Saturday, November 02, 2013

The Wingnut Base Is Still Firmly In Control

According to CBC, the CPC has passed a swath of policy motions which are clearly designed for the ultra-conservative (theocon) base.

Conservative Party members have passed motions at their biannual convention in Calgary, pledging not to support euthanasia or assisted suicide, and to scale back public sector pension plans. 
The policies don't necessarily become government policy, but tell the party's leadership, including the prime minister, what direction members would like to see. 
The party also adopted policies to:
  • pledge not to support any legislation to legalize euthanasia or assisted suicide.
  • move public sector pensions to defined contribution plans rather than defined benefits, essentially scaling them back and bringing them into line with private sector pensions.
  • reject the concept of legalizing the purchase of sex and develop a plan to target the buyers and third parties who profit off the sex trade.
  • let faith-based organizations refuse the use of their facilities to people holding views contrary to their own.
  • separate the CBC's TV and radio funding allocations.
So, let's go take a closer look at these, shall we?

On "sex-selective abortion", it takes a couple of minutes to find the resolution because the far right have learned that Harper won't touch anything with that word in it.  Here's the resolution:
Canada’s Social Fabric 1-26-157 - EN EDA – Langley
Section K - 70 - Women (MODIFICATION)
The Conservative Party supports the full participation of women in the social, economic, and cultural life of Canada.
i) The Canadian workforce has evolved to include more women than ever. The Conservative Party believes all Canadians have the right to freedom from discrimination in the workplace and equality of opportunity.
ii) Individuals should be only judged on skills, qualifications and merits. Women must be entitled to equal pay for equal work.
iii) The Conservative Party recognizes the value of the caregiver. We will examine measures within the tax system to help offset economic costs without discrimination.
iv) The Conservative Party condemns discrimination against girls through gender selection 
Make no mistake about it, the faux issue of "sex selection" is nothing more than yet another attempt on the part of the Theocon base to open the abortion debate.  Intriguingly, it contains in it a none-too-subtle bit of racism as well.  It is a handful of cultures in the world who are known to engage in such practices, and trying to regulate this aspect of the discussion either involves calling people of those cultures liars when the pursue an abortion to end a pregnancy or it guarantees that they will lie about their motivations in the first place.  (Practically speaking, the motivations for having any medical procedure are between the patient and their doctor - if they even need to go that far)

On prostitution, they basically reworded an existing policy which meant more or less the same thing:

Canada’s Social Fabric – 1-09-194 - EN EDA – Kildonan-St Paul
Section M - 97 – Sexual Exploitation in Canada (MODIFICATION)
i) The Conservative Party rejects the normalization of prostitution and declares that human beings are not objects to be enslaved, bought and sold; and
ii) The Conservative Party will develop a comprehensive strategy to address and prevent the legalization of keeping a common bawdy house, living off the avails of prostitution, and communication for the purpose of prostitution.
i) The Conservative Party rejects the concept of legalizing the purchase of sex;
ii) The Conservative Party declares that human beings are not objects to be enslaved, bought or sold; and
iii) The Conservative Party of Canada shall develop a Canada specific plan to target the purchasers of sex and human trafficking markets through criminalizing the purchase of sex as well as the acts of any third party attempting to profit from the purchase of sex. 
Again, this boils down to nothing more than continuing to criminalize sex work, sex workers and those who engage with them.  Like the "war on drugs", the "war on sex" is a failed strategy.  Prostitution has been around as long as human beings have, possibly longer.  Anybody who thinks that making it illegal (and throwing people in prison) is kidding themselves.

More "red meat" for the base.

Canada’s Social Fabric – 1-21-130 - EN EDA – Saskatoon Humboldt
Section J - Euthanasia (NEW)
63. Euthanasia
The Conservative Party will not support any legislation to legalize euthanasia or assisted suicide.  
How effective.  There's a new issue that needs to be addressed constructively.  I know!  Let's bury our collective heads in the sand.

Euthanasia is not a simple subject, nor would I want anyone to believe that it is.  End of life issues are complex for all involved.  The courts have been clear that the current laws do not effectively address the issues involved.

Canadians need to have a constructive discussion about this subject.  Like the abortion debate, I suspect strongly that it is next to impossible to do so.  Those who have seen the suffering of those who live with long term terminal illness are no doubt far more sympathetic to the desire to have some control over when and how someone leaves this world.  The religious argument is no doubt going to continue to pound on the "every life is sacred" line.

Canada’s Social Fabric – 1-15-159 - EN EDA – Mapleque
Section K - Pensions (NEW)
75. Pensions
The Conservative Party of Canada will include in its policy statement a commitment to bring public sector pensions in-line with Canadian norms by switching to a defined contribution pension model, which includes employer contributions comparable to the private sector. 

Role of Government, Taxation and Crime 2-22-004 - EN EDA – Abbotsford
Section B - 3 – Public Service Excellence (MODIFICATION)
The Conservative Party believes that all Canadians deserve an efficient, effective, and independent professional public service. We believe the government should build upon the whistle-blowing protection legislation to ensure that those who expose corruption and wrongdoing are protected from reprisal. We continue to support any measures which enhance public service effectiveness and accountability.
The Conservative Party believes that Public Service benefits and pensions should be comparable to those available to similar employees in the private sector, and to the extent that they are not, they should be made comparable to such private sector benefits and pensions in future contract negotiations. 
When it comes to the public sector, there is no shortage of hostility.  Aligning with "private sector pensions" is a bit of a joke.  Outside of former crown corporations, I haven't seen a private sector company that offers a pension plan of any sort for decades.  For the most part, they leave it to employees to contribute to RRSP plans and that's about it.

The second motion is the more interesting one, in my opinion.  It points to yet another area where the CPC will attack union workers in the civil service.

Canada’s Social Fabric – 1-13-152 - EN EDA – Souris - Moose Mountain
Section K – Faith Based Organizations (NEW)
75. Faith Based Organizations
The Conservative Party supports the right of faith based organizations to refuse the use of their facilities to individuals or groups holding views which are contrary to the beliefs or standards of the faith based organization without fear of sanctions or harassment and that discrimination based on the beliefs of a faith based organization be excluded from the definition of disallowed discrimination under Human Rights. 
Oh yes.  Let's institutionalize the right of certain groups to deny access to others who aren't "holy" enough.  We haven't seen this before have we?  Oh yes ... the Knights of Columbus issue in BC.

In yet another piece of red meat for the base, someone has decided that they want an "explicit" exemption for religious-based discrimination.  Who is this going to affect the most?  GLBT people, no doubt.  Annoyingly, the wording that is being used here is sufficiently broad that it could easily be stretched into the workplace, with business owners declaring their business a "faith-based organization", and presto, we have the same kind of insane crap that we regularly see in the US on matters ranging from discrimination to health insurance.

Make no mistake about it, the wingnut base is firmly in control of the CPC's policy direction.  They never have gone away or actually moderated.  Early on they were happy enough to comply with Harper's desire to gain power.  Now that they have a majority, the hard liners are once again reasserting their positions - albeit their language is a bit more vague than it once was.

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