Public Safety Minister Vic Toews touts crime agenda in Morinville visit
By: By Ryan Tumilty
| Posted: Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 06:00 am
Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews promised the government will continue to focus on the criminal justice system, while touting the Harper administration’s achievements so far in a speech in Morinville Friday.
At the invitation of local MP Brian Storseth, Toews was in town to speak with the local Rotary Club about the tough-on-crime agenda the government has pursued since it was first elected.
“For far too long our justice system has been going in the wrong direction. We focused on blaming society rather than holding offenders accountable,” said Toews in his speech.
He argued the criminal justice system had been led down the wrong path, beginning with former prime minister Pierre Trudeau’s government in the 1970s.
Toews, the MP for Provencher, which is near Winnipeg, touted government bills that end two-for-one credit for pre-trial time, the changes to the pardon system and other changes.
Even the government’s changing of the term “pardon” to “record suspension” was an important step for victims, he said.
“Calling the suspension of a criminal record a pardon does not do justice to the victim,” he said.
He said the government is also proud of eliminating pardons for those convicted of sexual crimes against children.
“There are certain crimes that are so heinous that a society has the obligation never to forget those crimes and to insure our children are protected,” he said.
Toews also dismissed concerns that prisons would have to be expanded to deal with a booming prison population.
“These are the same old guys who have always been going in and out of our prison system. Now we are just not letting them out.”
Toews also said the Conservatives have been smart about enacting policies that could impact crime and not targeting legal gun owners.
He said bail changes, which put a reverse onus on offenders seeking bail when they are arrested on weapons charges, are helping keep weapons off the streets.
“Just in small ways like that, the reverse onus on bail, which virtually cost nothing, has done far more than a $2 billion gun registry.”
Toews said crime statistics that show a decline in the rates of crime are not acceptable, because there is no acceptable level of crime.
“It is not good enough to say that only so many people are getting murdered or raped so we can tolerate a certain level of rape or murder,” he said.
Storseth said he brought Toews to the community because he knows crime is an important topic for local residents.
“It is a great opportunity to have a high profile minister in our constituency and he is talking about a subject that is near or dear to the people in this community,” Storseth said.