The team of scholars behind Vote Compass gave Canada's five political parties the opportunity to take part in the process to ensure the parties' policies lined up with the way Vote Compass interprets respondents' answers.

All five parties had the chance to answer the Vote Compass questionnaire for themselves, and were given the opportunity to challenge the assessments before the "final codes" went in.

Here are the party positions on three questions about law and order in the Vote Compass questionnaire, and what was behind those answers. Over the coming days, CBC News will look at each of the 10 Vote Compass issue areas.

1. Violent young offenders should be sentenced as adults

  • Strongly agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Strongly disagree
  • Don't know

New Democratic Party —  Strongly disagree

New Democrats believe in [...] Maintaining a youth criminal justice system that is distinct from adult courts.

Source: Investing in a Canada Where No One is Left Behind

Green Party — Strongly disagree

The first defence to reduce crime is to keep young people from becoming criminals. Green Party programs to alleviate poverty, to legalize marijuana, to increase physical fitness and sport, as well as investing in community health, will all pay big dividends in reduced crime. 

The test for when a crime crosses that societal line in the sand will be when the perpetrator has been violent. Violent offenders must face more serious consequences, in setting bail, in sentencing and in parole terms.

Green Party MPs will [...] Review the Young Offenders Act to ensure it is not an inducement to youth crime, while retaining its core principle, that youth should not be treated as hardened criminals.

Source: True justice; Real security

Bloc Québécois — Strongly disagree

Text not available in English

L’idéologie conservatrice est simple : il faut punir les délinquants, même lorsque ceux-ci sont de jeunes adolescents, voire des enfants. Alors que pour les jeunes, l’avenue qui fonctionne est celle de la réhabilitation et de la réinsertion, les conservateurs abordent l’incarcération comme une mesure à prioriser et parlent de l’emprisonnement des jeunes comme une mesure efficace pour lutter contre la criminalité juvénile. Le consensus québécois préconisant une sentence fondée sur la situation de l’adolescent et non sur le crime commis est de loin préférable. L’envoyer à ces écoles du crime que sont les institutions carcérales ne fera rien pour assurer sa réhabilitation et lui donner la chance de reprendre sa vie en main.

Source : Position principale (fevrier 2011)

Conservative Party  — Somewhat agree

Prior to this unnecessary election, our Government was attempting to pass other pieces of legislation to protect society and hold criminals accountable, including bills to [...] strengthen the handling of violent and repeat young offenders (Sébastien’s Law) [...] A Stephen Harper-led majority Government will bundle these bills into comprehensive legislation, and pass them within the new Parliament's first 100 days. [p. 50]  

Source: Here for Canada: Stephen Harper's Low-Tax Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth (April 8, 2011)

On Tuesday, Rob Nicholson, Canada’s Minister of Justice was joined by Minister Paradis and Senator Boisvenu to announce legislative amendments that would strengthen the way the young offenders system deals with violent and repeat young offenders.   

The proposed amendments to the young offenders legislation would: Make the protection of Canadian communities a primary goal; Simplify the rules to keep violent and repeat young offenders off the streets while awaiting trial, when necessary to protect society; Require the courts to consider adult sentences for youth convicted of the most serious and violent crimes – murder, attempted murder, manslaughter and aggravated assault; Allow the courts to give more appropriate sentences to other violent and repeat offenders – using existing sanctions in a way that would discourage a young offender from offending again; seeking a custodial sentence when necessary; imposing a custodial sentence for behaviours that puts the lives of other community members at risk; and Require the courts to publish the name of a violent young offender if necessary for the protection of society.

In cases when young offenders have been convicted of the most serious crimes, the provinces and territories will still have the discretion to set an age of requirement to consider adult sentences. This legislation would also ensure that offenders under the age of 18 who have been sentenced to custody will be placed in youth facilities – even if they receive adult sentences.

Source: Conservative Action to Strengthen Justice System (March 16, 2010)

Liberal Party — Somewhat disagree

We believe that young offenders must be treated differently from adults and that the principles of the Youth Criminal Justice Act — namely that rehabilitation is paramount to denunciation and deterrence — must be upheld. We believe that adult sentences should be used exceptionally with young offenders.

Source: Correspondence (March 18, 2011)

2. The long gun registry should be scrapped

  • Strongly agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Strongly disagree
  • Don’t know

New Democratic Party —  Somewhat disagree

New Democrats said [the] defeat of bill C-391 must be followed by a genuine attempt to fix the registry and unite rural, northern and urban Canadians. Only then can tonight's vote be seen as a victory for anyone.

[...]

Last week, Layton outlined concrete proposals that preserve public safety, while also addressing the concerns of rural communities. They include: merging possession and acquisition licenses; addressing issues with inherited firearms; addressing mental health issues and gun ownership; mandating the Auditor General to ensure the long-gun registry is cost-effective.

