Saturday, July 26, 2014

Have They No Decency?

When Justice Anne Mactavish struck down the Harper government's ban on medical care to refugees, she wrote that the ban amounted to "cruel and unjust treatment." The phrase did not emerge new and full blown from the lips of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Gerry Caplan writes:

These exact words – “cruel and unusual punishment” – resonate in history. They were written into the English Bill of Rights in 1689 and were then repeated in the 8th amendment to the United States Constitution: “Cruel and unusual punishments [shall not be] inflicted.” These are not words used loosely.

He points out that they were at the heart of Joseph Welsh's response to Senator Joseph McCarthy:

“Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator; you’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

We have insisted -- at least until recently -- that our elected officials display a modicum of decency. But any sense of decency disappeared with Stephen Harper. Caplan writes that "cruel and unusual treatment" is at the heart of two other Harper policies:

The prostitution bill has a similar cast of characters – the justices of the Supreme Court, who ruled that government must take all steps possible to assure the safety of prostitutes; much of the rest of the country who disagree on much but agree the bill actually would put prostitutes in even greater danger than they are now; and a minister of justice, Peter McKay, who has proved himself completely indifferent to the safety of such women. Is this not simple callousness?

And last, of course, there is the case of Omar Khadr:

Finally there is the case of Omar Khadr, a young man who to whom fate has been cruel since his birth to a twisted family. There are at least seven separate possible reasons for showing compassion for Mr. Khadr, and the Harper government has consistently dismissed every single one of them with scorn and derision. He was a child under international law when his father forced him to become a soldier. He may well not have killed anyone. He himself was badly wounded. He was involved in a war, when killing another soldier is not a crime. He confessed under torture. He pled guilty to end his Kafkaesque nightmare. He was convicted in a U.S. military court that flouted basic principles of justice. Canadian prison officials have found no evidence that he “espouses attitudes that support terror activities or any type of radicalized behaviour.”
Yet he drives Harperland crazy with fear and loathing. They feel no mercy.

In fact, there is much that drives Harperland crazy. And their lack of decency underscores their irrational loathing.


lorne said...

It is my deep and abiding hope, Owen, that Canadians' innate sense of decency will lead them to do the right thing and send Harper and his wrecking crew packing in 2015. Our national psyche cannot endure another four years of Dear Leader's depraved indifference to everything but his own abiding obsessions with power and control.

Toby said...

There is a core of voters who will support the Harper Conservatives no matter what. There is a larger group that votes Conservative because they don't know what else to do. The latter group recognizes the meanness of Harper and his henchmen and the ugliness of their policies. When these people look around they cannot find a viable alternative. The "red Tory" option no longer exists. Even the old Reform Party, which did have principles, is gone. Neither the Liberals nor the NDP are offering a different vision for Canada. All that the opposition is offering is trust us, were nice. The Greens have a good understanding of what is wrong but appear to be non-viable. My bet is that most, if not all, who voted Conservative last time will do so again.

Owen Gray said...

At this point in time, I agree with your analysis, Toby. That's why Harper is hanging on.

Until there is a citizens revolt, he'll stay where he is -- or, at least, he'll try to stay there.

Owen Gray said...

I share your hope, Lorne. But, as I said in my reply to Toby, until there is a significant change in the public mood, Harper will hang on by the skin of his teeth.

Anonymous said...

I am afraid of, all the ethnic votes Harper is buying. Those foreign votes are, really adding up. We all know, Harper will use every underhanded tactic in the book, to cheat to win this election, as he did the last election.

If this is true? Look at the perks the Engineers from India have? Ashakiran Immigration Services. Electrical and Electronic Engineers. Canada is calling, under the *FEDERAL* scheme.
More ethnic votes for Harper.

we also know, how much of Canada's resources and resource jobs, Harper has been handing China. There is also this.
Canadian Dehua International. A former Chinese Government Official Oct 18/2012
There are 413,000 Chinese in just Vancouver alone. 45,000 more want in. So there are thousands and thousands of Chinese votes for Harper.

There are of course, the Jewish votes. Ukrainian votes. And, Harper just gave Poland, the BC ship building contract.

Harper still has time, to give more of Canada away, to gain even more ethnic votes.

Jason Kenny out and out blatantly lied about, his TFW scam.

A fellow I know is an, Electronic Engineering Technologist, Bachelor of Science degree, Electronic Engineer. He and several others were laid off their resource jobs. This guy applied to many resource jobs and other jobs. Doing a courtesy call to a HR person, for a resource job? She said, she had over 4,000 applications, for just that one job posting.

How does Kenny compute that to, a shortage of labor in Canada? Shortage of labor in Canada, my @$$. Kenny is cheating Canadians out of their resource jobs and many other jobs besides.

Owen Gray said...

It's all about driving down wages, Anon. Lower labour costs add to the bottom line.

Rural said...

It all may appear irrational Owen, but I fear that they know exactly what they do. Would that more citizens could see where it is leading us!

Owen Gray said...

They know what they are doing, Rural. But they do not think through what they do.

There are certain groups of people they despise. And they are incapable of looking at the world through someone else's eyes

So they careen towards disaster.

Anonymous said...

Toby, I would say that LIBs and DPs both offer a different vision for Canada than Harper or a sigle one of his MPs.

The polls, public opinion, and my gut, tell me that there is a change in the winds for the Reform-Alliance/MacKay sell-outs.

Owen Gray said...

I hope there's change, Loving It. But I hope it's more than a change of name.