Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Trashing We Will Go...Heigh Ho!

I just received the following e-mail:

So Harper would propose an Office of Public Prosecutions to charge politicians involved in scandals. But the procedure is there now, so what do we gain except another bureaucracy?

Presently the Auditor General can refer her/his report to the RCMP to determine if charges can be laid against certain persons named therein - hence, I think, charges against Guite and Brault.

Also, the PM has referred the Gomery Report to th RCMP to determine if further action is required. Possible charges against Chretien and Galiano?

Further, how would Harper deal with a situation where one or more politicians scheme to hide the facts of a programme from their fellow policiticians and hence the public. Until the Auditor General has done the necessary work this scheme would not be uncovered. And, if I guess right, the uncovering of the nefarious scheme is done by sheer good luck sometimes.

Politicans are just like any other twit who gets involved in a criminal activity, they can be charged and have to account for their actions. They cannot always get immunity from their fellows.

The idea of an Office of Public Prosecutions sounds good until you think about it for a minute. Strange people these Conservatives, they would cut government yet in the next breath they want to increase the bureaucracy.


The proposed "Office of Public Prosecutions" that Harper has put forth is lump of window dressing that looks like it fell out of the wrong end of a pigeon. As the author of that e-mail has pointed out, the Auditor General already has the authority to turn a report over to the RCMP for criminal investigation. What Harper has conveniently overlooked is a couple of basic realities of Canada's bureaucracy and legal system.

First, any "office" that is attached to the House of Commons is guaranteed to be politicized. Period. It's an unavoidable reality. No matter how you slice it, such an office has to be held at arms length from the legislative body, otherwise its every act is suspect.

Second, is the fact that we already have the required bodies: The RCMP and the Judiciary are deliberately held at arms length from the legislative components of our government. The reasons for such a distancing are so trivially obvious that I don't think I need to explain the utter irony of Harper's proposition.

I'm not against more accountability in government - goodness knows that former Prime Minister Mulroney's constant lawsuits against any investigation or inquiry into the now infamous Airbus affair leaves me deeply suspicious of how much he is trying to hide. Of course today, nearly 15 years later, the time for any meaningful prosecution of that fiasco is long past. We already have the appropriate mechanisms to chase malfeasance in the public service - another office of enforcement is mere political window dressing - demonstrative of a myopic party.

Strike one plank from the Conservative platform - it's suffering from dry rot before the nails are set in it.

When I got home tonight, I was treated to CBC interviewing both Bishop Henry and then Craig Chandler about Harper's latest gaffe on the subject of SGM.

Both of these nitwits completely missed a few points here. First - bill C-38 did not change the spiritual notion of marriage, only the legal, secular definition. Second, the legislation is quite clear about the issue of the Church's rights in the topic. Yes, there are challenges being raised against some churches on this matter, but the legislation is fairly clear on the matter, and the basic protections around individual religious freedom do serve as safeguards that the church clergy can fall back upon. (and I will not object to those refusals - that's a topic within the Churches themselves, and as long as the clergy doesn't try to make the secular world align with their specific beliefs, I don't much care).

Chandler then proceeded to divert the conversation from the bill C-38 discussion to bill C-250 (the hate crimes amendment), and went off on a tirade about how Christians were being prohibited from speaking their faith. He was quite shrill in his decryal of this "persecution" of Christians. I've pointed out before that personal freedoms are protected, and legitimate theological discussions are similarly protected. What "Christians" like Chandler cannot do is impose their faith upon others. My faith is not Mr. Chandler's faith - he has absolutely no right to judge - and condemn - others to a second tier life because of his faith.

With hardline cases like Bishop Henry and Craig Chandler cheering the CPC leader on, this topic serves as a warning for all who value civil rights and social equality. For these guys, equality is a matter of faith - if you don't match their faith model, you don't deserve to be treated equally.

Strike a second plank from the Conservative platform - this one's sat in swamp water for so long that nails just fall out of it, and when you put weight on it, well, it's rather like my deck last summer.

Next Plank Boys?

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