A postscript to: CPC vs "soft-on-crime-coalition"
-Updated by Tonda MacCharles, Oct. 11/2011
Delayed posting this update, but thought it important to point out the CPC isn't the only one availing of political posturing opportunities in the members' statements. On Friday, the morning after I posted Brent Rathgeber's comments (see below), the Liberals' rookie MP for Kingston and the Islands Ted Hsu gloated about the Ontario Liberals' win in the provincial election, citing Prime Minister Stephen Harper's summertime wish for a trifecta of Conservative victories in Ontario. "Mr. Speaker, the Trifecta was Rejecta," Hsu rejoiced. He concluded: "The Liberal movement is alive and well in Ontario."
Well, then. I guess the Liberals won't be complaining about the Tories' use of partisan trash talk anymore. Let's see how long the NDP can keep a civil tongue in their heads.
-posted by Tonda MacCharles, Ottawa bureau, Oct. 6, 2011
The 15 minutes before Question Period are devoted to statements by MPs who once upon a time used to talk about significant events or people in their ridings or hail volunteerism or fundraising efforts like the March of Dimes. Over the past several years, the statements began to be used, primarily by Conservative Party MPs, as occasions for partisan attacks.
There's been some lip service paid to trying to foster more "civility" in politics. After the Conservatives won a majority government in May, many talked about how it would change the hyper-partisan atmosphere in the House of Commons. Certainly after NDP leader Jack Layton died in August you heard lots of talk about how politicians would heed his call for a more respectful discourse.
But old habits die hard, I guess.
Today's statement by Conservative Brent Rathgeber (Edmonton—St. Albert) - one of three Conservative MPs involved in screening the next two judges (still unnamed) for the Supreme Court of Canada - took a hard partisan swipe, but this time he broadened his target.
Here's a bit of what Rathgeber said:
"We reject categorically suggestions from the NDP and their soft-on-crime friends like the Elizabeth Fry Society who suggest: providing prisoners with needles and drugs in order to engage in harm reduction; taking drugs away from prisoners violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; drug interdiction methods are unfair to inmates by violating their “privacy” and drug sniffing dogs can scare away visitors; and, most shockingly of all, strip searches of inmates suspected of smuggling drugs or weapons is tantamount to “lawful sexual assault by the state." Yesterday the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore demanded that I apologize for allegedly wronging this criminal group. I suggest that the NDP should apologize to Canadians for its complicity in the soft-on-crime coalition and for refusing to stand up for victims. I call--"
At that point, the Speaker called time had run out.
That's a shame. I'd like to know who else, besides the people who advocate for women prisoners across Canada, is in the soft-on-crime coalition.
Perhaps we'll hear more in the days to come.