Tories slam Trudeau for comments on mandatory minimum sentences, economy

The Conservatives are attacking Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for speaking out on a couple major issues in an interview Tom Clark, host of Global’s The West Block.

First, the Tories aren’t happy after Trudeau said he would roll back some mandatory minimum sentences brought in by the Harper government.

Julian Fantino said people with first-hand experience in the criminal justice system are distressed about Trudeau’s plans. Fantino is running for the Conservatives in a Toronto-area riding. Before entering politics he was police chief in Toronto and London, Ont.

“We need a strong response to the criminal justice system…dealing with violent criminal activity and victimization,” Fantino said at a news conference on Sunday.

“[Trudeau’s] only priority is to change the law to allow the sale of marijuana in corner stores. Well, that won’t work”
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READ MORE: Justin Trudeau might repeal some mandatory minimums if elected

On Friday Trudeau told Tom Clark, host of Global’s The West Block, that he has “concerns in the overuse and quite frankly abuse of mandatory minimums.”

“It’s the kind of political ploy that makes everyone feel good, saying, ‘We’re going to be tough on these people,’ but by removing judicial discretion, and by emphasizing mandatory minimums, you’re actually clogging up our jails for longer periods of time and not necessarily making our communities any safer.”

WATCH: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau discusses mandatory minimum sentencing with The West Block’s Tom Clark.

Anthony Doob, a criminology professor at the University of Toronto, told Global News reviewing the Tories’ policies would be a good idea. 

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“[Mandatory minimums] do not accomplish what the Harper government says they do,” Doob said in an email. “There is an enormous amount of evidence that mandatory minimums, and sentences harsher than are ‘normal’ in countries like Canada, will not reduce crime.”

He also believes the cost of the mandatory minimums is too high. He said on average, it costs $70,000 a year to jail someone in provincial institutions and $117,000 in federal ones. 

“If the government were interested in reducing crime, it would spend this money elsewhere,” he writes. 

The Conservatives also attacked Trudeau for comments he made about the economy.

“Canadians better hold on to their wallets” if they vote for Justin Trudeau, Tony Clement, Treasury Board President, said.

Trudeau told The West Block that even though he plans to run deficits, it will be different from the way Stephen Harper ran deficits.

READ MORE: Liberal plan targets tax breaks, tax evaders, NDP calls it ‘bad math

“Mr. Harper used his fiscal room to try and jump start the economy but didn’t address infrastructure deficits we have in our communities and municipalities across the country,” Trudeau said.

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“[The Liberals] have an investment plan that’s going to bring in historic levels of infrastructure in this country by $60 million dollars more over the next 10 years.”

WATCH: Liberal deficits are better than Harper’s deficits: Trudeau

With files from Global’s Jennifer Tryon. 

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