Canadian Politics: 2011 Edition

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Raven, Mar 24, 2011.

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  1. Piltdown Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2002
    star 5
  2. ImpKnight Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2008
    star 3
    Ok Gonk. So if someone goes 50 km/hr over the speed limit down a road, hits a person walking or someone on a bike, and kills them, are you saying they should not go to jail because it was basically an accident? Because they are not likely to reoffend?

    I don't think we are going to agree on this one.
  3. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    I think that what he's saying is that putting said person in jail for 10-20 years isn't going to do much more than drain taxpayer dollars for 10-20 years, while 1-3 years would serve to the same level of deterrent, and it would put the person back into society where they can start contributing again.
  4. keynote23 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2006
    star 1
    Be a political leader. They've all got 'em (maybe barring the greens). Alternatively you could be a priest. Except in church they say amen over and over instead of laughing. Same difference. Supporters who aren't doing a lot of thinking. Harper's are particularly cultish in nature. At least churches are interested in spreading their message to the curious. According to Harper you've got to be a faithful before you walk in the door or else apparently you're not pure enough to hear his holy words.


    If I may Gonk....

    I think what he's saying is that past a certain point there's no purpose punishing them. There comes a point where a sentence becomes excessive with no other purpose except to punish. Let's say violent crime X will get you 20 years in prison. That might be a good deterrent. Let's say the laws change to potentially make it 25 or 30. Those last 5 to 10 years may not really matter because at some point an offender can't be any more deterred by the length of a sentence. Now YOU might be deterred by it, but many if not most probably won't be if already committed to partaking in a criminal act. That means in many cases those last 5 to 10 years now are solely being attached for purpose of punishment and at the cost of money spent which could be spent elsewhere including education, trade, poverty, etc.

    The other things is that deterrents only work when the potential offender has time to weigh it into his decisions. That's why they don't have as much bearing on things like crimes committed in the heat of the moment.

    Your example of a guy driving on the road works for the purposes of deterrence because that man is old enough and responsible enough to understand the consequences of what may occur as a result of his actions.

    In other cases though, by keeping people incarcerated for overly long periods you're just wasting taxpayer money and in a sense stealing from those who might otherwise benefit from it. In effect you are making a person's crime that much more harmful to society at large strictly for the purposes of self-satisfaction.

    Deterrence only works to a certain length of years and even then only when a perpetrator is expected to have the intellectual capacity consider the factors of deterrence (which is why we don't try children the same as adults.) The same level of perception and maturity in their decision making is generally agreed upon to be beyond their capacity.
  5. ImpKnight Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2008
    star 3
    Obviously 5 years extra on a 20 year sentence is not that large of a difference. My problem is the people that get double time served for their pre-trial incarceration and those who get out after 1/3 or 2/3 of their sentence. I don't care what it costs to keep someone in jail, and I never will.


    Can't wait for the debate. Hopefully it's quite a bit better than last election's.
  6. BLACKJEBUS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2002
    star 4
    In terms of criminal sentencing, I feel that the liberal approach is to put society first. The conservative approach is to put the victims first. Really, I think that is the difference.

    Personally, I like tough criminal sentences for violent crimes and sex offenses and think the Conservatives' plan to minimize re-offenders by keeping them behind bars resonates well with a lot of people - especially those who have been victims of a crime and only see the criminals receive a slap on the wrist.
  7. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    In terms of criminal sentencing, I feel that the liberal approach is to put society first. The conservative approach is to put the victims first. Really, I think that is the difference.

    Actually it's more that its about putting what they THINK is in the interests of those groups first.

    The Liberal approach of putting society first might not be so cool if they were working on large untested theories, going all Mao Tse Tung. But since they pretty much generally stick to the numbers and statistics and what's worked in the past, I dont have a problem with that.

    If I thought Conservatives were really working in the interests of the victim, I'd give them more leeway. But they're not: they're pushing for legislation based on an emotionally-based judgments on what they think is either what victims want, or what is in their best interests. Since neither is quite true, they're not really out for the victims, either.

    That's not to say they're just out for themselves out and out: a lot of conservatives are thinking from the standpoint of if it happened to them, they'd want justice and or revenge. And some victims do want that.

