05.27.2011 08:38 AM

Timmy Hudak’s plan to put hardened criminals in your neighbourhood: reaction

  • The Canadian Press:  Hudak’s predecessor John Tory — now a radio talk show host — also diverged from the party position, saying forced labour is “going at the problem the wrong way.”…”If we’re going to spend the money on chain gangs, I’d rather spend the money providing courses for people because the objective really has to be — other than for the real bad apples that are going to keep offending over and over again — to try and get people who often don’t even have Grade 12 out of prison and into a job, so they might stay on the straight path,” he said during his show on Toronto radio station CFRB.”
  • Toronto Star: “…are chain gangs a practical way to deal with prisoners? Do they combat crime? Are they a cost-efficient way to clean up highways? Even Alberta says no. That province considered mandatory work gangs in the 1990s but rejected the idea. The key reason is security. Some prisoners in provincial institutions are dangerous. Do Torontonians exiting the subway at Yonge and Bloor really want to squeeze past convicted thugs scrubbing graffiti from the sidewalks?”
  • Toronto Sun: “On Thursday, the chain gang plank dropped. Hudak will require prisoners in provincial jails to work a mandatory 40-hour week, cleaning roads and so on…Do you really want violent offenders released to work in the community? Keep ’em behind bars, I say…Hudak may have an identity crisis in this election.”
  • Toronto Star: “Critics say such bumper sticker politics sound great but in reality it would be an unwieldy and costly program that would need a large number of extra guards. “I thought Tim Hudak was running for the premier of Ontario, not the governor of Alabama,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union…“What we have here is a failure to think an issue through,” said Bradley, paraphrasing an iconic line from the classic chain-gang movie Cool Hand Luke. “The public expects governments to keep convicted criminals who could be a danger to our society behind the high walls, behind steel bars.”
  • Toronto Star: “HUDAK’S YAWNING CREDIBILITY GAP…time to provide Ontarians with numbers that add up.”
  • Globe and Mail: “DO ONTARIANS REALLY WANT TO SEE CRIMINALS CLEANING UP THEIR PARKS?…There are good reasons no other province has gone anywhere near what Mr. Hudak is proposing…Mr. Hudak has overstepped…some of the voters he’s courting will resent him for going only for the gut, and not for the head.”
  • Barrie Examiner: “HUDAK SHOULD NOT BE A HARRIS DOPPELGANGER…As much as Tim Hudak might admire Mike Harris, the comparisons won’t help him become Ontario’s next premier.  So Hudak had better be careful with his slash-and-burn announcements.”


  1. wannabeapiper says:

    John Tory might be right. I am under the impression that the majority of crimes are crimes against property and the majority of these criminals are illiterate and as a coping mechanism they steal and maybe drug addicted. So this whole notion of rehabilitation is very complicated. Maybe there is a better way. Maybe for those incarcerated people who agree to learn to read and write while in prison can earn a sentence reduction-ie time off in lieu of completing studies. The issue then is they still have to find a job and are they willing to work for the minimum wage for 8 hours a day etc. Again the notion of community service is an old and constatnly recycled shit filled twinkie announcement and the issues are very complex. I suppose the purpose of prisons is to keep the public safe and I guess those inside them are a danger to the public. If that is true why let them out to be among the public. Or, most of those locked up in the `keep`shouldn`t be there because they aren`t violent, they are just thieves and maybe there is a better way.

    Anyone needing to be chained or manacled and supervised by armed guards shouldn`t be in the community.

  2. Adam says:

    I completely agree with Tory. However, I feel the past two blog posts with the phrasing “criminals in your neighbourhood” is just fear-mongering. I thought we were better than that.

    • Warren says:

      Well, how exactly would you describe it, Adam? That’s what it is.

      • Adam says:

        How about criminals, or convicted convicts? Rather than that daunting YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD how about in our cities something that’s less, “run for the hills” like.

        How about, “Hudak’s flawed plan for prisoner work program?” Simple, straight-forward, and fear mongering.

        Just my opinion.

    • Dave says:

      I’m not better than that. The Tories fear-monger and get rewarded at the polls for it. Let’s monger the shit out of some fear back at those bastards.

  3. Ottawacon says:

    This all but makes it official – I might have been able to look past the moronic energy policy, but this is a whole new kind of stupid. I will be voting for McGuinty for the first time, coincidentally in the Chiarelli-Denley race.

