Provincial pleas for federal crime bill funding dismissed
Rob Nicholson says Ottawa will increase transfer payments by $2.4 billion
The federal justice minister is rebuffing calls from provinces to foot the costs of implementing the omnibus crime bill.
Rob Nicholson told his provincial counterparts at the final day of meetings for provincial justice ministers in Charlottetown that Ottawa has already committed to increase transfer payments by $2.4 billion.
"What were doing is simply stopping the revolving door of the justice system," said Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.
Earlier this week, the Ontario government said the legislation will add more than $1 billion in increased police and court costs, reiterating its calls for the federal government to foot the bill.
Nicholson said the federal government "doesn't have a $1-billion cheque for Ontario."
Quebec and Newfoundland also say Bill C-10 will overwhelm their already maxed-out court systems and create a costly influx of prisoners to provincial jails.
Several other provinces, including British Columbia, Alberta and New Brunswick, support the federal changes.
Quebec Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier said the costs of Bill C-10 will amount to $500 million for his province.
P.E.I. Justice Minister Janice Sherry said she was worried about what the cost would be to P.E.I.
"Unfortunately, we didn't get any kind of reply or response as to cost and what that's going to mean to us as a province," Sherry said Thursday.
Fournier said the provinces and territories have agreed to press Ottawa for consultation on the bill to identify costs and to look at implementation time frames.
The provinces did get a promise from Ottawa that they'll get a heads up before Bill C-10 is passed.
Ottawa may also stagger the timing, so not all of it comes into effect at once.
With files from CBC News