Ottawa Notebook


Monday, April 19, 2010 11:32 AM

Canadian outlook on crime hardening, poll suggests

Jane Taber

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, an aging population and a Conservative government have changed the way in which Canadians look at crime and punishment, with a new poll suggesting we are slightly more socially conservative than we were 10 years ago.

The EKOS survey shows that although a modest plurality of Canadians (36 per cent) support prevention as the main goal of the criminal justice system, those who support punishment as priority are on the rise – 30 per cent now, up from 22 per cent a decade ago. (Prevention used to garner 44 per cent support, down 8 percentage points over the past decade.)

“There is a tougher outlook on crime, and punishment takes a more prominent role in views of the underpinnings of the criminal justice system than it did a decade ago,” pollster Frank Graves says.

“This is why it is increasingly perilous for a politician to be caught on the wrong side of the ‘tough on crime’ debate, even if their policy position is more rational.”

Mr. Graves tested the attitudes of Canadians regarding crime as part of his study on the so-called “blueing” of Canada. He has also looked at capital punishment, abortion, same-sex marriage and the decriminalization of marijuana.

The EKOS study was provoked by a thesis and polling information published by the Manning Centre that concluded Canada is becoming more and more conservative or “blue.” The right-leaning think tank’s study found that 89 per cent of Canadians believed nothing is more important than family; 67 per cent believed marriage is between a man and woman and 60 per cent believed abortion is morally wrong.

Although, Mr. Graves found that Canadians line up with the Manning Centre’s views on crime, they do not in some of the other areas. His polling on abortion rights, for example, found that 52 per cent of Canadians are decidedly pro-choice. And 53 per cent of Canadians support same-sex marriage.

Overall, Mr. Graves says, Canadians are becoming increasingly progressive with the exception of crime. Indeed, the emphasis on punishment is much stronger among older, more poorly educated Canadians.

“The post-boomer cohorts, who are younger and more educated, accord punishment a much lower status in their hierarchy of reasons for the criminal justice system,” he says. “So barring another Sept 11, the inexorable forces of demographic change, higher education and the receding effects of Sept. 11 should see punishment diminishing as a factor in the future.”

The poll of 1,555 Canadians on the crime issue was conducted between April 7 and April 13. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.




commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre



Absolute Power corrupts. Every politician knows or ought to know that increased jail sentencing only promotes crime and just increases the percentage of the population that are incarcerated. This is steadily increasing the jail population, the crime universities of the future instead of addressing real social issues.

Our politicians show their true colours, they are cowards who would rather increase jail populations while funding that cost by simultaneously systematically cutting the legal aid budget.

Its the old Mike Harris, Republican religious agenda of criminalizing the poor.

Increasingly our jails are filled with innocent men whose only crime is to ask a judge for the court to respect a child's right to equal parenting with both parents.

It's the Right Wing introduction of draconian legislation that removes all legal rights, that indefinitely incarcerates men without ever having a trial.

The worst offenders are actually liberal appointed judges.

Take Chucky Hackland in Ottawa, a liberal appointee who ignored the fact that Peter Roscoe had all his funds frozen by the government and then ordered his indefinite incarceration because he failed to pay, with funds, FROZEN by the same court to prevent payments ordered by the court.

Then there is Justice Denis Power who struck his pleadings and the various judges in Ottawa who made sure he was NOT permitted to file documents and if he did, they refused to read them.

Its that kind of sick, criminalization of the politically incorrect that makes you want to vomit.

We live in an era that is akin to a witch hunt. It's hunting down those who are poor, those who have no legal rights and applying a Gender Apartheid to indefinitely incarcerate men till they drop dead.

Canada is a country that denies one gender all their legal rights simply because of GENDER and the worst offenders, are politically appointed JUDGES who flagrantly abuse their power to appear to be politically correct.