Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Similkameen Spotlight week of Feb. 14, 2005)

Hypocrisy - Canadian Style

  By John Martin

These are truly strange and confusing times.

We tell inmates that there is a zero tolerance policy on drugs and then we give them bleach to clean their needles.  The needles they are not allowed to possess.

We claim to want offenders to successfully reintegrate into society and take great pains to minimize any stigmatization associated with incarceration.  So what do we do?  We open up onsite tattoo parlors in federal penitentiaries so inmates can go about reinforcing one of the disturbing images most citizens have about people who have been incarcerated.

We open up a legal shooting gallery a couple blocks from the police station in Canada’s third largest city so addicts, who have just broken into your home or car and left you traumatized, have a nice, warm and comfortable setting to use their heroin.  The heroin they just bought thanks to helping themselves to your possessions.

And now, we’re going a step further with a trial program that will simply supply addicts with a daily inventory of heroin.  Possession of heroin is a criminal offence in this country by the way.  But never mind that bit of trivia.  I like the message this sends out.  Refuse to abide by the laws and values of society and we’ll give you whatever you want.  I guess that means if I refuse to pay my taxes I don’t have to file income tax forms anymore?

We say that in the interests of public safety, every Canadian must register his firearm.  If this saves even one life, so the story goes, it will have been well worth the billions of dollars it continues to suck up.  Yet we continue to release even the most dangerous offenders back into the community prior to the expiration of their sentences.  Why?  Because it costs more to keep someone in custody than to assign them to a halfway house.

Liberals are always demanding offenders be given the least restrictive sentence.  They argue against custody for even the most violent offenders.  Then when the killer of a gay man in Stanley Park gets six years (a particularly harsh sentence by contemporary standards), they’re whining that it isn’t tough enough.

But hey, there are lots of other wonderful and innovative initiatives taking place across the land.  Marijuana possession is about to be decriminalized at the same time as French fries and potato chips are being  banned from school grounds.

The county spends millions on multicultural programs to promote tolerance and diversity in schools while post-secondary institutions are awash in anti-Israeli and anti-American curriculum and hatred.  All of which is defended, naturally, as academic freedom. 

An inquiry is underway exposing the criminality and corruption of the most crooked government since confederation and all the national media can do is giggle about how effectively Jean Chrétien mocked and ridiculed the judge.

The old Reform Party was consistently chastised and criticized for being too old, white and male.  Today the NDP is the oldest, whitest and most male-dominated of all the federal parties and all of the sudden that sort of thing isn’t an issue anymore.

Similarly, the Conservative Party has the highest proportion of visible minorities in its caucus.  But once again, the media has decided that minority representation isn’t important now that it’s the Liberals, Bloc and NDP that aren’t doing their part in the field of political diversity.  Funny.  It was sure was important a few years ago when Preston Manning’s caucus was the offending party.

And of course the good old CBC is up to its usual blatant, partisan posturing.  The corpse is furious that religious groups from the U.S. are entering into the debate over same-sex marriages in this country.  Foreign interests have no business meddling in Canada’s affairs, say the mindless talking heads on the National.  Yet the CBC was ecstatic when noted glutton and buffoon, Michael Moore, came up here to plead with Canadians to vote for the Liberals.

Hypocrisy may not yet be a Canadian value.  But it certainly is a Liberal one.

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University College of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at

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