Harper Tories most popular choice of incarcerated individuals

Andy Radia
Canada Politics

As strange as it sounds, those who have been convicted of a criminal activity voted in large numbers for the "tough-on-crime" Harper Conservatives in the last election.

A story in the Ottawa Citizen reported more than 17,000 incarcerated citizens cast ballots for the May 2 election, and of those 46 per cent voted for the Conservatives, 29 per cent for the Liberals and just 15 per cent for the New Democrats.

In Canada, prisoners were granted the right to vote in 2002 when the Supreme Court ruled disenfranchising incarcerated electors violated Section 3 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In this election, voter turnout in the prison population increased by 27 per cent compared to only a 2.5 per cent increase in the general population.

Ironically, throughout the campaign one of the Conservative party's key planks was its tough-on-crime legislation.

The Tories' omnibus crime bill, expected to be introduced this fall, is expected to include legislation to build more prisons and to mandate minimum sentences for drug and sex crimes.

It will also toughen bail requirements for serious crimes, end early parole for murderers, stop two-for-one credit for time served in pre-trial, end house arrest for serious crimes and facilitate the hiring of 1,000 new RCMP personnel.

On the surface, these don't appear to be policies amenable to a prison population.

Nevertheless, this data bodes well for Harper - tough-on-crime equals more prisoners which apparently for the Conservatives means more votes.

(Getty Images)