Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rob Moir raises warning flag over 'two-tiered' youth justice

23 September 2008
Hampton, New Brunswick


Fundy Royal New Democratic Party candidate Rob Moir is very concerned with Mr. Harper's recent proposals as part of his promise to "get tough" on youth crime. In an announcement this week, Harper stated that he wants to make it easier for courts to name young offenders.

"Mr. Harper suggests that 'name-and-shame' will lower youth crime," comments Moir, "but criminologists generally disagree. In the act of committing an offence, people rarely consider the consequences. Besides, we already have a Youth Criminal Justice Act that permits naming in certain cases."

Moir suggests that an increase the number of police officers, a renewed focus upon pro-active policing, and significant investment in the community - including youth programs and crime prevention strategies - is what is really needed. "Jack Layton and the New Democrats propose a solution that works, instead of one that fills jails with kids," says Moir.

Despite the questions he has of this policy and its potential effectiveness, a lesser-known caveat in the proposal has him perplexed. "The rules proposed by Mr. Harper would apply to 14 year-olds across Canada," notes Moir, "but to 16-year olds in Quebec."

Commentators speculate that this is because Mr. Harper wants to expand his caucus in vote-rich Quebec.

"Are we still one country?" asks Moir. "If Mr. Harper likes the more progressive views of Quebec on youth crime, then why not use Quebec as a model for the rest of the country; and while we're at it, why not implement their childcare program and their carbon trading system as well?"

Rob Moore, the Conservative candidate in Fundy Royal, was previously the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice. He would have known of this component of Mr. Harper's platform.

"I would like the public to know if Mr. Moore agrees with two-tiered youth justice." says Moir. "Does he agree with his leader in that there should be one set of rules for Quebec, and one for the rest of Canada? If so, why?"

See Related Story in today's Globe and Mail, "Harper pitches two-tier youth justice plan"

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