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No surprises from Harper.

Harper came out in Part 2 of his interview with Peter Mansbridge of the CBC saying he personally prefers the death penalty in some cases, but he wouldn’t make it an issue even if he won a majority government.

Some folks seem to be surprised by the admission, but I’d have been more surprised if he had come out and said that he wasn’t. I’ve assumed all along he’s been in favour of the death penalty, since he and his Conservative government tried to end the long-standing Liberal and Progressive Conservative policies of asking for clemency for Canadians sentenced to death in other countries (which was halted when the Supreme Court ruled against them).

The bigger issue is the 2nd part, where he claimed he wouldn’t make this into official government policy to re-introduce it if he won a majority. He might not “officially” make it into a government bill, but the question is whether he’d allow a Conservative private members bill to proceed, and give it a “wink-wink, nudge-nudge”, as he and his government tried to do with the long-gun registry private members bill from a Conservative MP (and they didn’t hide their “unofficial” support very well, I might add).

There would be no doubt even on a free vote that most of the Conservative caucus would support going back to the death penalty – whipping the vote openly or behind closed doors wouldn’t even be necessary. If Mansbridge did a follow-up question about that, I missed it. It should have been asked of Harper if it wasn’t.

27 comments to No surprises from Harper.

  • Earl G.

    If Harper gets a majority government, he will immediately pass legislation to institute the death penalty, criminalize abortion, ban female employment, institute a mandatory 5-child per family policy, ban gay marriage, deport all gays to Baffin Island concentration camps, begin clear-cutting Algonquin Park and draining all lakes to sell the water to Americans, order martial law in all cities, start wearing priest robes to work, order all Muslims whipped and deported, and assign Mein Kampf as mandatory reading in Grade 1.

    The funny thing is that the morons that comment on this site were probably nodding their heads in agreement while reading that.

    • Jon Pertwee

      @Earl G., ha ha so funny. You and ridofbrain should trade joke books. Oh wait they’re the same.

      How’s the tea cosy Earl?

  • marie

    If your so smart wilson can you answer this question? Has anyone logged unto the Conservative sight recently and clicked on leader to find these names? Stephen Harper and right beneath it Laureen Harper? In actality, the only reason SH is so popular is because of Laureen.

    Now strut your stuff Wison. I am anxious to read your retort of exxagerations and lies.

    • Redrum

      @marie, I don’t think Wilson will be coming out to play, today. He’s feeling a little… deflated.

      www + .indyprops.com/pp-wilson1.jpg

  • Gayle

    I really do not know why people discuss capital punishment as though the government has any say in it anymore. The SCC has already held that capital punishment violates the Charter. Any political debate would be moot. This issue is over.

    • Redrum

      @Gayle, Interesting, and largely borne out by:

      www + .law.ualberta.ca/centres/ccs/issues/section7maryniukextradition.php

      and http + ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Burns

      Odd that Harper didn’t think to mention that during the interview to circumvent this whole contretemps, as being something too unworkable to try to overturn (as he did on the full-fledged Senate overhaul not being in the cards due to the whole Constitutional can of worms).

      Could be because this particular decision was criticized as ‘Legislating from the Bench,’ or because they hate the Charter, to begin with, but learned from the Fantino debacle not to say that to anyone but the initiates, and rather than concede defeat on that, they still want to pursue a ‘notwithstanding’ gambit, or even go ahead and challenge it head on some day in the SCC, since this decision concerned extradition rather than a domestically imposed death sentence.

      Or maybe they just want to keep mum about that whole SCC & Charter problem altogether and let the base think it’s still a live possibility, so that they can continue to fundraise on it.

      Either way, thanks for bringing this up, Gayle.

  • The ‘hidden agenda’ is incrementalism. The political philosophy isn’t hidden.

    The biggest thing he’s done is to deliberately cripple’s Ottawa’s financial status. $220 billion so far in revenue lost to tax cuts funded by nearly $200 billion in debt. Actual stimulus spending is only a small part of that. This is a manufactured crisis. Even when the economy was good, Harper slashed revenue while raising spending to unprecedented levels. A structural deficit was already in place before the economy tanked.

    This is a classic Republican move. Screw the finances, keep cutting taxes (corporate tax cuts), and cry ‘poverty’ and ‘austerity’ while slashing spending, outside of areas such as the military and prisons.

  • wilson

    Zorpheous,
    Ignatieff allowed the largest deficit in Canadian history that kept Harper in power.
    Ignatieff didn’t want the job.

    Liberals voted for the budget, deficits running until 2015, and all.
    Liberals also voted for corporate tax cuts thru to 15%.

    Both votes were long term huge committments Liberal MPs made to Canadians,
    and now they are turning their backs on both of these decisions.

    • Redrum

      @wilson, no worries: the Libs will just use the “They made us do it” defense you so valiantly tried to use for Harper, ’til he decided he didn’t need it — or you — anymore.

