Nov 072012
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Minister makes political hay over death of mentally ill teen.

by Ish Theilheimer and Samantha Bayard

OTTAWA, Straight Goods News, November 6, 2012: Justice minister Vic Toews   used the in-prison suicide of mentally-ill teenager Ashley Smith to score partisan points in House debate today.

When questioned by NDP MP Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, NDP) about the correctional investigator's recommendations to prevent such tragedies, Toews lashed out. "I wish New Democrats would take a more balanced view about what it means to have a safe society, not simply the individuals in the prisons but those who are abused outside of the prisons."

NDP leader Tom Mulcair responded with shock. "Mr. Speaker, is that minister capable of understanding that she was the victim here?"

Again, Toews hit back, "Why is it that he is always silent when it comes to victims outside of our prisons?"

Later, NDP leader Tom Mulcair told reporters that what Toews said "shows a cold-heartedness and a partisan streak that simply fails to recognize that we’re dealing with a human being who was abominably treated by the system and who wound up dying and instead of showing compassion and care and responsibility for that, he turned it into his typical partisan rant and it’s beneath contempt the way the minister answered this afternoon."

Liberal leader Bob Rae told SGNews Toews' comments were "Completely unacceptable. I think he’s lowered the tone. I think by choosing to turn it into some kind of a partisan issue he shows that, frankly, he just doesn’t get it. And it shows that he doesn’t really understand to what extent Ms. Smith really in this particular case is clearly the victim."

Bob Rae and Tom Mulcair say Toews doesn't understand that Ashley Smith was a victim.

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About Ish Theilheimer and Samantha Bayard

Ish Theilheimer is founder and publisher of SG News and lives in Golden Lake, ON. Samantha Bayard is an Ottawa reporter and an editorial and administrative assistant at SGNews.

© Copyright 2012 Ish Theilheimer and Samantha Bayard, All rights Reserved. Written For:

  2 Responses to “Toews “beneath contempt” on Ashley Smith death”

  1. Ashley's victims? Arrested for assault and causing a disturbance? Making harrasing phone calls? Do these equal death by torture?

    • Definately not! V Toews needs plenty of upbraiding by Canadians. This man is on a crusade that we should not condone. His excuses are unsustainable, and he doesn't care. His ministry is NOT DOING THE JOB WE WANT. The Canadians who find themselves in prison need help. Help to reacess their situation and plan a new life. Rehabilitation is what we want from our Justice system, not failed old fashioned brutality.
      I am angry every time he uses the statistics of "40% increase". It tells NOTHING. It is a number without meaning. 40% of what? Does it provide more psychologists, or more councelling (neither of which are currently sufficient), or just the cost of another concrete bunker to lock people away and forget what happens to them?
      This man is TOTALLY inadequate for the ministry. We need desperately to rise up and insist on a rehabilitation program like they have had for years in truly democratic countries like Denmark and Norway.