Tough on crime bill, tough on budgets

How much is Ottawa's tough-on-crime legislation going to cost? And who's going to pay? Some provincial premiers resent the extra costs associated with Ottawa's new crime bill, we get a provincial perspective.

Part Two of The Current

Tough on crime bill, tough on budgets - Madeleine Meilleur

The Federal government won over the Canadian public with its tough on crime approach. But it looks as if the battle for the hearts and minds of the premiers may be a tougher sell.

The final cost of the Conservative's omnibus crime bill must still be tallied, but Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson told the Justice and Human Rights Committee that the federal cost of Bill C-10 would be $78.6-million over the next five years. How much will be billed to the provinces is unclear.

As the crime bill gets closer to becoming law, there are serious questions about who will pay for what. We heard from Quebec Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier, Newfoundland and Labrador's Justice Minister Felix Collins, Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and that last voice BC Premier Christy Clark with their opinions on it in a brief clip.

For Prime Minister Stephen Harper however, there is no ambiguity. We aired a clip from Stephen Harper speaking on Global TV's The West Block with Tom Clark.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is very clear about where his province stands. If there are going to be any additional costs, Ottawa is going to have to pay.

Madeleine Meilleur is Ontario's Minister of Community Safety And Correctional Services and she joined us from Toronto this morning.

The governments of Quebec, Newfoundland-and-Labrador, and Prince Edward Island have also expressed concerns about covering costs of the crime legislation.

Tough on crime bill, tough on budgets - Don Morgan

And then there are the provinces that support the new bill, and their role in paying for it: Manitoba, Alberta, B.C., New Brunswick and Saskatchewan. Brad Wall, the Premier of Saskatchewan, stands behind the federal crime bill and promises his province will do its part.

Don Morgan is Saskatchewan's Justice Minister and he was in Saskatoon.

Tough on crime bill, tough on budgets - Kerry-Lynne Findlay

The Conservatives promise to have the Safe Streets and Communities legislation written into law within 100 days of the start of the current session of parliament. With a majority government, chances are good they'll keep their promise. The fight over how to pay for it may take longer.

Kerry-Lynne Findlay is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and the MP for Delta-Richmond East, British Columbia. And we reached her at home today.

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