OTTAWA – The Harper government’s majority has voted in favour of its massive crime bill.

It passed today with a vote of 157 to 127.

Among other things, the bill increases penalties for sexual offences against children and ends the use of house arrest for violent crimes.

The Safe Streets and Communities Act has been one of the more controversial measures of the fall parliamentary session.

The Conservatives say they were given a mandate to make Canada safer, yet the crime rate in the country is at record-low levels.

Police chiefs say the bill needs to be balanced by crime-prevention efforts.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Bar Association says the bill is a waste of taxpayers’ money that will result in bulging prisons and overload an already-heated justice system.

Opposition parties say the bill has been fast-tracked without proper study.

They attempted to introduce 88 amendments last week.

All were voted down.