Source: New Democrats to fix the long-gun registry (September 26, 2010)

Green Party — Strongly disagree

The Green Party will keep the gun registry, but reduce the paperwork and bureaucratic burden for rural use, and for hunters and marksmen with no criminal history.

Source: Fair Taxes -- Removing corporate subsidies: distorting the market (January 2010)

Bloc Québécois — Strongly disagree

Text not available in English

Le Bloc Québécois prend acte du fait que la mise en place du régime a entraîné des coûts importants pour les contribuables. Cependant, ces dépenses sont derrière nous et dorénavant, les coûts annuels d'opération du registre sont plus que raisonnables. Ainsi, le registre des armes à feu permet à de faibles coûts d'atteindre d'importants objectifs de sécurité et de prévention du crime, tout en se révélant un précieux outil pour les policiers dans l'exercice de leurs fonctions. On accepte volontiers d'enregistrer les voitures, les motoneiges et les véhicules tout-terrain pour des raisons de sécurité. Pourquoi serait-ce différent avec les armes à feu?

Source : Le registre des armes à feu

Conservative Party  — Strongly agree

Stephen Harper’s Government has strongly and consistently opposed the previous Liberal government’s $2-billion long-gun registry.   The long-gun registry is wasteful and ineffective; and it needlessly and unfairly targets law-abiding Canadians. It does nothing to reduce crime, or to strengthen our efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.   [...]   We will end the long-gun registry once and for all. [p. 56]  

Source: Here for Canada: Stephen Harper's Low-Tax Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth (April 8, 2011)

While we clean up the mess left by our predecessors, we have extended the amnesty for long-gun owners who have yet to register. And we are looking to unite a majority of MPs in repealing the long-gun registry.

The leaders of the opposition parties continue to be against this. But there are MPs in all these parties who know what we know – that law-abiding hunters and farmers are not part of the crime problem, and that you should be respected, not demonized.

So I challenge you to press these MPs to follow their consciences and do what they know is right; vote to abolish the long-gun registry and fight crime instead.

Source: Canada’s True Conservationists: Prime Minister Harper Speaks to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (March 21, 2009)

Liberal Party — Strongly disagree

A Liberal government will improve the long gun registry so that it better serves police, Canadian long-gun owners and rural Canadians.

[...]

Since the creation of the long-gun registry, over 90 percent of Canadian gun owners have registered their firearms. Rural Canadians and Canadian long-gun owners, however, have expressed legitimate frustration and criticism of the fees, paperwork and threat of criminal charges related to the registry.   A Liberal government will maintain the integrity of the gun registry in order to protect public safety, while addressing the legitimate concerns of Canadian long-gun owners. [p. 56]   Source: Your Family. Your Future. Your Canada.  (April 2011)

Our party stood united in support of the life-saving gun registry, alongside Canada’s police officers, police chiefs, ER doctors and nurses, and the victims of crime. We support improvements to the gun registry that address the legitimate concerns of gun-owners, while also giving police officers the tools they need to keep us safe.

Source: Justice and Public Safety

3. Possession of marijuana should be a criminal offence

  • Strongly agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Strongly disagree
  • Don’t know

New Democratic Party —  Somewhat disagree

New Democrats believe in [...] Decriminalizing marijuana possession with the goal of removing its production and distribution from the control of organized crime.

Source: Investing in a Canada where No One is Left Behind

Green Party —  Strongly disagree

Green Party MPs will [...] Legalize marijuana by removing marijuana from the drug schedule.

Source: Ending the war on drugs (January 2011)

Bloc Québécois — Somewhat disagree

Text not available in English

Nous avons déposé une motion parlementaire appuyée par 88 % des députés fédéraux demandant au gouvernement de légaliser l'usage médical de la marijuana.

Source : Plateforme électorale du Bloc Québécois, 2004

Conservative Party  — Strongly agree

When it comes to drugs, police officers and parents agree: we don’t need more of them on our streets.  The increase in the production and distribution of hard drugs is well documented.  And if we legalize drugs like marijuana, it will make it easier for our children to get hold of it.

That is why [the Harper] government is opposed to legalizing drugs — especially because of the damage it can do to our cities and our communities because of increased addiction and crime.

Instead, we will get drugs off the streets, away from our children and clean up our communities by: Ensuring mandatory minimum prison sentences and large fines are given out to marijuana grow operators and drug dealers; Introducing a national drug strategy, including a nationwide awareness campaign to discourage our youth from getting hooked on drugs in the first place; And not re-introducing the Liberal government’s marijuana decriminalization legislation.

Source: Conservative Government Plans to Fight Crime (April 3, 2006)

Liberal Party —  Somewhat disagree

The Liberal Party believes that possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use should be decriminalized. That is what we attempted to achieve while in government, and we continue to believe that decriminalizing such possession would be a more sensible drug policy for our young people and would allow for better uses of police resources.

Source: Correspondence (March 18, 2011)