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Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Democrats urge Harper to work together with provinces on public safety

Failed Conservative crime policies to cost provinces billions: NDP
New Democrats urge Harper to work together with provinces on public safety

January 29, 2012

OTTAWA – New Democrats are blasting Stephen Harper for forging ahead unilaterally with a multi-billion dollar prisons agenda many provinces have said they don’t want – and can’t afford.

“The Conservatives like to talk about working with the provinces and territories, but as we saw with the Health Accord negotiations last week, Stephen Harper has stopped listening to the provinces,” said Jack Harris, NDP Justice Critic and MP for St. John’s East.

“Provincial and territorial ministers are united in asking the Conservatives to consult with them on the implementation costs for their omnibus crime bill. But instead of showing leadership, Stephen Harper is walking away and leaving Canadians with the bill for his photo-op prisons agenda.”

The Ontario government announced this week that the bill will cost the province’s taxpayers $1-billion, while Quebec estimates prison expansion costs could run as high as $545 million.

“In tough economic times, Stephen Harper is not only slashing the services hard-hit families rely on – he’s hitting the provinces with his expensive prisons agenda and letting them deal with the problem. It’s unacceptable,” said NDP MP Fran├žoise Boivin (Gatineau).

“The Conservatives should have sat down with the provinces and territories to discuss the cost implications – instead Stephen Harper rammed his misguided legislation through Parliament. They need to go back to the drawing board and let the provinces in on the discussion, before this bill becomes law.”

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