Affordable services would help curb crime

Global superheroes are few and far between and the world lost a big one last week with the death of Nelson Mandela.

Global  superheroes are few and far between (like one a generation?) and the world lost a big one last week with the death of Nelson Mandela.

World governors,  including  Prime Minister  Harper and four of his predecessors,  attended  services in South Africa to pay their respects.

Former PM Mulroney’s government played an important part in supporting  Mr. Mandela in his fight against apartheid. (If anyone  wonders why former PM Joe Clark didn’t travel on the prime ministerial plane, he was already in Africa on a mission promoting democracy.)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Mr. Harper (and all the other world leaders) honoured Mr. Mandela on a permanent basis by adopting his ideals, putting peace, social justice, and racial harmony high on their  governing agendas.

Considering the shenanigans currently going on in Ottawa, Mr. Harper might think about putting those issues higher on the agenda than cronyism and cover-ups.

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“Crime is tied to wellness, and we need to look at ways to improve broad community well-being, not just look to the police and the justice system to address crime. Health, education, and recreation services are all factors in wellness.” — Williams Lake Mayor Cook.

To this  positive approach,  I would  attach the word “affordable” to the health, education and recreation services, and  add “alcohol/drug/gambling abuse rehabilitation programs and facilities, plus a liveable wage for the working poor.”

To be successful the fight against crime requires changes from the top down as well as from the bottom up. Sweden recently closed four prisons and a remand centre due to too few customers.

Although crime is slightly up in that country, the focus is on crime prevention and rehabilitating rather than simply putting offenders in the pokey.  The Swedish government also eased up on the severity of sentencing for drug offences.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.

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