Steelcitygrit [in exile]

Ruminating on all things Canadian and political.

 

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

And so it begins...

If you missed Saskatchewan MP Maurice Vellacott's comments on the weekend, the story is here.

Thus begins two phenomena that are to guide our next political year. Firstly will be Harper's failure to rein in his party's crazies. Secondly, Vellacott has fired his government's warning shots across the bow of liberal democracy (and a division of powers, specifically).

The quote is as follows:
"...when [judges] step into [a judicial activist] role, all of a sudden there's some mystical kind of power that comes over them by which everything they ever decreed is not to be questioned and they actually have these discerning and almost prophetic abilities to be able to come and know the mind of the public and they take on almost these godlike powers.”

Any good Reformer understands that there is room for only one supreme deity in government, and He resides in the legislature.

He has subsequently felt the backside slap of the PMO paddle and apologized. Have no fear though - he can't be finished yet. Vellacot has been quietly eroding his legitimacy for years now. Here are some other Vellacot gems:

- He defended the policemen charged for dragging an Aboriginal man into the country and leaving him to die. I would expand on this further, but the story has been picked up by the news media so I will leave it to them.

- When the Calgary Herald published an abortion editorial entitled "Choice, yes, within reason" in February, he shouted his appreciation from the mountain tops. The editorial decried Canadian abortion law (or lack thereof) as being radically and dangerously liberal, and wonders why "Canadians cannot create a moderate, well-conceived law." He deplores the current state of affairs, in which women are allowed to choose an abortion without fully understanding just how wicked, sinful, and damaging the act can be.

- He has insinuated in House of Commons debate that it is "goofy" to consider Same Sex Marriage a human right. Fine - most or all Conservatives would agree with him. But he pushed the rights argument further, actually insinuated that allowing SSM would violate articles 3 and 7 of the UN conventions on the Rights of the Child.

Hey David Sweet - your compatriot is facing some pretty steep criticism here. Perhaps it's time for you to weigh in?

- Mike (SCG)

8 Comments:

Blogger Zac said...

I hope Sweet jumps on board...

I think Myron Thompson will break his leash next though.

Either way, the social conservatives are coming out of thier shell now.

It can't be too long until Harper is running around like Preston Manning trying to shut them all up.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous CuriositykilledTheCat said...

Want to know Harper's long range plan for Canada? Read his speeches. Note his emphasis on "baby steps" (incrementalism) – his plan reflects his conservative agenda - his views of conservatives and their mission regarding moral values and their role in politics. Note the words he uses with regard to Canada's role in the world: we have to use "hard power" ....

Let Harper speak for himself.

In an article headed Rediscovering The Right Agenda, published only 3 years ago (remember Harper saying he has stayed true to his core? This is his core), in June 2003 (see website of Christian Coalition International Canada (Inc.) www.ccicinc.org, Harper makes these points:

• conservatives are in a fight against liberalism;

• the non-conservatives have descended into "nihilism" due to their support of moral relativism;

• conservatives have to ensure a return of our society to conservative values, including clear right and wrong answers to ethical and political questions;

• conservatives are under attack by liberalism, which some tribunals such as rights agencies, have as their aim "the actual banning of conservative views";

• conservatives must bring in more and deeper tax cuts, and eliminate corporate subsidies and industrial-development schemes (take that, Maritimers!);

• conservatives in Canada must put "hard power" (troops) behind the moral right of our society in its clash with those other societies whose values differ from ours and who are our enemies;

• clear right and wrong answers have a place in protecting the family;

• conservatives must give greater place to social conservatism in politics.

Are these summaries of his ideology correct? Read the article yourself, and read some of these extracts:

• What is the challenger per Harper?

"The real challenge is therefore not economic, but the social agenda of the modern Left. Its system of moral relativism, moral neutrality and moral equivalency is beginning to dominate its intellectual debate and public-policy objectives."

• Why are liberals wrong, per Harper?

"This descent into nihilism should not be surprising because moral relativism simply cannot be sustained as a guiding philosophy. It leads to silliness such as moral neutrality on the use of marijuana or harder drugs mixed with its random moral crusades on tobacco. It explains the lack of moral censure on personal foibles of all kinds, extenuating even criminal behaviour with moral outrage at bourgeois society, which is then tangentially blamed for deviant behaviour. On the moral standing of the person, it leads to views ranging from radical responsibility-free individualism, to tribalism in the form of group rights."

• Where is this headed, per Harper (and what do you think this view means with regard to appointments to tribunals, use of notwithstanding clause, appointment of judges etc)?

"The logical end of this thinking is the actual banning of conservative views, which some legislators and "rights" commissions openly contemplate."

• Are we in for deeper tax cuts, ala Bush – per Harper?

"There is, of course, much more to be done in economic policy. We do need deeper and broader tax cuts, further reductions in debt, further deregulation and privatization, and especially the elimination of corporate subsidies and industrial-development schemes. In large measure, however, the public arguments for doing so have already been won. Conservatives have to more than modern liberals in a hurry."

