Like the other lies crafted in the PMO, the Harperites are trying to sell the idea that they are tough on crime. As part of their campaign, they have gone after NDP candidate Carol Baird Ellan in British Columbia. Michael Harris writes:
Consider the case of Carol Baird Ellan. The Conservative Party attack-machine is going after the ex-judge turned NDP candidate in Burnaby North Seymour for being soft on crime. The Cons have an entire website devoted to examples of Baird Ellan handing out what they describe as “lenient” sentences to serious criminals, including sex offenders.
When you compare judges records with Mr. Harper's record, you discover undisguised contempt for courts and judges:
Unless the Conservatives are saying that Baird Ellan misconstrued the law, their complaint is not against the judge at all. It is against the statutes under which she made her sentencing decisions. If Harper thinks the laws under which she exercised discretion are flawed, why didn’t he pass new statutes to force judges to send sex offenders to jail and throw away the key?
Last April, the SCC struck down the Harper government’s law that set a mandatory-minimum sentence of three years for gun crimes on a first offence, and five years on subsequent convictions. The 6-3 ruling written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin found that among many other defects, mandatory minimum sentences threaten the principle of proportionality in sentencing. Or as the Chief Justice herself put it, “They function as a blunt instrument that may deprive courts of the ability to tailor proportionate sentences at the lower end of a sentencing range.”
But consider a long list of Harper's appointments. Bruce Carson's trial starts today:
This week in Ottawa, Carson’s criminal trial for influence peddling begins. The charge relates to the accusation that Carson used his influence as a former government official to try to sell water filtration systems to native reserves, and that he directed 20 per cent of the revenue from the deals to his then fiancee, Michele McPherson. McPherson is a former escort who worked in the Ottawa sex-trade.
Carson also faces three other charges of illegal lobbying which will be tried in court next year.
For the Conservatives, the connection between Harper and Carson is not the best example of their being tough on crime. Carson was Harper’s research and policy director in the opposition years, and joined the PMO staff as a senior adviser after Harper won the 2006 election.
The thing is, before joining the PMO, Carson already had two criminal convictions — one for theft in 1983 and another for fraud in 1990. He had been sentenced to 18 months in jail on the theft conviction. He was also disbarred by the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Here’s the kicker: Carson’s lawyer, Patrick McCann, said his client fully disclosed his criminal past during his security clearance check BEFORE starting work at the PMO. So, despite knowing about his record, this tough-on-crime prime minister hired him anyway.
Then, of course, there was the late Arthur Porter and that righteous defender of family values, Vic Toews -- Harper's former Minister of Justice -- who was appointed to the bench in Manitoba.
These guys are bottom feeders. They've always been bottom feeders.