Tough law dead in the water

Rob Antle
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Justice Unproclaimed 2007 act targeted bootleggers, drug dens and brothels

A controversial law targeting drug houses, brothels and bootleggers is dead in the water.

The Williams administration passed the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, or SCAN, nearly three years ago.

But the law was never proclaimed.

And Justice Minister Felix Collins said Friday there are no plans to do so.

A controversial law targeting drug houses, brothels and bootleggers is dead in the water.

The Williams administration passed the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, or SCAN, nearly three years ago.

But the law was never proclaimed.

And Justice Minister Felix Collins said Friday there are no plans to do so.

"At this point in time, there's no inclination to proclaim it because our priorities now have changed," Collins said.

"We've put significant investments into policing in the last couple of years, and that's where our priorities have gone."

He said the province's policing budgets have increased $40 million since 2004.

Collins said financial concerns played a role in deep-sixing the SCAN law.

"It's a question of getting the best bang for the buck with the resources you have," he noted.

But the minister could not put a dollar figure on how much implementing the Safer Communities law would have cost taxpayers.

The SCAN act was first introduced in 2006, but died on the order paper when the House of Assembly closed earlier than expected.

It was reintroduced and passed in June 2007. But it was not proclaimed into law.

The act proved to be controversial. It was amended six times before its approval, after social groups raised a number of concerns.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Feminist Coalition, for example, called the new law "reactionary and vigilante."

In January 2008, the then-justice minister, Jerome Kennedy, said that government officials were planning one last "community information session" about the new law within weeks, and it would be proclaimed "shortly after."

That didn't happen.

This week, the current justice minister said community concerns played no role in SCAN being dumped. The law will remain unproclaimed on the books and could possibly be revived at some point in the future, Collins noted.

The Safer Community and Neighbourhoods Act was based on similar legislation introduced in 2002 in Manitoba. Other provinces have since jumped on board with the concept. It is currently being debated in Ontario, for example.

The law would have allowed authorities to seek a judicial order shutting down drug houses, brothels and bootleggers for up to 90 days.

To do so, a judge would have had to agree that the location was being habitually used for a nefarious purpose, and was having an adverse effect on the community.

The Newfoundland and Labrador act would have allowed for the creation of a "director of safer communities and neighbourhoods," with a contingent of investigators and support staff.

Concerned neighbours would have been able to complain to the director about problem properties, with their identities remaining protected.

In 2007, then-justice minister Tom Osborne said the law addressed an issue that police "constantly raised" with government.

"They have little ability to get at the root of the problem," Osborne told The Telegram at the time.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Feminist Coalition

Geographic location: Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Will Felix now change his hair style now that his master Danny Williams has changed his. So Felix are you saying that drugs are no longer a problem now? What a joke this Williams government is. Sickening really. Dont get sick in NL go to Florida for that.

  • As God be my witness
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    What a system, what a Smoke screen. How much time, taxpayers money and energy( lol, obviously not enough thought), has been spent as a smoke screen for work on processes that no one ever intended to proceed with. They sound like their PC federal counterparts. One minute their dropping law suites and then being sued again by the same group. Dropping programs like flies that were being put there only a short while ago to help people. Has confederation building turned into a law practice for peoples egos? Is it a way to look busy and progressive? This is because these Exercises are exactly what they say they are and they are treated like them. They are pieces that kill time and doesn't matter if they ever get looked at or full filled.

    On the infomation piece
    it was the government that messed up on this spending scandal and the same bunch their today don't want to be held responsible, they don't want to answer any questions but they want you to put total trust back in them which many people can't do. All they want to do now is build a legal wall of papers to protect them, not us. So they can walk in collect the money offered and been totally free or untouchable by their actions as an official, and its already been current cases of that. If a man cheats on his wife and they get back together, its up to the woman when she feels that the trust as been earned back. If she asks where he was for the last three hours she better get a better answer than JUST OUT. He can't and doesn't have the right to tell her when she fells secure enough to restore her full trust. This infomation issue currently going on here is no different.
    I'll tell you where our law is to.
    Our Law is 150 crazies up on the wrong side of the bush with guns killing a group of caribou that they out number. Now the JUSTICE in that his home sitting on their arses doing nothing about it. About the Is this the system that's so great and that we really support? I guess thats what happened when we let the nerds take over. As regards of two lawyers in a court room preaching spells from the law back and forth at each other like two wizards. Ruthless or just not wasting time? Cut to the chase ,Theres to much bs going in their now and it has become a show.
    I will end by saying that about the only area of the justice department that is working is the parole board. They seem to be able to determine in a week or two how well new prisoners can rehabilitated and deemed model and/or what district they ran in. We need more of these action takers like this little club representing us in government

  • Polly
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Are the citizens of this province getting their best bang for the buck with this conservative government ?

  • Seamus
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    The law was pointless in the first place and would have been completely ineffective. Neighbours ratting on each other has never proven to be effective in any way. The shame in this is that time was wasted on it in the first place, not that it was never officially proclaimed. By the way As God be my Witness, is there a point or nugget of information in your chaotic ramblings above? Kids, this is a fine example of what happens when you mix alcohol and a keyboard!!

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Will Felix now change his hair style now that his master Danny Williams has changed his. So Felix are you saying that drugs are no longer a problem now? What a joke this Williams government is. Sickening really. Dont get sick in NL go to Florida for that.

  • As God be my witness
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    What a system, what a Smoke screen. How much time, taxpayers money and energy( lol, obviously not enough thought), has been spent as a smoke screen for work on processes that no one ever intended to proceed with. They sound like their PC federal counterparts. One minute their dropping law suites and then being sued again by the same group. Dropping programs like flies that were being put there only a short while ago to help people. Has confederation building turned into a law practice for peoples egos? Is it a way to look busy and progressive? This is because these Exercises are exactly what they say they are and they are treated like them. They are pieces that kill time and doesn't matter if they ever get looked at or full filled.

    On the infomation piece
    it was the government that messed up on this spending scandal and the same bunch their today don't want to be held responsible, they don't want to answer any questions but they want you to put total trust back in them which many people can't do. All they want to do now is build a legal wall of papers to protect them, not us. So they can walk in collect the money offered and been totally free or untouchable by their actions as an official, and its already been current cases of that. If a man cheats on his wife and they get back together, its up to the woman when she feels that the trust as been earned back. If she asks where he was for the last three hours she better get a better answer than JUST OUT. He can't and doesn't have the right to tell her when she fells secure enough to restore her full trust. This infomation issue currently going on here is no different.
    I'll tell you where our law is to.
    Our Law is 150 crazies up on the wrong side of the bush with guns killing a group of caribou that they out number. Now the JUSTICE in that his home sitting on their arses doing nothing about it. About the Is this the system that's so great and that we really support? I guess thats what happened when we let the nerds take over. As regards of two lawyers in a court room preaching spells from the law back and forth at each other like two wizards. Ruthless or just not wasting time? Cut to the chase ,Theres to much bs going in their now and it has become a show.
    I will end by saying that about the only area of the justice department that is working is the parole board. They seem to be able to determine in a week or two how well new prisoners can rehabilitated and deemed model and/or what district they ran in. We need more of these action takers like this little club representing us in government

  • Polly
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Are the citizens of this province getting their best bang for the buck with this conservative government ?

  • Seamus
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    The law was pointless in the first place and would have been completely ineffective. Neighbours ratting on each other has never proven to be effective in any way. The shame in this is that time was wasted on it in the first place, not that it was never officially proclaimed. By the way As God be my Witness, is there a point or nugget of information in your chaotic ramblings above? Kids, this is a fine example of what happens when you mix alcohol and a keyboard!!