Wednesday, January 19, 2011

If the death penalty ISN'T on Steve's agenda, what IS?

So at long last, Steve allowed one layer of skin on his onion to be peeled.   He told Peter Mansbridge that he does support the death penalty but he won't bring it up for debate in Parliament -- or at least, he doesn't plan to.   The unspoken addendum of course is, for now.
Those of us who oppose him have long accused him of a secret agenda.

And it's worth pointing out that once a country reinstates capital punishment it's open season for any of a number of other human rights abuses, as we see so often in the United States.   That doesn't mean our record is exactly, perfect -- witness our continued mistreatment of Aboriginals, for instance -- but we are generally seen as being better in the world view.   If Harper wants us to go back to the ante 1982 era sans Charter, or even before 1960 sans Bill of Rights, he should just come out and say it.   Wait, he actually did last night.

Maybe Harper doesn't realize it, but he may have very well thrown the entire process of negotiations with the EU on free trade and labour mobility, currently in round five, into jeopardy.  While agriculture doesn't seem to be as big an issue as thought (i.e. our system of collective supply management vs. their CAP) -- the process has bogged down over Canada's present visa restrictions on the Czech Republic, which runs counter to Europe's open border (literally) policy.   But one thing the 27 EU states are in unison on is capital punishment.   All 27 countries outlaw it for civilian crime, and 26 out of the 27 have abolished it all together even for war crimes (the exception is Latvia although it maintains a moratorium on the latter as well).   In fact, membership for new or potential members is contingent on adoption of Protocol 13 (total abolition) which is why Turkey, 95% Muslim, became the first Islamic state to get rid of the practice.

Does Harper seriously believe a free trade deal will be inked if he pushes it on this issue?   Does he realize this is one reason why the US and Europe, allies on most military and foreign policy issues, are so often at loggerheads when it comes to trade?

More importantly, does Harper remember the name Guy Paul Morin?  It's been 16 years since he's been exonerated in the sadistic sex slaying of his nine year old neighbour, Christine Jessop, and neither the Morins nor the Jessops are anywhere closer to knowing who killed Christine.   What if Morin had been executed and then the truth came out?   What would Harper have said?   Stuff happens?

If this is Harper's true view on one of the most fundamental issues there is, then what is his real view on health care, supplemented pensions for low income seniors, financial aid for students -- in fact, the entire social safety net?   Is it, as on the environment and military policy, whatever the US says it should be?

Apologies to Bill Engvall (who, if I recall correctly, supports the death penalty) but I have to say to Steve on this one, "Here's Your Sign."

UPDATE (9:46 EST, 1446 GMT):   Fellow blogger Scott Tribe has the same awful feeling I do, that Harper will try to push this one through on a private member's bill -- it's food for thought since at least one Reform et sequens MP has introduced a private member's bill on reinstatement in every session since 1994.

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Anonymous said...

If you had a shred of honesty you would recognize that 1. most Canadians favour the death penalty in at least some cases; Including many Liberals.

His views are honest and represent what mainstream Canada is thinking. Most Canadians would not shed a tear for Olson, Barnardo etc. Would you?

Further, while most Canadians would support the death penalty in some cases they are not going to lose any sleep over the status quo.

You don't know this country as well as you think you do.

As you point out he has been long accused of a hidden agenda but mostly by people who have been left in the dustbin of politics.

Kirbycairo said...

Anonymous, "knowing" the country has nothing to do with - and neither does the "majority" opinion. The "majority" once believed the earth was flat. The "majority" once believed that slavery was ok. In many cases the 'majority' are simply stuck in the past and have not caught up with what later becomes the acceptable ethical and civilized opinion. Support for the death penalty, from whatever party, is an antiquated belief that needs to be opposed by all civilized people and nations.

Anonymous said...


So then will you condemn Obama and the Dems. for their support of the death penalty? Will you be disappointed when the Libs stay silent on it?

You will probably argue that what happens in the US is not relevant(unless of course it involves GW Bush).

Our country has embraced multi-culturalism. Many cultures even today engage in public hangings etc. for things like being a homosexual or petty theft. Your high moralistic argument (which is flawed anyways)will fall on deaf ears I'm afraid.

The hidden agenda card has been exhausted. The Libs have lost 2 elections trying to play it.

I am still waiting for the minutes to be released on the secret meetings Harper had with Klein to destroy medicare.

Annie said...

There have been a few executed that did not do it..can't bring 'em back! The Death penalty enables someone to kill the killer or supposed killer...two wrongs do not make a right!!

WesternGrit said...

The death penalty - or any other form of State-sanctioned murder - are NOT about what the public wants, Anon #1 (I'll agree with you on that), BUT they are all about human rights. The death penalty is a basic violation of the Universal Human Rights Declaration - something we give China much grief about.

Sure, we'd love to see Bernardo suffer (and I'm sure his fellow inmates are doing that, or will, given the opportunity - and much more likely than if he got the easy way out of his miserable life). There is also a faint hope that he will reform, or at the very least show some genuine remorse. We reform a huge percentage of our prison populations, with a low recidivism rate.