  4. Johnny Tuna says:

    I know that I am comparing Feds to a Prov party, but since Harper loves Harris Tories and Hudak was one, I will. What the hell does this say about Conservatives’ ideas on crime? Kill Insite. Kill the prison farm work program. Kill the work program that enabled prisoners to complete projects in Muskoka for the G8, but implement mandatory minimums and chain gangs? That is insane. It is not economically sound; it is simple vengeance, pure and simple. Perhaps satisfying on a visceral level, but bad policy and bad for the country.

    • Jan says:

      Conservatives do seen hell bent on replicating California’s failed penal system for some reason.

    • And coming from the Harper/Harris base it has the perverse effect of being softer on crime.

      Let’s see, locked up with guards, staff, and medical attention nearby is much safer to me than convicts outside outside picking up trash in a park. What happens when someone is injured or sick – pack the gang into the van and everyone visits the emergency ward?

      Outside vs cell block.

      Catching some rays vs florescent light.

      And you get to scope out the neighborhoods and passerbys.


      Another great idea from the Pretender.

  5. Outsider says:

    What this lame-brain proposal also ignores is the staggering percentage of Ontario inmates who are there either entirely or partly because of mental illness (one of my acquaintances, who is in a VERY GOOD position to evaluate this, says a full study – which is pending – would put the percentage near to 50%). When Harris slashed the health care spending back in the mid-90s (and, let’s be fair, due in part to the federal transfer cuts), it put a tremendous dent in the mental health services available. One result (aside from the rise in homelessness, tho that is certainly not due entirely to those cuts) has been a rise in the number of people incarcerated because of mental-health related crimes. Putting these people to work picking up garbage ain’t gonna help them. But Hudak, ever the opportunist, is playing the same Law and Order card that Harper has; he figures most voters will respond to a pledge to stop molly-coddling our criminals. He is motivated by votes – or, at least, the prospect of votes – and nothing else.

  6. Harith says:

    Another day another populist piece of fluff from the mouth of Tim.

    Maybe he can pay those prisoners with a buck-a-beer that will come down the mid-pen highway.

  7. Mike says:

    I think we need a new tact when dealing with Hudak….give him a microphone and let him talk all the time. He should easily win the election for the NDP or Liberals.

  8. wassup says:

    War-Marn: I suggest you advise your paymaster to cease and desist. The people of the GTA are sick and tired of Liberal “coddle the thug, blame the victim” politics. McDaddy is going to lose big if he manages to make the election about law and order in Ontario.

    The Liberano machine brought us an entire generation of judges who believe it’s “the victim’s fault”. The rapists & murders are just “misunderstood” and their crimes nothing but “youthful indiscretions” deserving of two-for-one time served in club fed jails, followed by early parole.

    Good luck defending that record at the doorstep…

  9. patrick Deberg says:

    hell, wassup,

    It’s too bad you have to trot out the stupid talking points that show us your “feelings.” Here’s the facts about crime in canada……. wait a minute!! To rednecks like you it’s not about facts!! It’s about “gut feelings” and “hunches” and armed mall cops to protect you against the forces of evil. Holy sh!t it seems you “tough on crime” losers have more “feelings” than a sore tooth!! Quit being so damn emotional!! It seems you feel scared of everything!! You know something maybe chained street gangs are not a bad idea!! I’d love to have Conrad Black mowing my lawn and John Roth and Frank Dunn picking my weeds. I might “accidently” spray them with round – up………..

  10. patrick Deberg says:

    And really, Liberano is so passe……………..

    • wassup says:

      Wow, glad you agree Pat! The Liberanos are passe, soon they won’t even exist at the Federal level…

      • Attack! says:

        quite possible, but sadly, juvenile jerkwads like you will outlive even the cockroaches. even if the real Rapture did come. Say, shouldn’t you be in school, or at work? Or are you living off of daddy Wassup’s empties?

  11. ben burd says:

    Listen to jocktalk today – the FordNation loves this. But on the other side, one caller did say that Ontari used to have an outside work programme until Big Mike H cancelled because it was too expensive. Timmy should speak to Dad about this one.

    • Outsider says:

      One of those programs was the farm at Camp Hillsdale, north of Barrie, which grew a significant amount of produce served in Ontario jails. But, it was a victim of the cuts.

