Conservatives talk tough on crime

By Allison Drinnan

Calgary West MP Rob Anders, paired with an MP he described as a “tough cop in heels,” held a town hall meeting Monday to discuss the Tackling Violent Crime Act.

Anders, the federal representative for the University of Calgary area, brought in MP Shelly Glover, a retired police officer, to help him address the Conservative’s crime bill.

Glover addressed the main reforms the Stephen Harper-led government is attempting to bring forth to alter Canada’s criminal justice system.

Glover has a long history with criminal justice issues. She served on the Winnipeg police force for 19 years before being elected. Her experience with the law landed her the job as chair of the Conservative law enforcement caucus. In that role she has pushed for the passing of many bills urging for a tough-on-crime mentality.

“Police officers consider themselves part of a special family,” said Glover. “It’s because we [see] so many tragic things that other people just don’t understand.”

“I literally went from kicking in crack house doors to the House of Commons.”

Glover went over several bills included in the Tackling Violent Crime Act that the Conservative government is attempting to pass into law. Of the 15 bills described by Glover, only Bill C-14, regarding tougher sentences for organized crime, has received royal assent.

Key points raised were mandatory minimum sentences, credit for time served and repealing the faint-hope clause. All dealt with harsher punishment for the offenders and improved rights for the victims.

“The Conservatives have had a tough-on-crime agenda for a long time,” said Glover. “This tackling crime agenda has been in place since we first came to power. Unfortunately we have had a heck of a time getting other parties onside with our desires to reform our criminal justice system. We fortunately have a prime minister who is committed to insuring that we are tough on crime and that we protect victims’ rights over the rights of the accused.”

Anders in particular focused on tougher penalties for sexual offenders, pointing to a petition on his website. The petition states that “current penalties do not reflect the severity of the crime and the subsequent life altering consequences for the victims.”

“There are so many things we want to do, we can’t get them all done because of course there is a process,” said Glover, discussing the difficulty of getting the bills to pass in a minority government system. “That is the way our system works and we have to respect that.”

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