Thursday, February 2, 2012

What's Good for the Goose...

Source: CTV News: Tory Senator: My Let-Killers-Hang Idea Has Lots of Support
Source: CTV News: Kenney's Office Apologizes for Sun News Stunt

While the OAS argument heats up in Ottawa, and it is something we will discuss in the future, we shall focus on these two items for today as it will become a bit of a generalized topic with regards to the Senator.

So, let's start with the news today that Immigration Minister Jason Kenney arranged a photo op of a 'new Canadian' Citizenship Oath ceremony with Sun TV that included very few new Canadians. In fact, of the ten citizens taking the oath only four were new Canadians. The other six were bureaucrats who were asked to pose as new immigrant for the photo op.

While allegations abound over who is at fault (e-mails suggest that Sun News is responsible for the idea of staging it AND for being unable/refusing to attend an actual ceremony), Kenney has apologized for the least to Sun News. Furthermore, Kenney and Sun News are jumping on the 'It's the bureaucracy's fault' band wagon and are blaming civil servants for the incident occurring.

Again, e-mails suggest otherwise, but we'll see where this ends up going. What we do know is that Harper's Government, and Kenney in particular, have always found themselves on the wrong end of things when stuff like this happens. If anything, Kenney is only continuing to show his incompetence as a minister; and if we had a Prime Minister who cared about substance over appearance, Kenney would have been turfed a long time ago.

What could possibly push this over the edge is the information on whether or not these civil servants posing as new citizens were still on the public dime when they did their photo op. If they were still on the clock, someone needs to answer for why they were. Either Sun News needs to reimburse the government, and as such the taxpayer, if they are proven to be responsible for setting up this photo op.

Or the government needs to explain why and who is responsible, for civil servants posing for a photo op under false pretenses while charging the time to taxpayers.

After all, if there's one thing I know about Canadians, it's that we get really riled when our tax dollars are misspent. And a false photo op, is one hell of an abuse of those dollars.

And that brings us to Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, a Conservative Senator for the province of Quebec. Boisvenu made headlines after speaking about Bill C-10, by saying that certain prisoners should be provided a length of rope and the option to hang themselves.

Boisvenu eventually retracted his comments, although today he's made statements suggesting that his backtracking wasn't fully truthful. After all, he's now come out and said that he's received hundreds of e-mails of support over what he said. Usually, someone who backs away from something they said don't turn around the next day and try to defend it by saying people agree with what was said.

But that's not what's at issue here.

What is at issue is the odd hypocrisy that we continue to see from the Conservative Party and their ideas on the 'sanctity of human life'.

Although the Conservatives have said they have no intention to re-open the Capital Punishment debate, and Harper has confirmed this in the wake of Boisvenu's comments; the double standard that the Conservatives hold true continues to exist.

For example, let us examine the sticky issue of euthanasia.

Boisvenu made the remark that prisoners who are beyond the hope of redemption should not be locked away. But would Senator Boisvenu make the same argument for someone who has no hope of recovery from a terminal illness? Probably not, given that Conservatives are generally against assisted suicide.

Yet, why then it is okay to suggest prisoners should kill themselves if they can't be rehabilitated?

Now, we're all used to hypocrisy in politics. We see it all the time, especially with the Harper Conservatives. But this is a question that needs to be asked: As a nation, are we willing to step forward and admit that another human's life is worth less than another?

That is the argument that Boisvenu is making. That certain people, prisoners, are less deserving of life than others and we should do what we can to expedite their removal from the realm of the living. It's an argument that has appeared in various ways and various methods since time immemorial, but it is a question that Canadians haven't really addressed.

Actually, nevermind, we have addressed it. Canada had a reputation as peacemakers and deal brokers, if only because of our belief in the sanctity of human life and the need to defend it. We did not stop to question whether we should protect Muslims from ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, we simply rushed to defend them because it was the right thing to do.

Yes, prisoners have made mistakes and they have committed actions that have negatively affected others. But, they are still a human being. Committing a crime does not change that, or make them subhuman. By suggesting that we should literally 'string them up', provided that it is their choice, Boisvenu is admitting a thought process that we know Conservatives have but try to keep secret: That some human lives are worth less than others.

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