Not any more

Tories blast back in tit-for-tat feud, labelling Liberals ‘soft on crime’

In Canada on August 4, 2010 at 20:41

Editorial cartoon by Brian Gable

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 5:50 PM

Tories blast back in tit-for-tat feud,
labelling Liberals ‘soft on crime’

Jane Taber

The political war over crime statistics continues with the Conservatives mounting an email attack on what they’re calling Michael Ignatieff’s “soft on crime policies,” accusing the Liberals of using statistics to “ignore Canadians’ concerns about crime.”

This latest salvo – an email missive from Stephen Harper’s strategists, circulated to supporters and MPs Wednesday afternoon – comes on the heels of a news conference by Liberal public safety critic Mark Holland. He accuses the Conservatives of out-of-control spending on a crime agenda that includes billions of dollars for new jails in a time when the government is battling a $54-billion deficit.

“Michael Ignatieff spokesman Mark Holland continues to peddle the Liberals’ soft on crime policies,” the party memo says. “He suggests statistics show crime is going down, and that our government’s commitment to crack down on crime is too costly.”

It then went on to note that Mr. Holland once mused about cutting “dangerous criminals’ prison sentences by revisiting our government’s ending of two-for-one sentencing.”

The accusations from both sides were provoked by Stockwell Day’s remarks Tuesday; the Treasury Board President defended prison spending during the economic recovery by saying crime is going unreported in Canada. But Mr. Holland and others point to statistics that show the crime rate is dropping, questioning the need for such expenditures on the new facilities.

Says the Tory memo: “Let’s be clear, unlike the Liberals, we do not use statistics as an excuse to ignore Canadians’ concerns about crime. As far as our government is concerned, one victim of crime is one too many.”

The Liberals, meanwhile, are accusing Mr. Day of simply making things up.

“Finding logic in what the Conservatives are saying is getting more difficult each day,” a senior Ignatieff official says, charging that the Tory tough-on-crime budget has soared from $90-million to $10-billion to $13-billion with taxpayers picking up the tab.

“Crime IS going down,” the Liberals say. “We all want to eliminate crime, but there is no denying that crime is going down unless … you make things up, like Stockwell Day did yesterday in his pathetic press conference.”

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