime" followed by a list which includes: "Punish drug pushers with more jail time, Keep junkies in rehab and off the streets, Crack down on cross border drug smuggling". My questions are as follows:
- How much will it cost Canadians to increase the sentences of "drug pushers"? Will the increased jail time make Canadians safer? If so, can you provide me with research evidence showing that increasing prison sentences for traffickers results in fewer drug crimes?
- What is a "junkie" and to what drugs are they addicted? Does that include pharmaceutical drug addicts who are not "on the streets"? What about tobacco pushers who are responsible for about 30,000 deaths a year in Canada? Will the Conservative government put them in jail too?
- How will the Conservative government "keep junkies in rehab" given the ethical and legal requirements for informed consent? For how long will they be kept in rehab? What research evidence can you show that mandatory treatment for drug addicts is successful and will make our country safer?
- What are the economic costs associated with the plan to "crack down on cross border crime?" More generally, how much will the Conservatives spend on "cleaning up drug crime", if elected?
I look forward to your reply. (I have taken the liberty to copy this email to Dominic LeBlanc, MP and Liberal Party Justice Critic.)
John Anderson, PhD
Chair, Criminology Department
Bldg 356-304, Malaspina University College
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
Ph. 250-753-3245, L. 2244