  • Beerbob

    I always thought that the “hidden agenda” was a silly concept. It’s not particularly hidden, as far as the Reformers are concerned. Just check out the National Citizen’s Coalition Web site. The organization was started by a wealthy insurance magnate for the express purpose of killing Medicare before it got started back in the sixties. They’ve got convenient talking points laid out so you can donate money to fight for whatever little bit of Con ideology you like, although attempts to find out about how the finances of the organization work, have run into resistance. There are rumblings that the NCC accepts funds from foreign nationals who want to push our politics to the right. I also figure that the Conservative Party itself probably has no problem collecting money within Canada. I would imagine the they just have to make a few phone calls.

  • Redrum

    I don’t know, Scott. You raise a valid point: yes, Harper should be asked (in the election debate, if nothing else), whether he promises not to let a CPC enter a PMB on Capital Punishment &/or promises not to whip the vote if a PMB DOES arrive on this, after the next election, in the 41st Canadian Parliament.

    But I don’t think the material from this interview should be used as fodder for another hidden agenda issue to dissuade swing voters.

    Rather, I think it should be directed at the ‘Waiting for Godot’ social conservatives, that they should stay home at the next election and stop donating to the CPC, ‘cuz they’ve just been leading them down the garden path: they’ve finally admitted they’re NOT going to do anything about a whole bunch of pet causes they’ve been dangling in front of their base for years.

    Let’s do a little divide & conquer on them:

    -they’re NOT & WON’T BE doing anything major on a number of social conservative fronts (apart from cutting funding to nonprofit groups, that is), domestically: so don’t support them if that’s what you want: you’re just throwing away your money & your vote to a bunch of two-faced cynics.

    – and they’ve already shown in spades that they can’t be trusted to be FISCAL conservatives, either, because even though they cut taxes, they increase rather than decrease discretionary spending in order to get votes, so they’re just compounding the debt and off-loading the problem to the future.

    – and even though they’re trying to govern pragmatically from the centre, they’re not very competent at it: they’ve bungled a number of files, made a number of flip-flops and sent out mixed signals, which has hurt our standing with the international and business communities.

    • wilson

      You make all points thru a Liberal lense. Not what I see.
      – on social conservative fronts, how did that Liberal abortion motion go for yah?
      – fiscal conservatives, the alternative is a Liberal promise to increase corporate taxes, raising the GST ‘not off the table’, with the ‘father of the Liberal carbon tax’ leading the party, and $6 Billion in new social spending as their 2011 election platform
      – international and business communities, seriously, this is the CPC strong suit, about to sign with the EU, the biggest freetrade deal since NAFTA, Canada is where it is at to invest.
      If you mean the UAE and Iran are ticked, well….

      • Redrum

        @wilson, You still here? Tell you what, let’s split the difference: you divide, we’ll conquer.

      • TofKW

        @wilson, The Harper Government …fiscal conservatives? HA HA HA HA!!!!

        The most bloated bureaucracy ever, with the biggest deficit in Canadian history & you seriously call them fiscal conservatives. Harper makes the NDP look good. How exactly is borrow and spend better than tax & spend? Also – as pointed out to your lies in another thread – Harper took ownership of the EAP in the Mansbridge interview, so there goes your talking point of blaming the Liberals for forcing Harper into deficit.

        Also, the Grits will not increase corp taxes, they are in favour of lowering them …just not now. Not when we’ve got a $60 billion deficit. They want to keep the corp tax level as is for now, since it is already the lowest of the G7 nations.

        Raising the GST? Never been said except out of context once during a hypothetical question. However I think it should be raised …hell to 17% if I could do it. With a corresponding deep cut in personal income taxes. Taxing consumption is good, taxing people who work more/harder is stupid.

        Also the EU trade talks were initiated by Paul Martin – like all of Canada’s solid economic policies that Harper takes credit for.

        Any more lies you want me to methodically dissect for you wilson?

  • wilson

    Clifford Olsen, Paul Bernardo, Robert Picton, Russell Williams
    rare exceptions where I, very much against the death penalty, would accept.

    Polled in March 2010, Canadians are split on the death penalty, 46% against vs 40% for and the rest just aren’t opinionated.
    Do Liberals really want to drive such a divisive issue onto the national agenda and have to whip their MPs, again, or have another vote that ended up like the abortion vote?

    • Redrum

      @wilson, gee, now that you’re piping up about it & trying to run interference, again, which usually bespeaks nervousness, hmm, maybe we SHOULD raise it, then.

      But I’m still waiting for your answer to my q. to you about the EAP stimulus yesterday: who was lying, you or Harper, about it being him being forced to do it vs. it being his choice because it was the right thing to do?

      Either way, your credibility & utility as a faithful conbot are severely diminished.

      • wilson

        If Liberals want to play their hidden agenda card long before the election campaign has even started, go for it.
        Chretien/Martin saved it for the last 10 days of the election campaign, so as divisions in the LPC had no time to surface.

        Liberals said they forced PMSH into the stimulus spending, I agreed.
        Now liberals want to take credit for ‘the biggest deficit in Canadian history’.
        Knock yourself out, but you can’t have it both ways.

        During the October election campaign, ALL parties campaigned on not going into deficit.
        No party campaigned on bringing in or not bringing in $30 Billion in stimulus spending.

