All the witnesses appearing on Bill C 15 Mandatory Minimum Sentences for drug crimes) so far (save one who supports MMS) have flatly called for the Bill to be defeated. I agree this Bill must be defeated!! And indeed the NDP voted against it at Second Reading.
And now the BQ are saying, they too, will oppose it. The Liberals have said they will support the bill, with some amendments. They have asked witnesses a lot about the Drug Treatment Courts, which is a minor element of the Bill, and is there only as a small concession for those who think drug treatment courts are the way to go. (I don’t, for various reasons which I’m happy to elaborate on). But on the substantive issue of MMS for drug crimes they have been silent – and are prepared to vote for the Bill, it seems. I think the Liberals need to think this one through carefully…..as the Bill is the antipathy of the balanced four pillar approach, they have supported previously.
I will bring forward amendments to mitigate the worst elements of the Bill – but the NDP will remain opposed overall.
A very powerful witness on Monday was Deborah Small, from Break the Chains in New York. She provided excellent testimony of MMS experience in the US and the many lives and families that have been destroyed. Surely, we should learn from the US experience? I am still waiting for the Minister to produce ANY evidence he has, that MM’s for drug crimes work. (There’s lots to show they don’t work). This is a classic battle of Conservative ideology vs rational public policy. I’m doing all I can to ensure public policy wins out. For every one out there who has been so great on this – thank you – we’ve got to keep the pressure up – this Bill has to go!