Your arguments "for" the death penalty seem to brush over the ultimate punishment often (and I do mean OFTEN) given to completely innocent people. How can you justify that? I mean given both situations, the person incarcerated for life still suffers - most likely more than the one who gets the easy way out (death penalty), gets to watch his friends and family suffer, etc., etc. The alternative scenario is the state-sanctioned murder of someone who is completely innocent - as is understood to be the case in 25-30% of US death sentences.

Oh... I'm not a Dem, and I will criticize their right of center movement with not doing a lot of things correctly. Obama needs to act on the death penalty, as he does with the gun issue - but unfortunately both issues are NRA/Religious nutbar love-children which would result in hard political times for anyone who tries.

As Gandhi said, "An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind". It's true.

Zorpheous said...

WOW, Anonymous,

"Our country has embraced multi-culturalism. Many cultures even today engage in public hangings etc. for things like being a homosexual or petty theft. Your high moralistic argument (which is flawed anyways)will fall on deaf ears I'm afraid."

Nothing like lowering our standards to those nations that put people to death for murder, rape, adultery and not believing in the right god, eh?

CanadianSense said...

The left can't resist bait.

The PM shared his personal opinion.

If our PM is 'smart' and this was scripted and send the left off the deep end to replay the 'hidden agenda' narrative who wins?

Did our PM make a slip because Mansbridge tripped him up? (Really you guys crack me up)

Your leader is on tour (ignored) your own team will respond to CBC interview and reintroduce law and order and the hidden agenda.

WhigWag said...

Sure, Senseless: Harper's a genius - signal to the world that he WOULD set the country back 40 years by rescinding the right to an abortion & resinstating capital punishment if only there was a bit more popular support for that; and admit to his crestfallen social conservative base that all the funds they've been forking over to them for that have been a waste, because he has no intention of doing anything about it for at least 5 more years, unless they keep beating the drums for that & convert enough people to their causes, themselves.

CanadianSense said...


A personal opinion is not government policy. You should why so many Liberals refused to vote for tax funded abortions in Africa.

The Whip was replaced, Iggy went on CBC to apologize?

apparently you watched a different interview.
Feel free to include things I did not state either.

Thanks for proving the point about the left spin.

WhigWag said...

What's wrong, Penny: feeling a little devalued?

Or is this disjointed off-topic response just you... cracking up?

Still not seeing the mythical brilliant tactician in this rare moment of candour from His Harperness. We've seen this movie before, and even Conservative observers weren't enthused when he floated this trial balloon 3 years ago:

And, sorry, when it's the PM, this man's personal opinion IS government policy when it comes to not repatriating or requesting clemency for Canadians facing the death penalty in other countries, where he HAS already implemented a de facto policy of reimplementing capital punishment for Canadians convicted abroad.

CanadianSense said...


creepy your love for murders.

It's too bad the victims are not in your thoughts.

The radical left are a scary bunch.

WhigWag said...

Channeling Yoda, now, you are. But much to learn, you still have.

Anonymous said...

Funny how the left is so concerned about criminals and how an "innocent" person might be put to death, but they have no regard for an innocent person when that person is a potential life, read fetus.

WhigWag said...

Not so funny at all, both the topic itself and especially when you trip over your own line so much is doesn't even come out as inconsistent once you're done.

But what IS odd is that many of the same people professing a reverence for the sanctity of human life when it comes to fetuses want to turn around and execute people when it comes to people accused of serious crimes.

CanadianSense said...


Actually it is your passionate defence of the murderers that is the insult the sanctity of life.

You glossed over the loss of life dispatched by your hero.

I have never stated my position on capital punishment or right to terminate life of a baby.

I am not inconsistent about life.

WhigWag said...

Get over yourself: it's not always about you, Senseless -- I was addressing the new Anon., there. And I don't have a hero: I'm just doing what I can to stop Harper from ruining the Canada I love and which the world used to admire.

CanadianSense said...


As the champion defender of murderers, your Canada is much different than mine.

You put them on a higher level than the victims. That is your hypocrisy not mine.

I have no conflicts on the sanctity of life in allowing others to have a personal opinion that does match my own.

WhigWag said...

Ah, the Harper acolytes; they can't resist bait.

CanadianSense said...


Interesting analysis after your confession and hypocrisy.

Reminds of the alarmists who can't allow dissent.

WhigWag said...

I'm Confessin' that I Bug You; Tell me, do you bug you too?

And don't you get chafed, up there on your high horse all the time?

CanadianSense said...


What you do with animals is between you and them and frankly WW I don't give a damn.

Aquila non captat muscas

Anonymous said...

Eau de 'Off,' and the musky smell of frying back-bacon: those are Canadian Scents.

But I doubt CS knows that, because s/he must be 'Just Visiting' since indicates s/he doesn't recognize opposing -- or at least resisting -- the death penalty as a quintessentially Canadian value. Because there hasn't been an execution in Canada in, what, 50 years, and in 2001, in the United States v. Burns Decision, the Supreme Court of Canada declared, "[T]he fact that successive governments and Parliaments over a period of almost 40 years have refused to inflict the death penalty reflects, we believe, a fundamental Canadian principle about the appropriate limits of the criminal justice system."