Thursday, February 19, 2015

Feeding His Base

Fear fueled Stephen Harper's victory in 2011. Back then, he stoked fears about a coalition government. This time  around, he hopes to surf back to power by fanning two categories of fear -- fear of jihadists outside the gates and fear of criminals within. Frances Russell writes that fear of the criminals within is completely unfounded:

“The 2011 Canadian rate of 1.73 homicides per 100,000 population is the lowest of all the Americas, 14 times lower than in Mexico and about one-third of the rate in the United States. The homicide rate in Canada is more comparable to many European countries and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), but remains much higher than the rate in Japan and Hong Kong.”

So reports Statistics Canada in its latest international comparison of homicide rates.

Yet to listen to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cabinet and their ongoing “tough on crime” drumbeat, you would think Canada was in the midst of a major crime wave.

Crime isn't rising in Canada. But our incarceration rate is. Howard Sapers, Canada's Correctional Investigator, reports:

 “Over the last three or five years, we’ve definitely seen a population increase and it’s definitely around eight to 10 per cent at the federal level and perhaps a little more at the provincial level.”

And the dominos just keep falling. “We’re now seeing, for example, a higher proportion of provincially incarcerated individuals are being held pre-trial which means they’re simply being held on remand and haven’t even been convicted.”

Russell writes that many prisoners are now incarcerated before trial:

It’s not uncommon now for 60 to 65 per cent of all provincial and territorial jails having to house inmates who are still at the pre-trial stage – in other words, serving time before they’ve been found guilty and sentenced. In case the government won’t tell you, that’s akin to denying the ancient right to due process.

No one seems to be questioning the fairness -- or the wisdom -- of this change:

In reality, the whole safety/punishment mantra has nothing to do with science and evidence. It’s simply raw political opportunism by a governing party who likes to use fear and threat to capture every populist wave it can generate to mine more support and money from its already rock-solid base.

Mr. Harper believes he will win by feeding his base -- even if the country loses.


mogs moglio said...

Stephen Harper changes 'his-story' almost daily now depending on who his audience is.

You cannot trust the feeble power mad coward.

Sorry I had to say it. Am I a 'terrorist' now? Steve and all his con clowns need to be voted out.

Owen Gray said...

That will only happen, Mogs, if enough of us go to the polls. Staying home will ensure another Harper victory.

Scotian said...

No surprise here, but then I was one of the early warners of the threat of Harper, and I have spent over a decade doing all I can to stop him, and I am not stopping until he is gone, and hopefully his core policies repudiated.

It is hard at times for me to respond to your posts because as I've noted before I knew all this, was coming, I warned of it, and the urge to constantly rub the noses of those who kept saying it wouldn't be so bad, or that it would help the NDP become government after his horror show is intense.

As I've said before, I can forgive the average citizen/voter for missing this about Harper, but those with political interests who follow it for their own reasons be they professional or personally, and especially those that work in the field, those people I have a much harder time forgiving.

In the next election realistically we are going to have one of four outcomes, Harper majority or minority, Trudeau majority or minority. I've stated which I think is the best choice and why before, but I think it is time that those who favour other choices face up to the reality that it is either Trudeau or Harper, and when faced with that which is the lesser evil/threat to what is left of Canada, centrist, progressive, even conservative in the traditional political sense. It isn't fair, but life rarely is, so pull up those big boy/girl pants and do what this country so desperately needs, GET RID OF HARPER!!!

I'm not usually one for black and white thinking Owen, but in this it is hard to see it any other way. As it is the damage from Harper will not be entirely recoverable, and anyone that fails to grasp that, well clearly doesn't see/understand what Harper has already done to us. I call him the Salter of the Scorched Earth for a reason after all.

Rural said...

Make no mistake Owen, I am afraid, deathly afraid....... that Harper and his cronies will be reelected and get to finish destroying Canadian Democracy!

Owen Gray said...

I share your fear, Rural -- particularly after reading this morning about public support for Bill C-51.

Owen Gray said...

Some long time Dippers -- Murray Dobbin and Gerry Caplan -- are coming around to your point of view, Scotian.

As both of them have said, it's time to choose country over party.

Dana said...

"Country over party".


Won't happen.

The only thing we have left to decide is what to wear at the wake.

Owen Gray said...

If Harper wins again, there will be a wake, Dana. But that hasn't happened yet.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

If Harper get's in again, I don't think it will be because so many Canadians accept his fear mongering. I don't believe the numbers. I do fear like yourself and Rural that Harper will get another majority, but because of fraud or some other deception. Outside of his base, I do not think he'll get a another majority because of Canadians voting for him. As we know he will do anything to hold on to power. Nothing is off limits.

Owen Gray said...

The clearest indication that he's trying to game the system is the so called "Fair Elections Act," Pam.

The only rules that count for him are the rules he makes. And he'll change those on a dime -- if they benefit him.

mogs moglio said...

Let's consider this article by Andrew Coyne: Scroll half way down to find this title:

Money and the Game of Small Ball
By Andrew Coyne, National Post, November 12, 2014

And the very next article:

"Stephen Lewis Roars Once More in Takedown of Stephen Harper Government By Tim Harper,
National Affairs, Toronto
Star, November 23, 2014
Canada and its politics, the former Ontario NDP leader says, are in free fall."

Owen Gray said...

Stephen Lewis has never been afraid to tell it like it is, Mogs.

Beijing York said...

I'm starting to fear a Harper re-election too! The well has been slowly poisoned by Harper's relentless lying and the media's complicity.

More than a decade ago, I would have felt comfortable discussing the merits of restorative justice and panning the futility and destructiveness of the US penal system (ie. consecutive sentences, 3-strike rule, heavy handed anti-drug laws) with most people I know. Today, it feels like people buy all that criticism as being soft on crime. Of course there are like-minded exceptions but our voices are becoming increasingly silenced.

Owen Gray said...

Michael Harris puts things very well, Bejiing. These days, he writes, Harper sounds like George W. Bush "after his third martini."