• Where is the battleground (and what does this mean will preoccupy a Harper majority government)?

"The truth of the matter is that the real agenda and the defining issues have shifted from economic issues to social values, so conservatives must do the same."

• What steps must conservatives take regarding protecting the family, per Harper?

"This same argument applies equally to a range of issues involving the family (all omitted from the Throne Speech), such as banning child pornography, raising the age of sexual consent, providing choice in education and strengthening the institution of marriage. All of these items are key to a conservative agenda."

• How about moral questions in our foreign affairs?

"... the emerging debates on foreign affairs should be fought on moral grounds. Current challenges in dealing with terrorism and its sponsors, as well as the emerging debate on the goals of the U.S. as the sole superpower, will be well served by conservative insights on preserving historic values and moral insights on right and wrong."

And:

"Conservatives must take the moral stand, with our allies, in favour of the fundamental values of our society, including democracy, free enterprise and individual freedom. This moral stand should not just give us the right to stand with our allies, but the duty to do so and the responsibility to put "hard power" behind our international commitments."

• How important are "baby steps" (incrementalism) in achieving these conservative values, per Harper (and what does this forecast for the way in which Harper will govern)?

"Rebalancing the conservative agenda will require careful political judgment. First, the issues must be chosen carefully....Second, we must realize that real gains are inevitably incremental... conservatives should be satisfied if the agenda is moving in the right direction, even if slowly."

• Can conservatives attract Liberals, per Harper (what about Quebeckers?)?

"Many traditional Liberal voters, especially those from key ethnic and immigrant communities, will be attracted to a party with strong traditional views of values and family. This is similar to the phenomenon of the "Reagan Democrats" in the United States, who were so important in the development of that conservative coalition."

Welcome to this conservative revolutionary, whose heroes are Bush, Reagan, Thatcher, Frank Luntz ....

3:34 PM  
Blogger Dennis said...

This is interesting. If Harper doesn't "reign in the crazies", then there is something wrong with the Conservatives. Yet when he does reign them in, he is muzzling his team. So which is it going to be?

The fact is, every Party has their share of nutbars. Do you seriously believe that the Liberals are immune or that they have never muzzled anyone?

3:51 PM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

Thanks for the post Curiosity - very sweet.
Dennis - There's no conflict in what I or other Liberals have said. Muzzling government is reprehensible. There is something wrong with the Conservative party when it isn't muzzled. That's not a criticism of Harper's failure to muzzle. The criticism is of the crazies themselves, and what they have said. He shouldn't censor his crazies, but neither should they be in government.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

HarperSpeak:

Let's examine Harper's speech for clues to what his government – if it won a majority – might do with respect to "protecting the family" and stopping or reducing abortions (that is, taking away or impeding a woman's right to choose).

Let Harper speak for himself.

In an article headed Rediscovering The Right Agenda, published only 3 years ago (remember Harper saying he has stayed true to his core? This is his core), in June 2003 (see website of Christian Coalition International Canada (Inc.) www.ccicinc.org, Harper makes these points:

• What steps must conservatives take regarding protecting the family, per Harper?

"This same argument applies equally to a range of issues involving the family (all omitted from the Throne Speech), such as banning child pornography, raising the age of sexual consent, providing choice in education and strengthening the institution of marriage. All of these items are key to a conservative agenda."

Let's examine such steps to protect the family, using the story in today's newspapers about Merrifield's views that women contemplating abortion should first be required to seek counselling, as they know not what they do, and Harper's quoted response.

We have all learned by now that one has to parse Harper's statements very carefully.

So, let's look at the comment quoted in one article:

"Views held by party members, he added, do not necessarily reflect Conservative policy.
"I've been very clear," he said. "A Conservative government in its first term led by me will not be bringing in abortion legislation or sponsoring an abortion referendum."

IN. ITS. FIRST. TERM.

There, now you have it. Do not be surprised if Harper, having won a majority, rams through anti-abortion laws.

He is on record saying he will only not do it "in its first term".

Wonder if he will be honest and transparent and tell Canadians if he will not do it IN ITS SECOND TERM?

Fat chance he will say that.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Yes the true tragedy is that somehow conservatives and apparently slow witted bloggers have managed to reframe the agenda to one of a few bad apples. If Conservatives admit these people are crazy why do they keep running them? The fact is when Liberals rejoice at such outbursts it is ridiculous to see it as for purely political reasons. No, the whole point is WHAT they are saying. Wake up people.

The Dennis comment, I'm sorry but that is the kind of thing that I wish could be published in national papers to show Canadians what they are dealing with. Wow.

1:34 AM  
Blogger Zac said...

Dennis, the Libs have thier own crazies...Wappel, Szabo et al.

They were actually on the Hill yesterday throwing out rhetoric about abortion.

You didn't see Bill Graham out there playing mother hen bringing them all inside.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

The muzzling thing is but a new complaint. THe original, and more important problem, which we have consistently opposed, is the depth of such extreme views in the party and their closeness to the actual agenda.

10:25 AM  

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