Study calls tough on crime agenda a costly failure

A new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says rationale for Harper's crime agenda defies 20-year downtrend crime rates.

Download The Fear Factor - Stephen Harper's 'Tough on Crime' AgendaOttawa (18 Nov. 2010) - The Harper government's "tough on crime" agenda will most likely increase rather than reduce crime and worsen the country's deficit in the process, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The Fear Factor – Stephen Harper's 'Tough on Crime' Agenda, a new report by CCPA research associate Paula Mallea, analyzes the financial and human costs of the Harper crime agenda and concludes it is wrong-headed, expensive and counter-productive.

"There is no crime epidemic despite what the Harper government says," Mallea concludes. "According to Statistics Canada, crime rates have been trending down for over 20 years. This includes the violent crime rate."

The report says that tough measures do not produce public safety. Longer sentences, harsher prison conditions and the incarceration of more Canadians will return the system to a time when prisons were extremely violent and when the end result was more rather than less crime.

In addition, the government's crime legislation will cost taxpayers billions, the CCPA says.

A single piece of Conservative legislation analyzed by the parliamentary budget officer carried an estimated cost in excess of $5 billion, the report notes.

Mallea says this will more than double the budget for Corrections in Canada over five years. Additional dozens of proposed laws will also have similar extraordinary cumulative effects on the budget, she adds.

"Tough on crime is actually lazy on crime. It is certainly tough on taxpayers. A better approach is to be thoughtful on crime or smart on crime," argues Mallea.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

More information:
Download Full Report: The Fear Factor - Stephen Harper's 'Tough on Crime' Agenda - pdf

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