One of the challenges of being a Member of Parliament on the governing side of Parliament is trying to communicate accurate information to taxpayers on issues of importance.
With the advent of social media misinformation, inaccurate claims can be distributed extremely quickly and very efficiently.
Often this misinformation is circulated and promoted by interest groups for partisan or self serving reasons, in particular from many organizations that depend upon public donations as a primary source of revenue.
As an example, I am certain that many citizens have heard claims that government efforts to crack down on criminals and put the interests of victims first would cost Canadian taxpayers billions of dollars in both capital spending and annual operating costs to build new prisons.
Let me tell you the reality. When you keep career criminals in jail longer where they can’t re-offend, the result is that new criminals are not being created.
Rather, you are preventing existing criminals from re-offending.
This actually helps reduce the crime rate, and most importantly by slowing down the “revolving” doors of justice, fewer crimes are being committed and there are fewer victims of crime.
As one law enforcement officer noted recently playing “catch and release” with chronic offenders is not an efficient use of resources, nor does it reduce crime.
As the crime bill received a tremendous amount of scrutiny at the committee level and in house debate, we heard from a wide variety of groups who shared their opinions with us.
Some suggested that already implemented efforts (such as removing the previous 2-for-1 credit for time served by those in remand) to crack down on crime would result in the creation of thousands of new criminals, but the reality is these claims have been proven untrue.
In actuality, there has not been a federal jail built since 2006 and our government has no intention of building a single new prison.
In fact, our government recently announced the closure of two aging federal institutions.
Keeping career criminals in jail longer does not result in the creation of more criminals, it results in fewer crimes and keeps our communities safer.
Another recent claim is that our government is trying to “silence” or “muzzle” special interest groups with new provisions contained in the 2012 federal budget.
Canadian law has long restricted the generous tax advantages provided to legitimate charitable organizations that provide charitable services.
However, charitable activities do not include the use of taxpayers’ generosity for self serving political purposes.
The 2012 budget promotes greater transparency to separate legitimate charitable activities from those of a political nature.
Special interest organizations are welcome to continue advocating on behalf of interest groups, however, these activities will no longer be subsidized by Canadian taxpayer’s.
For legitimate charitable organizations these changes will not require charitable activities to be performed any differently.
These changes will ensure that more integrity and transparency will be created for taxpayer’s to ensure that charitable organizations are not adversely impacted by special interest groups.