Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- No, there's no doubt that the Harper Cons' position on greenhouse gas emissions has been both amoral in its disregard for climate change, and ill-founded in its pretence that Alberta's failing "intensity" targets will do anything positive. Which makes it all the more sad that the position has carried some sway as a matter of politics even where it's failed miserably as policy.

- David Climenhaga points out how Canada's right has echoed the anti-immigrant nuttery and total disregard for human rights of Joe Arpaio.

- Kim Mackrael reports on the price tag for the Cons' dumb-on-crime strategy - featuring both massive hikes from the Cons' past spin, and yet another huge chunk of pointless costs imposes on Canada's provinces:
Tabled in response to a rebuke from former House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken in March, 2011, the documents offer partial estimates for the cost of more than a dozen law-and-order bills previously introduced by the Tories, including several that were bundled into the omnibus legislation this fall.

The section on changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which are now part of Bill C-10, offers a “mid-range projection” that the cost of keeping youth in custody will grow by about 33 per cent each year as more young offenders are put behind bars for longer periods.

Noting that it is “virtually impossible” to project actual increases, the document pegs the total cost of changes to legislation on young offenders at $717-million over a five-year period. It adds that the federal government would likely end up paying half of the price tag.

Federal officials have suggested recently that Bill C-10 in its entirety, which includes eight other previously introduced bills, will cost Ottawa $78.6-million over five years.
No estimates are provided in the documents on the added cost of new mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of drug offences and sexual offences against children. A bid to end house arrest for some crimes will have the greatest impact on provincial and territorial institutions, the documents state, but no estimates are provided.

Quebec’s Ministry of Public Security has estimated that Bill C-10 will cost the province an extra $294-million to $545-million to expand the province’s prisons and $40-million to $74-million every year to service the additional inmates.
- Finally, Thomas Walkom points out that Ontario looks like just the latest jurisdiction to impose an austerity cure that's worse than a temporary credit disease.

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