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Should provinces have to pay for the omnibus crime bill?

Categories: Politics

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty warned the Harper government on Wednesday that provinces across the country will not pick up the tab for any new costs associated with the federal omnibus anti-crime bill.

 Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty says he'd be surprised if other premiers would be willing to foot costs associated with the federal anti-crime bill. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)"What we're saying at this point is that crime continues to come down in Ontario and I'd be surprised if any premier of any of the provinces and territories is prepared to welcome new expenditures being foisted upon us by the federal government because they've got some plans with respect to criminal law," McGuinty said.

Earlier in the week, Jean-Marc Fournier, Quebec's justice minister, called the federal government's omnibus crime bill a "Band-Aid solution" and said his province will refuse to absorb the added costs associated with it.

The omnibus bill proposes major changes to several laws, including those that apply to young offenders, and creates new offences in the Criminal Code. It also proposes new mandatory minimum sentences for a number of offences.

Quebec and Ontario are concerned about the costs of largest prison populations on provincial budgets.

Newfoundland and Labrador's justice minister, Felix Collins, joined the critics of Ottawa's proposed legislation. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, facing re-election in his province, expressed support for the bill, but said his government would expect some federal investment if it is brought back to power.

Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson this week said the provinces receive transfer payments from the federal government to administer their justice systems and that rehabilitation falls under the jurisdiction of the provinces.

Should provinces have to pay for new costs associated with the omnibus anti-crime bill? Let us know what you think.

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

Tags: law, Ottawa, Politics

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