Publications, opinions, and speeches
Prisons or poverty? The choice is clear
Published on 06/04/2011
Since 2006, the Harper Government has drained its own coffers. It cut the GST by two percentage points, creating an annual revenue loss of $12 billion. It trimmed corporate taxes, from 18 to 16.5 percent, effective 2011, and made other smaller tax cuts, which taken together deprive it of a substantial amount of revenue. Yet the government somehow manages to find money for its favourite expenditures: war and crime. Significant amendments to the Criminal Code will cost Canadians an estimated $1 billion annually over five years. This, despite evidence that building massive prisons has already proven ineffective and breathtakingly expensive in the United States because every dollar spent on prison is a dollar not spent on the factors that contribute to criminal behaviour. This commentary argues that instead of focusing on the consequences of crime, the Harper government should tackle the causes − including the problems of persistent poverty and growing inequality.
This commentary was published as an op ed in the National Post on March 15, 2011.
ISBN – 1-55382-504-7