  12. wannabeapiper says:

    I just left the gym. I asked 17 people if they thought the justice system in Ontario works. 17 of the 17 said “no”. 15 of the 17 said they like Hudak’s plan, the other 2 want capital punishment, and 7 people mentioned closing the prison farms was a mistake.

    This is a big big complex issue and the Lib’s are going to have to work really hard on this one. Everyone seems to be talking about it.
    I also think that many inmates are predatorial, in order to get want they want or need, they have to be and that is another reason the Tories would have to invest a ton of money in their program and I think, as I said previously, they may find it cheaper to keep people in jail.

    • Warren says:

      Brother, by the time we’re done with them on this, it will make funding private religious schools look like sound public policy. I promise.

      • Susan says:

        This is unbelievable, I thought we had progressed beyond chain gangs. Instead of having prisoners “hang around and play cards in jail”, Hudak would take more of our taxpayer money and invest in what would have to be huge numbers of guards to protect the public. What about investing in mental health and addictions treatment (Statistics like 50% of youth in detention having substance abuse problems, and of those 66% having mental health disorders suggest we could really make inroads) ) programs (required) while in jail instead? Or even better, have these programs available at the right time at the right place when individuals need them BEFORE they become criminals. Imagine Hudak being THAT progressive?

        Perhaps Hudak has done McGuinty a big favour!

  13. Patrick Hamilton says:

    Whether it be the attempted closing of Vancouvers Insite program(that allows addicts to shoot up in clean, safe surroundings, and which has reduced the spread of HIV and Hep C, and allowed many addicts to get the support they need to get clean), a Federal concern I know, or bringing back chain gangs, you can always count on your typical Conservative of the Stephen Harper or Harris-lite variety being dragged kicking and screaming towards enlightenment, even though common sense, and/or scientific research would indicate that they are wrong.

  14. Bigwally says:

    I second “ben burd” and “wannabeapiper” comments – talk radio and the buzz on the street in Ottawa today is 80% in support of the idea.
    The primary comparison given in many of the discssions is that fact that most of the work that these inmates would be doing is work that Municipal employees (and you know who you are) are supposed to be doing now and do not. Ontarians might as well get the provine to pay the inmates to do the work at least we will have some accountability (maybe). This issue might actually ignite a small fire under some of those “municipal” butts sitting in trucks right now. Nothing like the threat to his or her job to motivate a municipal civil servant to speak out (on their break of course). This could even be a job creation strategy if you think about it. We can hire the federal inmates to make the orange (or Hudak Blue) jump suits for the provincial inmates. What a “conservative” idea !!

    • An economist you’re not, or your economics are blinded by a hate-on for public employees.

      Replace municipal employees with inmates?

      Who do you think pays the taxes you’ll need to fund the federal prison expansion program and the Pretender’s Chain Gang idea?

      Or are you now suggesting we start paying inmates more?

      Totally bizarre.

  15. patrick Deberg says:

    It’s time to merge the left and go for rep by pop. that way the next election anywhere in Canada except Alberta will leave the talk radio/ funeral home/ depends crowd only talking to themselves. That and the banshee Ezra howling at the moon and flinging their own feces!

  16. MattMcD says:

    Take sex offenders out of our neighborhoods and put them in the IMF where they belong.

  17. Craig Chamberlain says:

    Hudak just lost the election.

  18. WesternGrit says:

    Not only putting prisoners where you least want them, but letting them take jobs from the people who need them most. Think about it. Just who will be displaced? Low paid farm workers. Construction clean-up crews, roadside cleaning crews, janitorial staff, etc.

    I’m sure Hudak doesn’t care about pissing off the lower-paid laborers and new Canadians whose jobs will be “displaced” by these prisoners, but some people will.

    Rather than low-paying jobs (non-paying jobs, not contributing to anyone’s financial well-being) which will disappear at the next economic downturn, spend money to EDUCATE the prisoners. Let them LEARN about a lifestyle that isn’t their usual. Let them learn to benefit society in other ways. Let them learn to create art and pursue their passions.

    Education does MORE to combat crime than anything else. Of course, it’s not as “sexy” or punitive-sounding as “chain-gangs” or “lock ’em up and throw away the keys” measures…

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