One morning in August, 2010 Ian Thomson awoke to find intruders firebombing his house. As an experienced firearms instructor, Thomson knew what he had to do. He got his gun out of the safe where it was stored and scared the men off his property by firing over their heads. Then he was charged with four offences.
Should we challenge mental health experts? Challenge the justice system on the grounds that we do not agree with a single, solitary verdict? On the grounds that the crime is particularly horrendous? Should we accept that a government is using a single, solitary court decision that it disagrees with and that causes public outcry to change the laws?
Since 2006 when Prime Minister Stephen Harper first took office, his governing party has passed numerous bills designed to reinforce his "tough on crime" approach. There is no real evidence of a crime "epidemic" and the current direction the federal government is taking will not reduce crime or protect the public.
Here in Quebec, we have an original approach to youth crime that works. In 2010, the severity of youth crime in Quebec was the lowest in Canada, proof that we are not "soft" on crime but rather that we are smart and "tough" on its root causes. But now the Harper government wants to ignore the evidence and change that approach.