Having been a staunch conservative since before the time I could vote I have always cast my ballot for the truly conservative party of the time. As someone who also served as a Director on my Riding Board for the Canadian Alliance I am very pleased with most of the enactments of the new government. But I am so displeased with one crucial aspect of this government's agenda, one which can be so easily made better for all. It is an issue which bothers many Canadians morally who feel as I do, even though, like me, they have no personal stake in this issue. It also represents a missed opportunity by this government, one which if taken advantage of can greatly increase the number of Tory supporters nationwide and do wonders for the party's overall popularity, a cause I have given significant effort to and hope to continue doing.
The issue at hand is the proposed crime legislation. Although it does not and will not effect me and although action does need to be done to ensure the safety of all Canadians, mandatory minimum sentences are not the way to go. Study after study documents that alternative sentencing, keeping an offender at home at night while performing weeks of back breaking labor by day, is more effective and has a greater effect on a person's rehabilitation into society. The difference between this approach and one which involves mandatory prison sentences is not only that by placing the offender in prison you are placing an already weak and destructive person in an atmosphere with constant reinforcement to lead a life of crime as soon as the offender is freed, thereby jeodardizing the safety of society instead of alleviating the problem, but by so doing one is also missing out on an opportunity to reform the offender, something which can be accomplished with a few weeks or months of truly hard labor. As the overwhelming majority of offenders are young, it is truly a shame to reinforce their negative behavior by surrounding them 24/7 with criminals instead of truly reforming them via alternative sentencing with a few hard lessons that can be absorbed quickly and which studies show would have lasting effects.
Should Tories champion alternative sentencing another great task would be accomplished. The party would cement its well deserved position as a party with original thoughts and that seeks to better society with bold, but needed proposals. It will also show the true compassion behind conservative philosophy as this solution is in the best interests of the offender, his or her children and in the end, of society as a whole. It is the compassionate and effective position and one which would put both Canada and the Conservative Government on the map as lead promoters of needed social change in a smart, beneficial and conservative way.
Alternative sentencing benefits offenders by training them not to reoffend as opposed to making them part of a greater gang of thieves, it benefits their families by keeping their children with a parent at home instead of behind bars whenever the parent's presence is more beneficial than his/her absence (and if not that is a matter for social services to handle and they could be alerted by the offender's work detail supervisor) and it benefits society by teaching offenders that criminality will be dealt with by way of swift and effective punishment not with time away spent solely with other convicts who most likely spend their days plotting away to alleviate their perpetual boredom.
The government that introduces it would have a ready refutation when their critics, devoid of ideas yet full of smears, accuse it of being "out of touch, heartless, etc." It is the compassionate choice, the sensible choice and the right choice. If enacted and explained in this context it will also be the extremely popular choice, forever cementing this government's repuatation as innovative, effective, original and caring. It will also make Canada an international leader in this area. What a shame it would be to miss such an opportunity and instead propose a solution that limits the power of judges familiar with their cases and which will surely be used as fodder by the opposition to rip this government's good name and all that it has fought so hard to accomplish to shreds the first time the results of this legislation are perceived to be unfair as usually happens with blanket bans or mandatory, across the board punishments. To the government - Please don't put the party in this position at a time when you can alternatively accomplish so much good for society as a whole and for the party at the same time.