One of the hallmarks of the Conservative philosophy, if I can use that term with the Conservatives, is that they believe themselves to be "tough on crime".
So, under the Harper Conservatives, we've had various pieces of legislation proposed and (some of them) passed. Some examples:
"Life Means Life" legislation - continuing a theme of that party of imposing mandatory sentences, in this case, mandatory life sentences with NO chances of parole. Ever. Admittedly, this would apply to the most heinous of crimes, so perhaps sympathy isn't needed.
More recently, several American states decided to ignore Federal laws and legalized marajuana. So far as I know, the current list includes Alaska, Oregon, Washington, District of Columbia and Colorado. It's a civil misdemeanor in several other states. The Harper Conservatives continue to flog pot as evil incarnate. No vasillation on possible legalization or decriminalization. Just harsher penalties and more rhetoric. Not to suggest that any drugs are good for you, I'd just point out that pot probably isn't much worse for a person than alcohol or tobacco. The main problem is a lack of good data, something the current prohibition makes hard to fix.
A number of other Conservative pieces of legislation have met with unfavourable rulings from the Supreme Court of Canada.
In fact, if you can stand the partisan rhetoric and a whole page of Conservative talking points, it's all here on the Conservatives' website.
What this ignores is the verifiable fact that the crime rate peaked in 1991 and has been dropping since then. The Conservative's policies are seen by some as a failure.
There are many consequences of this kind of mindset on the part of the government. One is all the money that is spent on prisons. In fact, Canada's prisons are claimed to be in chaos and our reputation as a just nation somewhat tarnished.
Also keep in mind, every time the Conservatives trumpet their tiny budget surplus... the Feds can make the laws but it's often the provinces that have to enforce them. That means that many of the direct costs have been downloaded on the provinces. So everyone pays. It just doesn't look like it's the Federal Government that's responsible for the costs.
The cynics (and who could believe there are Canadians cynical of this government) will point out the number of Harper aides who have fallen afoul of the law, whether in the Senate, the PMO or the various election campaigns (Del Maestro, Carson, Duffy, Penashue, Sona....). In almost every one of these cases, the Prime Minister repeatedly confirmed his faith and confidence in the person involved (until they were ultimately found guilty and thrown under the bus), leaving the cynics to offer this thought:
In each election campaign, the Conservatives have been found guilty of some form of electoral fraud. Once again, the cynics have been at work:
Of course when the government claims to be working hard to find and convict tax cheats, the cynics (again) remain skeptical. And for possibly good reason, as indicated in this story from CBC Business News.
It leads one to wonder if the Conservatives are really "tough on crime" or if it's all just a political sham designed to make enough gullible voters believe they are being kept safe from the criminal hordes by only voting Conservative.
It's part of the Harper Conservatives' "government by fear" policy. Just remember: Whenever any government tried to scare you, they're not doing it because they're trying to keep you safe. They're doing it because they're trying to control you.