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Sweeping crime bill – and costly Tory cost-cutter – revealed

The Conservative government takes the first step Tuesday toward passing a slate of justice bills that have died on the order paper – some of them more than once as a result of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2008 election call and decision to prorogue Parliament last year.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson will be joined by Immigration Minister Jason Kenny at the Peel Regional Police Association in Brampton, west of Toronto, to announce that the much-talked-about omnibus crime bill will be tabled in the House.

The Conservative government says the majority mandate it received in the spring election was a signal from Canadians they are behind this bill. But it is likely to contain a number of measures opposed by criminal-justice experts who say they will makes streets less safe while costing billions of dollars.

Those measures could include, among other things, keeping young offenders in jail for longer periods of time, harsher penalties for drug crimes including a minimum six-month sentence for someone who is found with six marijuana plants for the purposes of trafficking, ending house arrest for property crimes and other serious offences, and a bill to eliminate pardons for people convicted of serious crimes including sexually assaulting children or three different charges.

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Speaking of crimes, what happened to the investigation of government spending during G8? Tom

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