On Sun News Network this week Brian Lilly lamented the fact that the country has no truly conservative politicians. Not to let that one go, several people e-mailed Mr. Lilly and reminded him that the Freedom Party of Ontario has one of the most fiscally conservative platforms ever heard of in this province. Subsequently Mr. Lilly had the Leader of the Freedom Party on his show and he was forced to rescind his previous notion that a truly fiscal conservative party doesn’t exist.
There is, however another kind of conservatism in Canada, social conservatism. This has come to be embodied in the Conservative Party of Canada under its Leader Stephen Harper. Mr. Harper’s Conservatives are certainly not fiscally conservative judging by their past two terms in power, albeit with a minority. The next five years with a majority I fear will only reinforce the country’s opinion of them as foolhardy tax and spend liberals.
While we can fault them for their overtaxing and overspending we certainly cannot fault them not being socially conservative. Although I wish we could.
This week Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, the same man personally responsible for incarcerating Marc Emery in the United States for selling cannabis seeds to Americans, introduced an Omnibus Crime Bill. Some of the provisions of the crime bill (Bill C-10). I actually support, coming down harder on youths who commit violent crime, increasing jail time for certain offence involving children and ending house-arrest for perpetrators of violent crimes, and allowing terrorism victims to sue terrorists and their supporters. I have often thought that our criminal justice system was soft when it came to sentencing violent criminals.
But there are provisions in this new bill which can only be described as chilling.
I have written before about the nature of conservatism and its desire to control people based on a conservative’s unnatural sense of morality. A morality based primarily on mysticism, religion and superstition. I have previously identified conservatives as being intrinsicists, people who believe that things are bad in and of themselves with little consideration given to reason, or an individual’s right to decide what is good for them without interference from Big Brother.
Part of the Crime Bill calls for draconian prison terms for people who grow cannabis plants. If you have 6 – 200 plants you are to be given an automatic 6-month sentence, with an extra three months if it’s done in a rental property or is deemed a public-safety hazard. If you grow from 201 to 500 plants you get a minimum one year sentence or 1 ½ years if it in a rental or poses a safety risk. The maximum sentence for growing any marijuana at all would double from seven to 14 years.
These sentences are something I might expect coming from Saudi Arabia or Pakistan where individual rights don’t exist and the state dictates what it considers to be moral.
Compare these sentences to the new sentences being proposed for child sex crimes. According to The Province, a British Columbia newspaper, the pot grower who is caught growing 201 pot plants would receive a longer mandatory sentence…
than someone who rapes a toddler or forces a five-year-old to have sex with an animal.
A pedophile who gets a child to watch pornography with him, or a pervert exposing himself to kids at a playground, would receive a minimum 90-day sentence, half the term of a man convicted of growing six pot plants in his own home.
The 14 year maximum sentence for growing pot is…
the same maximum applied to someone using a weapon during a child rape and four years more than for someone sexually assaulting a kid without using a weapon.
The contempt Stephen Harper and his socially conservative Neanderthals have for the pot plant and for the literally millions of Canadians who have or do smoke pot is enormous. Stephen Harper would obviously prefer you rape a child than grow a pot plant. A little harsh you think? I don’t. As we speak Marc Emery has three years to go on a five year prison term in the United States after the Harper government turned him over to the DEA who came to Canada and arrested him on Canadian soil for selling pot seeds, something which is punishable by a only a small fine in this country.
Also in the Crime Bill are provisions which tug at that very fine thread of justice that has protected the innocent from an overpowering state.
The Bill proposes to allow the police to detain terrorism suspects for up to three days without charges. It will also allow judges to jail witnesses who won’t testify about terrorism. Now what can be so bad about these new powers we give to the police and the courts? The problem is that giving the police and courts more power for one cause opens the door to giving them power for any cause. Today you may be jailed for failing to testify what you know about your neighbour’s possible terrorist activities and tomorrow you will be jailed for not testifying about what you know about your neighbour’s pot growing activities. It will only require a slight change of wording in the legislation.
It is a slippery slope Mr. Harper will create when he seeks to curtail our rights no matter how noble he believes the reason to be. Catching terrorists by eroding our right not to be arbitrarily detained by the police or our right not to be compelled to testify only proves that the terrorists are winning with Stephen Harper’s help. If their goal is to destabilize our freedoms and change this country into one they are familiar with, a despotic autocracy and if Prime Minister Harper gives into their demands and strips away our rights and freedoms then he will be hailed as a hero by the terrorists and a villain by peace-loving Canadians.
Originally aired on Just Right #218, September 22, 2011.