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Conservatives turn into nanny-state advocates on issues of morality.

With regards to the “brouhahah” some on the conservative right are having over Dr. Henry Morgentaler being awarded the Order of Canada, I find it extremely interesting that a lot of these conservatives are the same types decrying that the government or the state impose too many regulations on Canadians; that we are home to the nanny-state, and that there is too much government intrusion in our lives.

As an example, remember the child-care program that former PM Paul Martin and the federal Liberals brought in? According to the Conservatives and their allies, that was the oppressive federal government dictating to Canadian families what they should do for child-care; that they were being deprived of the freedom of personal choice.

When it comes to issues of morality however, these supposed conservative libertarians turn absolutely hostile and show they are no libertarians at all – or at least hypocritical ones. Remember when then-Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau brought in reforms to the Criminal Code that among other things decriminalized homosexual acts in private and declared that the state had no business being in the bedrooms of the nation, and what was done in private between consenting adults should have nothing to do it the Criminal Code? That’s about as libertarian an act and a statement as one can be, yet that would be the start of the right-wing’s hatred of Trudeau – that somehow in this case, the state needed to regulate this. We have seen that continue on with them right through to the present with gay marriage being legalized.

The abortion issue in Canada is another moral issue where “right and wrong” has been left up to the people involved who face this tough choice to decide what is ethical and what isn’t. The Supreme Court has ruled it is their choice to decide what they will do – not the state’s. Yet here again, the conservatives and supposed libertarians would impose their beliefs on the majority of Canadians (91% of Canadians in a recent poll believe abortion should be legal in some form, only 5% of Canadians want an outright ban). Those arguments that Conservatives use about the nanny-state and government interference in our lives are all but forgotten.

To be clear, my position on abortion isn’t why I’ve made this statement: I’m a practising Christian who has struggled with this issue trying to balance my religious beliefs with my political beliefs of liberalism. I’m probably classified as one of the 19% of Canadians recently polled who think abortion should be legal with some sort of restrictions. The reason for this blogpost is what I perceive to be the utter hypocrisy of the conservative right-wing on this vis-a-vis not letting government control people’s lives and taking away their choice. On issues of “morality”, they’ve thrown those beliefs right out the window and they would have no qualms of bringing the whole force of the state down on “evil” doctors and “misguided and confused” women.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, I have no objection to Dr. Henry Morgentaler receiving the Order of Canada. He is not the only “divisive figure” to have received this award, and he’s not even a convicted criminal (Conrad Black, anyone?). He has as much right to receiving this award as anyone else on the list, or past recipients.

UPDATE: I should be clear that I’m not saying all libertarians are hypocrites. John Murney is an example of someone who is very consistent in his libertarian views across the board. He supports the right of a woman to make her own choice and that the state keep out of matters. My issue is with conservatives and Conservatives who profess to be libertarians on such matters and then talk out of the other side of their mouth on issues like abortion.

Can Pierre Poilievre, Part 2

Apparently, Pierre was even feeling heat from some of his own Conservative colleagues for his stupid remarks yesterday:

CTV parliamentary correspondent Roger Smith said many Conservatives are also angry at Poilievre. “Certainly the content of what he said is very debatable, his timing was not very good at all,” said Smith.

I have no doubt whether or not Pierre was speaking on his own and inadvertently let slip out what the Conservatives REALLY think of the First Nations peoples (note that he said in his comments yesterday that ‘some of us are starting to ask are we really getting value for all of this money and is more money really going to solve the problem?’. Who was he referring to there, as Liberal Anita Neville rightly wondered.), or else he just went off message on his Cons. talking points, the Prime Minister’s Office probably wasn’t very happy with him spoiling their apology yesterday and making them look rather insincere.

I also have no doubt that led to a stern talking-to and was why Pierre rose today and made a Member’s Statement where he apologized for his remarks. I don’t have the context of what he said yet; I’ll be taking a look at Hansard or seeing if others have found it.

That isn’t enough for the Liberals, who are demanding Pierre be removed/fired from his Parliamentary Secretary position for the “intolerant remarks”, and insults toward the residential school survivors. Rightfully so. Harper however will probably claim that the apology is all that is warranted, which is his SOP when one of his MP’s or Cabinet ministers gets into hot water.

[email protected]:15pm: How predictable of Harper:

“The opposition called on Harper to dismiss the parliamentary secretary to the Treasury Board president, saying the comments were shocking and offensive on a historic day meant to engender a more respectful relationship between aboriginal Canadians and the government. Harper rejected the call, but said the remarks were wrong. “As all members of the House know, the parliamentary secretary has apologized for remarks that were wrong. I know that he has also forthwith contacted national aboriginal associations to indicate that,” Harper said.

(H/T Cam, who is now saying that he regrets giving Harper the benefit of the doubt yesterday in being sincere with his apology)

The Cons don’t even know how to do an apology correctly. Pipsqueak Pierre needs to be punished.

You know,  I WAS going to say that the apology Stephen Harper delivered today to the First Nations people was a nice and long overdue gesture, but it sure would be nicer if the Conservatives matched their words with actions – something this government hasn’t done, or rather it’s done actions in the negative -  as with the scrapping of the Kelowna Accord.