    But, first of all, what about those that don't? The Conservative response is tailored to a certain kind of victim response. Those who would forgive the person that did this to them need not apply. Conservatives will push through legislation that dictates what they feel you should be pushing for. Because while it might be what you want it is, by definition, what THEY want. Since they neither know the victim nor the criminal personally, it really couldn't be any different. You can't get empathy from a political party. Some would argue you can't get it from a politician, period.

    Second of all, by pushing for punishment above all, can it really be argued that the Conservatives are really looking out for the victim and what is in their best interests? Sometimes, even if the victim feels differently, what might be in the best interests of the victim has nothing to do with punishing the criminal. It could be argued that paying for psychological help might benefit victims far more than punishing their perpetrators. But Conservatives don't really show a lot of interest in that.

    The thing about Conservative solutions, whether in Canada, the US, or anywhere else, is that they're often much more about prosecuting the guilty than protecting the innocent. That doesn't mean Conservatives don't care about protecting the innocent: it's just that the focus is on punishing the guilty. Probably because it's easier.
  8. ImpKnight Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2008
    star 3
    Can you elaborate on the liberal approach? I'm curious.
  9. BLACKJEBUS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2002
    star 4
    I am all for both, actually.
  10. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Well when I speaking "Liberal" approach and "Conservative" approach, remember I'm speaking in general terms: neither party really controls either approach (most especially the Liberals in this case). The Conservatives may seem to indulge one manner of thinking but they could just as easily not.

    What I'm speaking of in terms of a Liberal approach is really just pragmatic thinking, and putting society first in terms of governance not because that's the only business of government, but because it's really the only thing government can adequately do. Government should not, for instance, try to play a role in victim grief councelling not because it is or isn't the place for it, but because it will ultimately fail. If the Liberal approach seems detached and aloof, it's not because that's how Liberals are: that's how government is, and it can't be any other way in a representative Democracy. Does that MP fellow from Charlettown just not seem to get your problems out in Calgary? Of course not: he doesn't know you, and you don't know him. And if the two of you happened to agree, that's not a true understanding of one another: it's just happenstance.

    The way I envision a Liberal approach to a problem is to try to give the maximum benefit to society without overriding the rights of the minority, whether that minority be the Native groups of Canada, or white westerners. The concept of creating a larger prison system, spending money on it and having an analogous position to the US creates a lot of problems for everyone. The numbers bear that out. Yes, it might seem that by saying you don't want bigger prisons you're telling victims that you don't care about what they're due: the problem is that if all victims want this sort of retribution, in the long term giving that to them results in hidden costs that we all end up bearing, not just financially but also how our society functions later on down the line.

    Maybe think about it this way: the Conservative is a human being, the Liberal is a machine (again, not by party, but theory). Both are given 100 years to make a government for humans.

    After 100 years we see both societies. Neither is perfect. But the Liberal machine has, despite its cold calculations and lack of empathy, built the better and more productive society because it has focused on what has worked rather than what has not. There are those unhappy within that society and complain that the machine is exactly that, and doesn't care about their problems like the human Conservative government does.

    This is true. But it is exactly BECAUSE of that, that the society benefits the most. In the Conservative human government, there is much more attempts at empathy and appeal to the masses: but this is exactly the problem. Those in government know the people they govern, on a personal level, no better than the Liberal machine. At an individual level each member of the government only knows the problems of his family and his friends, and those people travel in different circles than the people they govern. The Conservative nation may be ruled by humans who have the same failings they do, but this is buying them nothing. It's only consigning them to mistakes and ideology.

    Because this is an analogy it looks like I'm advocating the takeover of our future computer overlords. No, of course not: what I'm saying is that people often think that emotions and their responses are what make us better and more humane. What I am saying is that when taken to the level of government, this is no longer true: process, created properly, actually becomes more humane than the very humans that create it.
  11. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
  12. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Personally, I like tough criminal sentences for violent crimes and sex offenses and think the Conservatives' plan to minimize re-offenders by keeping them behind bars resonates well with a lot of people - especially those who have been victims of a crime and only see the criminals receive a slap on the wrist.

    Coming back to this, unfortunately this is a perscription for just having more criminals. The Conservative plan might resonate with a lot of people, but those people are wrong and have a responsibility to their society to not green-light plans that are proven not to work.

    For reference:

    http://www.cyc-net.org/cyc-online/cycol-0500-mendler.html

    Quoting from the bottom:

  13. Piltdown Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2002
    star 5
    That article is one step above twitter posts.
  14. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Ah, I see. So that would be your justification for disregarding it. Just 'cuz.

