Monday, November 05, 2007

I Thought You Said You Didn't Want a Debate?

Didn't Harper just tell us that he has no interest in reopening the Capital Punishment debate?

If that is indeed the case, can someone please explain to me why the government would commission a survey to determine Canadian opinion on the subject? The survey was done this summer, long before the issue was raised last week. Obviously it was on their radar. The survey was meant to find support for their justice package.

That should concern us. Not because they will go ahead now, they won't. The results show that only 1 in 5 Canadians support capital punishment. That coupled with the outrage that followed Day's comment last week make it impossible or at least incredibly unlikely that they will bring it up.

Here's the thing though. It tells us that their, no longer so hidden agenda, is real. The media continue to laugh it off and the pundits advise Dion and others to "change the channel". My hope is the media will take a more realistic view of this, rather than provide the narrative that they have thus far. I'm not sure why they have frankly. You'd think that the reality would be far more interesting to write about. Perhaps seeing the long governing Grits being ousted was more interesting to them, causing them to ignore what was true. Given the way Dion is portrayed and focused on, that may still be the case. All of that said, I still think we should keep this reality in the public eye. I don't think it should be our only focus but nor should it be ignored.

Just as the Con's have tried define Dion, they have been busy redefining themselves. Their aim of course is to present themselves as moderate and again, many in the media quote this as fact quite regularly but really, if that was the case wouldn't their numbers be higher? That is why I think it still should remain as a talking point.

Here are some examples of what Mr. Day, our Minister of Public Safety, has said in the past. It would be quite easy, listening to him these days, to believe that his views have changed, but that is only due to the tight messaging edict coming out of the PMO. If however, you saw the way he delivered the statement about commuting the death sentence of the Canadian citizen in the US, it's difficult to believe that he's changed one iota. In fact, his past voice comes through loud and clear. His declaration tacitly supports capital punishment. That's what he's always believed and now he has a chance to support it through the back door.

In 1994, Mr. Day advocated the death penalty for teenagers convicted of first-degree murder.
He has advocated American-style work camps for some young offenders.
In 1997, he drew condemnation from all political stripes when, in a speech,he suggested serial-child killer Clifford Olson should be dealt with by fellow prisoners. "People like myself say, "Fix the problem. Put him in the general (prison) population. The moral prisoners will deal with it in a way which we don't have the nerve to do".
In 1988 Mr. Day said granting greater access to abortion would prompt a rise in child abuse.
--Calgary Herald, April 9, 1998
"Homosexuality is a mental disorder that can be cured by counseling." He has said homosexuality is "not condoned by God" and maintains being gay is a matter of choice.
"God's law is clear," an angry Day told Alberta Report in 1984. "Standards of education are not set by government, but by God, the Bible, the home and the school."
--Ottawa Citizen, June 8, 2000"Stockwell Day added he would eventually end all taxpayer financing of CBC television and eliminate all cultural subsidies to all cultural institutions.
-He has called official bilingualism an "irritant" and questioned the effectiveness of sex education in the schools. "There is a growing body of literature suggesting that, as sex education becomes more comprehensive,there is a corresponding increase in sexual activity."

Obviously, not all of these positions fall under his current purview, but he does sit at the cabinet table and he is one Minister that is allowed off his leash, if he stays on message. To me that means he's agreed to limit his views to the Cabinet table and himself. Isn't that fantastic? He has sway behind the scenes but Canadians aren't allowed to know what he stands for.

I think we have to be careful how we approach this talking point. It shouldn't be framed in a trite manner nor should it be all we talk about, but as these small fissures appear in the veneer they strive to keep whole, I think they must be noted and pointed out.

Who they are is not what they show us, but this past week has drawn back the curtain a bit. We need to wrest the control of that curtain and pull it back when necessary.

Update: Apparently intervening on behalf of a Canadian is considered to be interfering in the American judicial system, but intervening on behalf of an American, is not.


Steve V said...

Why are the Cons wasting taxpayer money polling Canadians on a question they have no intention of debating?

Good post knb.

Lizt. said...

The Cons have been waiting for the Fall election and a majority..he was feeling the mood of the Country back then.. and if he could, he would bring capital punishment back.. with his majority.

burlivespipe said...

You can see their tacit beliefs in other actions:
By supporting 'Quebec as a nation' and then tending to the cultural denouement that francophone culture is under attack thru subtle dancing with nationalists, he is in effect aiding the isolationists and separatists in building conditions for a francophone 'fire wall.'
That they denigrate multiculturalism, and that the media has done little to investigate and portray multiculturalism as an imperfect but overly successful immigration policy, is another 'tacit turn' to conquer and divide.
Play up people's fears, trumpet our mistrust of the unknown. Head into ethnic churchs and talk up 'evils of same-sex marriage.' Engineer 'a heated debate' over Canada's immigration policies of the past, while not making the CON ideas a point of reference. They let the anger, fear and discomfort do the work for them.
In the end, this group of empty vessel politicians will emasculate what Canadians, have come to believe was theirs. A country, imperfect yes, but built on compassion, acceptance and cultural diversity.

Gayle said...

I do not think capital punishment can ever be brought back - even if there was popular support. It violates the Charter.

To me the fact they asked the question says much about their ignorance and disrespect for our constitution.

Yesterday Robert Fife condemned this policy change. He said it made no sense, and it has caused some dissention within caucus.