This evening however,  one of the Cons. knuckle-draggers, Pierre Poilievre, decided to show in an interview that really, deep deep down, the Cons. think the natives are just ripping the taxpayers off, even those who endured the years of abuse and mistreatment in the residential schools:

“That gets to the heart of the problem on these reserves where there is too much power concentrated in the hands of the leadership, and it makes you wonder where all of this money is going. We spend $10 billion dollars – $10 billion dollars – in annual spending this year alone … now, that is an exceptional amount of money, and that is on top of all the resource revenue that goes to reserves that sit on petroleum products or sit on uranium mines or other things where companies have to pay them royalties and that’s on top of all that money that they earn on their own reserves. That is an incredible amount of money. Now along with this apology comes another $4 billion in compensation for those who partook in the residential schools over those years. Now, you know, some of us are starting to ask, ‘Are we really getting value for all of this money, and is more money really going to solve the problem?’ My view is that we need to engender the values of hard work and independence and self reliance. That’s the solution in the long run – more money will not solve it.”

The First Nations did not “partake” in the residential schools program. Partake is a synonym for sharing or participating in something, and the Natives certainly did no such thing.  And, Pierre, that money is compensation for their ill treatment. What in the world does “getting value for all this money” have to do with anything?  This looked like a nudge-nudge-wink-wink speech aimed at the likes of the SDA crowd, to reassure them that yea, we think that money going to the natives is a waste.

You wanna know what Pierre’s speech is the equivalent of?

This:

That’s basically what Pierre is giving to the First Nations, on the day of what was supposed to be a historic apology for years and years of mistreatment, neglect, abuse, and attempted assimilation of a culture.

I agree with Cam (who has First Nations in his ancestry and is a lot more irate in his blogpost about this); If Harper and his Cons. want to show they are really sincere in their apology – they will discipline Poilievre.

(H/T Kady O’Malley for catching this idiocy of Pierre’s)

Canadian’s aren’t buying the snake oil you’re trying to sell, Harper

It appears the Cons. vaunted messaging isn’t getting across to Canadians, or they’re not as naive as Harper and the Cons. thought they were:

The Harper government is having a hard time convincing Canadians that it is different from Liberal predecessors when it comes to managing the public purse, market research conducted for Ottawa shows…A consulting firm hired by the Treasury Board conducted 14 focus groups in nine Canadian cities last fall to test marketing messages for the Harper government’s “new approach” to managing federal spending. The reaction was poor…The firm told Ottawa that receptiveness to messages about how the federal government is managing money hadn’t improved over last year, […]

Journamalism, Part 2

I’m going to borrow Pogge’s phrase here used to describe what he thinks (and is correct in thinking) is bad or inaccurate reporting on some of our Canadian media and point it at the journalists/pundits in another fashion. In this instance, I’m taking aim at the pundits and journalists who months ago ridiculed Stephane Dion and the Liberals for abstaining on the Throne Speech last October and claimed it was done because the Liberals/Dion were weak, or had no principles, etc. I’m not blaming them for being critical of the Liberals abstaining – I wanted the Liberals to pull the plug back then too – but what I’m taking issue […]

Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

After all this bluster about being prepared to declare accepting the Manley Report as a confidence measure in his government, we find out that the actual motion itself won’t be voted on till March, which will be after the Budget, a Budget it appears the Liberals are willing to defeat.

It appears all of this bluster on making this Manley Report into a confidence motion was just designed to make Harper look “tough” , when it won’t even likely be the cause of the Government defeat in the House. I would go further and say the fact that the Conservatives are holding the vote before Harper even gets to the […]

Bring it on, Harper (and let’s go, Liberal caucus)

Funny, I was just hearing in the news last week that Harper didn’t want to fall on Afghanistan or go to an election on it. Now all of a sudden, he’s threatening to turn this (a non-money, non-supply motion, if true) into a motion of confidence and telling Dion he will cause an election over it?

I see Dion is repeating his stance tonight to the media after his meeting with Harper that the combat mission must end in 2009, and that isn’t changing. I say bravo to him, and I also urge him to call Harper’s bluff – if he wants an election over this, I say bring it […]

On being too clever by half.

Ok, maybe it’s just my biased self thinking this, but it appears those of a more objective nature are thinking the same thing, if not outright saying it: I think the strategy to bring Health Minister Tony Clement in after Linda Keen testified about the circumstances of her firing from the Nuclear Safety Board totally backfired.

Keen was as sharp as a tack and very knowledgeable with her replies, while Clement just droned on the same tired-out and overused line the Conservatives have used about “needing to save lives” and looked clueless when cross-examined by the Opposition. I think this is a case of some PMO Conservative strategists concocting up […]

Elizabeth May guestblogs on the Linda Keen/Gary Lunn nuclear fiasco at Scott’s Diatribes.

(Foreword: There have been many comments on the blogs over the firing of Linda Keen in the middle of the night and the circumstances surrounding it. One of those was from Chris Tindal, Green Party blogger and candidate who I met at the Progressive Blogger BBQ in Toronto last August. I casually asked Chris out of the blue if Green Party leader Elizabeth May would like to express an opinion on the Keen firing and how Gary Lunn and Harper have handled the situation in an op-ed on a blog. A day later, Ms. May contacted me and was pleased to do so, so my thanks to Chris for arranging […]

Trying to change the channel.

There has been some discussion lately on what Stephane Dion said or didn’t say about what we should be doing with regards to Pakistan in the fight against terrorism. The interpretation of this has been jumped on by the Conservatives and their Blogging Tory supporters, led of course by their leader, Stephen Taylor, which has caused some bloggers on the Liberal/Progressive side to go after Taylor, as well as wasting time trying to defend Dion for what he said or didn’t say.

As I argued at the one site, this is actually nothing more then the Conservative government’s attempts to change the channel on both Helena Guergis’s breach of security […]

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