    What about this link? Any better?

    http://www.aypf.org/publications/mendel/index.html

    Same guy, just a different location and different content on the same subject matter.

    Or are divergent viewpoints themselves consigned to the Twitter+ market in your opinion?
  15. Piltdown Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2002
    star 5
    I was able to Google "Mendel Report" just fine myself. You're much better off with that second link, but it doesn't help your case.

    I'm not questioning the content of the article, nor do I disagree with it; however, I do insist that if you're going to reference something to support your argument, use the actual publication. This was, admittedly, one click away from your second link. Like me, you probably got this from Googling "Mendel Report", "Richard Mendel", or something similar. It's far more believable! It has references, information on the survey field, and all sorts of supporting information.

    Your first link screams "desperate Google search to support my argument" and doesn't even reference the full article.

    Again, I have no interest in becoming involved in the debate at hand. It is an endless argument that has been rehashed uncountably many times in the past, and will continue to be the subject of debate so long as there is crime. I do insist that if you want to throw links around as something to stand on, don't grab the first thing you find without considering where it came from. It makes for better reading.


  16. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    I see.

    Well then I apologize for not having everything part and parcel in one post and only referencing something else written by the same individual, then coming back and following up. I will endeavor next time to need no follow up.

    Although I fail to see what criticizing someone's Googling skills has to do with the argument at hand, or why you would bother to involve yourself if you did not dispute the content. I'll admit: I was pretty sure the information was out there, and I went to find it knowing I had a limited amount of time to post before I had to go. But I thought I'd spent too much time shooting my mouth off without anything to back it up. If it was a desperate search, it was a desperation of my own creation: nobody PPOR'd me.
  17. ImpKnight Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2008
    star 3

    Oh. Nuts.
  18. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6

    Oh. Nuts.

    Well IK, if you want to post figures or studies yourself that are, say, more reputable than the studies published by "scientists" that deny global warming (i.e: they're not going against 90% of their peers and up), I will gladly retract my statement.

    I might not know the names and details of the studies I look though: it would be dishonest to claim to be since those I have looked through was some time ago -- I was aware of the crime statistics Raven posted before, for example, but I don't remember where it came from or the site I saw them on since it could have been as long as between 1-10 years since taking a look.

    I could be wrong -- heck, I can always be wrong: turns out posting that link wasn't the best idea -- but the subject matter here isn't really all that subjective. Will getting tougher on crime really help anything? If so, why aren't more nations doing it? If not, why are WE doing it? If someone's argument is just "well I don't care about the figures, I want just criminals to be punished more", is that really making things better? And if you don't care about making things better, why vote?

    Harper's maligned more than he needs to be. But I'm sorry, I don't see how someone who's looked through crime stats before and wanted to reduce them is going to think his crime bill is a good idea.
  19. ImpKnight Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2008
    star 3
    First, just a nit pick. Most "scientists" that were previously on the global warming bandwagon have switched to the term "climate change".


    On the crime/punishment issue, I'm done. All you can do is show me how the current system doesn't work. I guess until we have a system the left wants, and we can see how it works, it will always seem better than what we have.


    I enjoyed the debate. Two hours went by fast. I wish they didn't include the Bloc, but see why the are obligated.
  20. Piltdown Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2002
    star 5
    Really. You didn't find it embarrassing?
  21. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    That's more of a "rebranding" than a change of position. "Climate change" as a euphemism for global warming goes back to at least 1994 and refer to the exact same process. Climate change is currently preferred because its currently a less loaded term and because it also makes it more clear that local irregularities exist due local conditions (i.e., Edmonton is going to experience global warming differently than Halifax will).

    This covers a fair amount of the global warming issues, and makes it fairly clear that they're talking about the same thing. As it puts it,
    So, if you hear someone saying that they're not concerned about global warming, but this climate change thing worries them then the Left has already won. It's the exact same problem, using a different name. :p



    Personally, I think that our criminal justice system in its current form works fine. If we want to improve, I would think that we should model our system more closely after democratic nations that show demonstrably lower crime rates. Wikipedia has a list of countries by incarceration rate; the United States is first on the list, putting 743 people per 100,000 in prison, while Canada puts 117 per 100,000 in prison. And yet, we have less crime. More to the point, look to the democratic countries that are safer than Canada, countries like Iceland, Finland, Japan, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, etc.

