Thursday, April 16, 2015

Insane And Stupid


The Harper government's tough on crime agenda suffered yet another defeat this week. Expect to hear more heated rhetoric about Canada's biased judicial system from Mr. Harper. But, Michael Spratt writes, judicial activism isn't killing the government's crime legislation. Stephen Harper is:

The federal Conservatives have reduced criminal justice policy to a simple flow chart. Step one: Promise ‘tough on crime’ legislation that’s easy to sell to the Conservative base. Step two: Table the bill while ignoring the advice of experts (both inside and outside the Justice department) arguing the new law would be both ineffectual and unconstitutional. Step three: Cling like grim death to the talking points, at least until step four — when the Supreme Court strikes the law down. Step five: Cry ‘judicial activism’, then refer to step one.

The pattern is always the same; only the bills change. The results speak for themselves — for the Harper government, one defeat after another in the nation’s highest court. They’ve been in power since 2006. They really should be getting better at this by now.

But they aren't -- even if their own lawyers tell them their legislation won't pass constitutional muster:

Had they been listening, they would have gotten an early indication that the legislation was unconstitutional from their own Parliamentary Information and Research Service department, which warned that “mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment are generally inconsistent with the fundamental principle that a sentence must be proportionate to the gravity of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the offender” — and minimum sentences “may constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”.

They didn't like that message, however, so they simply ignored it. And, quite predictably, the Supreme Court told them they got it wrong:

The court did not simply hold that the minimum sentences are a poor policy choice. It found that these minimum sentences amount to cruel and unusual punishment — that the legislation offends standards of decency by imposing sentencing as a “blunt instrument that may deprive courts of the ability to tailor proportionate sentences at the lower end of a sentencing range”.

The court also found that, under the 2008 law, an otherwise law-abiding person storing an unloaded, restricted firearm at his or her home would be treated as a hardened criminal and hit with a minimum prison sentence for a minor licensing infraction.

Some would call the Harperian approach to criminal justice insane. Others would call it stupid. It's both.


Anonymous said...

Ya know Owen it is like the Harper cons are more like Wile E Coyote and the court is the Roadrunner. Everything the Harper-cons do blows up in their face and the Supreme Court keeps making them look like supreme fools cause they are. Only they are to stupid to realize it. Steve go over to the wailing wall again stay there and keep your grubby paws off of Canada. Get in bed with Benji and get those bad Muslims but don't do it from our soil or our resources we have no argument with them only your deceitful mind does Steve. I say let them be but no you have to fan the flames of a Jewish hatred of Muslims so you belong in Israeli land which does not really exist except in fiction. Israel is a lie created by the Brits to solve "The Jewish Problem" shoving the Palestinians aside. The wind of change I am still waiting for it but I love the ballad who ever thought a hard rock band "The Scorpions" could come up with that?

Not me but I love the lyrics and the music is quite tame to their usual BS which I personally do not like but this tune is a winner... The Wind Of Change!

I follow the Rideau Canal through historic Ottawa and listen to the wind of change where we can all be brothers and sisters...

Ah got me? Hope so we need change big time for the children of tomorrow. My Canada I grew up in was the best country in the world now I fear for my offspring how are they going to compete if they were raised to be honest?

From The Scorpions Video History Potsdamer Platz Berlin 1953 reminds me of Harper's G-8 Toronto Summit a show of force to cancel public opinion. What is the difference here? Personally I don't see one Berlin 1953 Toronto 2010...


Unknown said...

Why would a government continually present unconstitutional legislation Owen? Why would a government continually present legislation that takes away or violates, the rights and freedoms of their citizens? I know it partly has to do with appealing to Harpers base, but I don't think that is the whole story.One just has to imagine the dictatorial power Harper would have, if this legislation passed.A Prime Minister who wants to curtail the rights of his country men/woman wants to have the power over them, that curtailment will private. I'm not sure though exactly why they present this legislation, because they must know the Supreme Court is going to strike it down. So why keep doing it?

Owen Gray said...

Perhaps they are trying to build a case for using the "not withstanding" clause, Pam.

One way or another, their aim is to sink the Charter.

Owen Gray said...

The chip on Mr. Harper's shoulder keeps getting bigger, Mogs.

Anonymous said...

Pam you have to realize this particular government "The Harper Government" is a criminal cabal. So get over it we will get the freaks in the end no worries they will pay the ultimate price.

Cheers to you Pam keep your head high and listen to the wind of change. "Scorpions"

Did you ever think we could be so close as brothers ans sisters? We can...

Mogs Moglio

Unknown said...

I've wondered about "the notwithstanding clause" Owen. I know Harper despises the Charter. I think it's great that the charter stops almost all of his legislation. Could you imagine what would happen if we didn't have it?

Owen Gray said...

At the moment, Pam, the Charter is the best defense we have against Harper. And he knows it.