Rightist criminal reform bill up in Canada

Sept. 20, 2011 at 4:19 PM
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OTTAWA, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Canada's Conservative party flexed its new parliamentary majority muscle Tuesday in Ottawa, introducing sweeping rightist judicial reform legislation.

The bill is called the "Safe Streets and Communities Act" and is considered an omnibus measure that incorporates at least 12 bills the Conservatives couldn't pass in five years as a minority government based on leftist opposition, Postmedia News reported.

It calls for harsher penalties for convicted sexual predators, drug traffickers and child abusers.

The Conservatives' push comes at a statistically inopportune time; the federal Statistics Canada agency reported in July that major crimes such as murder, attempted murder, assault and robberies were in decline.

The agency said attempted murders last year in the country of 33 million in 2010 totaled 693, the lowest number in more than 30 years.

Various Conservative Party estimates released before the summer parliamentary recess said the anti-crime measures that include building more jails could run as high as $2.1 billion, the Globe and Mail said.

Interim Liberal Party leader Bob Rae told reporters he was perplexed that the Conservatives would launch a new parliamentary session with judiciary overhaul.

"It's crazy that the government wouldn't be focusing more on the economy," Rae said.

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