    Those countries are safer than us tend to have lower prison populations than us. Countries like the US, Russia, Brazil the Ukraine and South Africa, with higher incarceration rates have higher crime rates. Putting people into prisons on a large scale doesn't reduce crime in a democratic nation. Comparing world crime rates and world incarceration rates shows that fairly clearly. Increasing our prison population would cost Canada more money and make us less safe. If we're going to spend nine billion on the criminal justice system, I'd rather see it spent to research and adapt the successes of other democratic nations that are safer than Canada into Canadian law and procedure, than to see Canada copy the highly flawed US system.
  22. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    My fear about this, the crime bill, is that it's going to have long-term effects that it will be difficult to get out of.

    One of the reasons some of these countries have such bad crime problems, in my view, is because the government, criminal element, and the public all work together in a downward spiral:

    1. Criminals commit crimes, sparking emotional responses in the public
    2. Public demands criminals be cracked down on
    3. Government cracks down
    4. Crack-down makes it easier for individuals to become criminals, and harder for those that are criminals to stop being criminals. Resulting in more criminals and more crimes.
    5. Criminals commit crimes...

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    In this case the Conservatives are sort of skipping step 2. But my thinking is that if this crime bill goes through, conditions will change in years to come where crime actually DOES get worse, and that step will emerge. And rather than looking today for solutions to the problem, they'll do the thing that comes most naturally: wanting to punish the criminals and for the government to crack down. And off we'll go.

    I'm unaware our system is in crisis. It strikes me as trying to fix something that isn't very broken, and to the degree it's not optimal, it's using tools borrowed from nations whose crime problems are worse than ours. Why the Conservatives would want to adopt this position is something I don't understand (or I DO understand and get very angry about), and the desire to vote for such a party I understand even less -- when the other viable party has none of those demerits and has a past financial record of doing what Conservatives say they want done.
  23. Piltdown Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2002
    star 5
    Is no one else worried that Ignatieff seems to have quoted Mao Zedong last night? I would be pleased if someone could convince me that isn't what he did...

    How about the nation of Quebec? Do you think the glorious nation deserves to be recognized as such by the other party leaders? Pretty sure Duceppe thinks he is running for Prime Minister of Quebecada.
  24. ImpKnight Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2008
    star 3
    No. Why? Other than the fact Gilles was there, I found in interesting.



    Can you explain this please. I know I said I was done, but I'm curious.


  25. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Is no one else worried that Ignatieff seems to have quoted Mao Zedong last night? I would be pleased if someone could convince me that isn't what he did...

    That won't be me, because I don't see that as significant. Are we really taking the notion that the Liberal Party is communist seriously?

    At least we'd know we can cap Ignatieff's rule at 5 years, then.



    Can you explain this please. I know I said I was done, but I'm curious.

    It's sort of between the lines. I will grant that, at present, it takes a couple of assumptions on top of the crime bill, but at this point they're fair ones to make since it seems the logical next step that once these new prisons are built and upgraded, they will be USED.

    Firstly, I don't mean to say that building new prisons will create more criminals in and of itself: you have to send the people to those prisons first. However, the only sense I can make of the Conservatives spending 11 billion on prisons is not just that they plan to keep current prisoners longer (again, to little social value and to a fiscal loss), but that they also plan on sending new people to prison by toughening up existing laws -- if not creating new laws.

    For instance, one thing that comes to mind is the Marijuana trade. It's not uncommon for people involved in these sorts of deals to get off with light sentences. And I would say a lot of these people end up only committing one or two or three minor indiscretions but eventually "grow up" and stop smoking or dealing the stuff. Or if they don't, they make it into a small business where they only sell to a small clientele (family and friends and such).

    This potentially becomes a large group of people that could start getting put away for jail time. And once in jail they're more likely to land in jail again once they emerge, with little benefit to society. The last thing we need as a society is increase the numbers of people who are familiar with going to jail -- it tends not to scare very many people straight.

    This can then be applied to all sorts of crimes where someone is presently more likely to get fines or community service rather than jail time: Prostitution, Petty Theft, Vandalism, etc. When someone says they're going to "get tough" on crime, my concern is not really that we're going to start incarcerating murderers for longer periods -- although I don't see how Canada's justice system makes it more likely for murders to occur than a more stringent one -- it's that the government is going to wind up sending people to prison who otherwise wouldn't go at greater cost to everyone, for crimes where jail sentences are of no real benefit.
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