Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, delivered the opening remarks to the National Victims of Crime Awareness Week Federal Symposium at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa, April 23, 2012. (Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency)
OTTAWA – The Tories promised no more Mr. Nice Guy when it comes to crime, and the federal government enacted one more piece to their Safe Streets and Communities Act -- banning house arrest for anyone convicted of a violent crime.
Under the final addition to the legislation, violent and serious criminals will have to serve their sentences behind bars. Kidnapping, sex assault, arson, human trafficking all fall under that expanded category.
“We are cracking down on the use of house arrest despite years of opposition from across the aisle,” Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said in the House of Commons. “Those who commit these violent crimes must serve their time behind bars, not in the comfort of their homes, and that is exactly the issue this legislation corrects.”
The bill included new mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes, and toughened up the Youth Criminal Justice Act to deal with repeat young offenders.
NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison said there was no evidence
removing house arrest for serious offences would make the public safer.
“It takes discretion from the judge to prescribe rehabilitation or other
treatments that might otherwise take place at the home,” he said. “It
reflects the government’s harsh attitude to the Criminal Code. It will
drive up prison costs and contribute to overcrowding.”