        Did yah ever think that perhaps Flaherty/PMSH wanted the Libs to ‘force’ stimulus spending?
        Why else were their 3, not one, but 3 poison pills in the economic update?

        • @wilson, So, you’re saying that Harper allowed the largest deficit in Canadian history so he can stay in power?

        • Redrum

          @wilson, blah, blah, blah: No, YOU can’t have it both ways: you can’t keep insisting that the PM is a hard-core fiscal conservative at heart, since he himself has declared before the nation that he now sees that there are times when the government must inject money into the economy to prevent a disastrous loss of jobs. Which doesn’t mean that he made the correct injections, whether in amounts, purposes, or locations, but DOES mean that you can’t keep pretending that “The Opposition Made Him Do It,” since he’s clarified that he did it of his own volition because it was the right thing to do (but I’ll bet the Opp. made him do it a few months earlier than he would have, otherwise).

          So the fact that you were off-message yesterday means you’re not really plugged in — i.e., not working for the Party — like Stephen Taylor. You’re just a wannabe. Which is your right, of course, but it just means even your fellow conbots have to take you with a grain of salt, now.

  • Kring: that’s a ridiculous argument, not worthy of an answer… We’re talking about one specific issue here…

    Here’s what I posted over at Blast Furnace (and this is all a very clear sign of the real Harper. Where’s the media on this? Last election, he practically had to BEG his people to “shut up” until they get their majority. How much more obvious could a stiffled agenda be – let’s not call it hidden):

    The death penalty – or any other form of State-sanctioned murder – are NOT about what the public wants, Anon #1 (I’ll agree with you on that), BUT they are all about human rights. The death penalty is a basic violation of the Universal Human Rights Declaration – something we give China much grief about.

    Sure, we’d love to see Bernardo suffer (and I’m sure his fellow inmates are doing that, or will, given the opportunity – and much more likely than if he got the easy way out of his miserable life). There is also a faint hope that he will reform, or at the very least show some genuine remorse. We reform a huge percentage of our prison populations, with a low recidivism rate.

    Your arguments “for” the death penalty seem to brush over the ultimate punishment often (and I do mean OFTEN) given to completely innocent people. How can you justify that? I mean given both situations, the person incarcerated for life still suffers – most likely more than the one who gets the easy way out (death penalty), gets to watch his friends and family suffer, etc., etc. The alternative scenario is the state-sanctioned murder of someone who is completely innocent – as is understood to be the case in 25-30% of US death sentences.

    Oh… I’m not a Dem, and I will criticize their right of center movement with not doing a lot of things correctly. Obama needs to act on the death penalty, as he does with the gun issue – but unfortunately both issues are NRA/Religious nutbar love-children which would result in hard political times for anyone who tries.

    As Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”. It’s true.

    • Larry

      “The death penalty – or any other form of State-sanctioned murder – are NOT about what the public wants…”

      Pretty hypocritical statement considering the Liberal stance on abortion. Defend a criminal but not a helpless innocent fetus.

      • Redrum

        @Larry, Huh? Where’s the inconsistency, where WesternGrit appeared to be asserting that capital punishment violates human rights, which he might very well believe only apply to full-fledged persons, while on the abortion q., many Liberals believe with Libertarians like Ayn Rand that,

        “An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).”

        And, so what’s the Harper Govt’s position on abortion, then? The same as the Liberals, it would appear, because as Harper said, they have no intention of trying to change the law on it.

  • You can just bet that the CPC will introduce this as a private members bill, of course they will wait for an appropriate crime that will stir the hearts of the great unwashed and win or lose, it will be a wedge issue to bash the opposition.

    Hey, I’m all for the Death Penalty, it brings us one step closer to Islamic Extremists Nations,… Nothing like building bridges, eh?

  • I really do not think the Canadian people want Capital Punishment back. When does an eye for an eye work? Hanging those people back then, was no different than killing the killer..does that make sens?, The law would be doing the same thing as the killer…. “Eye for an Eye”, which I do not agree with.

  • Kring

    So when Chretien said he’d eliminate the GST but didn’t, was that a “hidden agenda” revealed? Or was it a lie? When millions of dollars of tax-payer’s money was discovered stolen and being siphoned off to the Liberal party from the Sponsorhship file, was that a “hidden agenda” revealed? Or was it theft ?

    After five years of this government being in power, I REALLY hope you guys try to bring up “hidden agenda” AGAIN in the next election. That would be fun. 🙂

  • The mantra so often used in the late 1990s — Marshall, Milgaard, Morin — still weighs heavily on a lot of Canadians who now realize it is very possible for an innocent person to be executed, as Wilbert Coffin was.

    My main concern isn’t so much the slyness of what Harper said or how he said it, but what this reveals to what so many of us have suspected for so long — that the Cons do have a secret agenda and this is the first layer of the proverbial onion to be peeled.

  • While most of the Conservative caucus may support it, even in a majority government, that might not be enough to make a majority in the House needed for such a bill.

    If the Conservatives do form a majority, many of their additional MPs would come from places when capital punishment isn’t popular.

    Besides, the Supreme Court would likely strike it down, as they did with the clemency issue.

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