Sunday, September 24, 2023

Canadian Conservatives need a rethink on criminal justice policy

Garnett Genuis is the Conservative MP representing Sherwood Park–Fort Saskatchewan in Alberta.

The Conservative leadership race provides us with a good opportunity for substantive internal policy debate. One area of policy orthodoxy that needs refinement is criminal justice. 

Let’s start with first principles. Conservatives are naturally skeptical of big government and want to minimize costs to taxpayers. Conservatives believe in individual responsibility and the capacity of individuals to shape and transform their own lives. Conservatives stand with victims of crime and want to protect their rights—especially their right not to be victims in the first place. While continuing to emphasize personal responsibility, Conservatives must acknowledge structures of division and exclusion that lead to higher crime rates in certain quarters and we must support strategies to address those structures.

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