Dead Democracy Walking

It may be naive to assume that democratic governments are extensions of the will of the people, but it is a well hacked expression of the conservative side of the government. The truth is no government actually meets that lofty goal. The Liberals didn’t because on issues related to national unity they followed an agenda of their own. It is quite obvious that no Canadian would agree to the scandalous tactics they employed which inevitably led to their down fall, but the conservatives are now proving to be just as bad. The conservatives know that the issue of the death penalty is one that most Canadians do not want to debate again. Canada abolished the death penalty over 30 years ago and reaffirmed this again in 1987. The truth is, that is social progress, and it is hard to turn back the wheels of time regardless what personal feelings you have in regards to this antiquated practice.

But just how is this an example of the government going against the will of the people. There are two ways I know of for the government to do so, one is to do so by force that is to legislate something the public does not agree to and this usually brings down the government the other is to erode and influence the public to coerce it into believing they have agreed to something they have not. To put it plainly it is to con them into it. So even though the government has to up hold the law that abolishes capital punishment in Canada, there is no law, but only a tradition, that supports the countries objections to allowing a Canadian abroad to be executed. This is one small step to the long walk down death row.

Stephane Dion stated today that by refusing to ask Montana Gov. Schweitzer to commute convicted murderer Ronald Allen Smith’s death sentence and reneging on Canada’s decision to co-sponsor a UN resolution opposing the death penalty, the Tories have changed Canada’s policy “by stealth.”

Are we being conned ? I suspect we are. If this is the Conservative approach to democracy I suspect they have no real idea what democracy is. If you want to change the law do it from the grass roots up not the mighty hand of government down.


7 thoughts on “Dead Democracy Walking

  1. Pingback: Dead Democracy Walking | Political news - democrats republicans socialists greens liberals conservatives

  2. Bill, aren’t you being a little duplicitous in this post? The problem for your current administration isn’t how “they” personally feel about the death penalty.

    The problem is that due to decisions by earlier CA administrations and the collective electorate the current administration can’t guarantee to the governor of Montana that if Smith were to be transferred to a CA prison to fulfill his potential life-term sentence, with Montana authorities have considered in spite of the governor’s personal biases, he wouldn’t subsequently be released by parol under current CA guidelines.

    That potential event would be a slap in the face to Montana, and quite obviously can’t be ruled out by Harper and his folk. THAT imho is the nub of this matter, not sneaky doings by conservatives.

    Nothing in what I’ve said is meant to impugn the collective CA psyche. Regardless of my personal opinion, my feelings on the suitability of the death penalty, the admitted public facts of the instant case nor my personal sense of fair play and/or justice. We can speak of those separately, even though you probably know on which side I’d come down.

    In this case your current government is supporting the will of your people, but not lying about it. Do you expect something else?

    In my view it is you who are trying to sneak your own attitudes into another party’s politicians. Be honest about that, at least, so that constructive dialog can take place.

    As I said, in my view.


  3. 49erdweet- not really the call is not to have him transfered to a Canadian prison but have his sentence commuted to life or multiples of life sentences, something the government of Canada has regularly requested in cases such as this. We no more want this guy back than you want to keep him. We (meaning the people of Canada – a point I will seek to prove below) do not support the death penalty, so we would rather you lock him up till he rots. As for your assessment of the catch and release nature of our legal system you have a point that even a number of liberals would concede to. Note that Harper’s get tough on crime policy hasn’t stirred up many liberals, we may just approach it differently.

    The abolition of the death penalty however was the result of a “free vote” in 1976. The parties each agreed to allow their members to vote their conscience on the issue.

    In reality it wasn’t the liberals that sought the abolition of the death penalty as much as individual parliamentarians Between 1954 and 1963, a private member’s bill (not from any party) was introduced in each parliamentary session calling for abolition of the death penalty.

    In truth there hasn’t been an execution in Canada since 1967 and there have been several conservative governments since that time, plenty of time for them to change it It is highly likely, and polls hold this to be the case, that if voted on again the death penalty would not be reinstated. I argue that the only thing stopping them from doing so is the will of the people. Only a small percentage of conservatives would like to see it back. Even among the conservatives it is not highly popular but those that support it do so vehemently. They are aware that the only way to bring it back is that slow erosion of past parliamentary decisions. To use an American example it is in much the same way the Bush administration is attempting to place political power in the hands of the executive.

    The best way to judge whether an issue in Canada has the support of a party over the support of the people is whether the party brings it to a vote during a minority government. If the party does not bring it forward for a vote during a minority government you can be damn sure they think it does not have enough support to pass because if it fails it is likely to bring on an election. Consequently the first moratorium on the death penalty came during a minority government, which to a degree shows the ruling party did not think it was an issue that would bring on an election.

    I don’t want to sound insulting by making the comparison, but most Canadians would no more like to see the return of the death penalty than Americans see the reinstating of slavery. That is not to say the issues are comparable but that a large number of Canadians find the death penalty as abhorrent as slavery.

  4. Bill, I understand your national attitude towards the death penalty, and do not look for it to be reversed – ever.

    What I am saying, and pardon my mumbling, is that from what I’ve read Montana authorities in the interests of being good neighbors were actually considering a request from your national government [but not on the ministerial level] to transfer the felon in question to a CA prison to complete an alternative life sentence – thus taking him out of the risk of being put to death.

    And they couldn’t follow through because of the “catch and release” parole situation you [collectively] have. That was my point.

    As a conservative I try to see the potential for good in everybody, while still realistically keeping an eye out for their latent ability to create “bad” stuff. I don’t hold for the death penalty for every murderer, but I am convinced I am alive today because Cali had and enforced the death penalty years ago when I was a young cop and an armed burglar hiding in a packing shed saw me searching for him and stashed five loaded hand guns out of his reach when he was discovered. He said he did it on purpose because he knew [in his own words] that “cop killers were executed in San Quentin”, which was true at the time. Do I need anything more? Not to my mind.


  5. Actually the big concern here is that the request has not been made, and actually the opposition has made a request (like a letter from the democrats) to commute his sentence.

    Unless things have changed the Conservatives were refusing to make the request.

    If you have links in regards to this from the Montana side please forward them along.

  6. I watched a news article on CBC the other night on this debate, and It is still at the no official
    request point. That said I was a bit annoyed with CBC, as they chose John McAdams from
    Marquette University to represent the American point of view. While he is an academic of note
    he has a strong pro-Death-Penalty track record. He supports the death penalty while
    acknowledging it is not a deterrent. Also he strongly believes that the American way of
    governing is the absolute best. I don’t criticise him for that but he seems to go to great lengths to
    insult any other form of government. He also has a limited knowledge of the workings
    of a parliamentary form of government. Last night he said that decisions in Canada are made in
    parliament by a political elite. He implied that we do not have political freedom in Canada and
    said he was proud to live in a state where you won’t be arrested for denying the holocaust.
    Personally all he did was convince me that even the extremes of political opinion can be represented in academia. There are a million less emotionally biased pro death penalty representatives out there, why CBC went with this guy seems to be more based on the need to start a fight than the logical representation of that side of the debate. In other words I have heard better spokes persons on this issue. McAdams is also and insulting egotsist.

  7. If the commentator had not cut him off I suspect he would have launched into a full scale anti_Canadian outburst. I wonder if he had such distain for Canada (the lefties of the north) why did he agree to the debate?

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