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Some musings

According to Jeff Sallot in the Globe and Mail today, Canada’s police and security services not only have never used the now-gone sunset clauses, they’ve managed just fine without them:

As it turns out, the powers were never invoked in the past five years. The RCMP report they have quietly disrupted several terrorism plots in that time without ever arresting anyone…If the police and security agencies are correct, they’ve successfully foiled more than a dozen plots without ever resorting to the extraordinary arrest and investigative powers.

Sallot also asserts that the political climate in Canada since 9/11 has changed, and in my view he’s inferring that Harper’s attempts to turn this into an election issue may not be as advantageous as he and the Tories think – indeed.. it may work against him:

..a majority of MPs in the House signalled that they think those fears can no longer justify giving police and the courts extraordinary powers to arrest people and force them to testify in suspected terrorism cases. The political climate in Canada has also changed significantly since 9/11. Opinion polls suggest fears have receded and Canadians are much more skeptical of claims that they, like the Americans, are in the sights of terrorists. A major factor in this shift could be the case of Maher Arar, a victim of the U.S. government’s war on terrorism. Many Canadians are appalled that their allies in Washington deported a Canadian to Syria to face torture.

Ah yes.. the Maher Arar case.. that always pops up still, doesnt it? I dont know whether that is a factor or not, but I’ve always believed that the “tough on crime” campaign will not give Harper significant increases in votes, and I’m skeptical as well that Harper’s Neo-Con Canadian version of “Either you’re with us, or you’re with the terrorists” that Bush and his Republicans like to parrot is going to work up here either. Harper’s continued low road smear assault on the Liberals – he again claimed yesterday that “Dion denigrates the police in this country” is going to turn off a lot more Canadian voters to him and his angry smear/fear Republican/Karl Rove style of politics then they will toward Dion’s championing of human rights. Conservative supporters and partisans on blogs will lap it up like fresh red meat, but you need the moderate centre to win in this country — responding with overheated hyperbole and rhetoric like that all the time doesn’t get you the votes amongst that core of voters.

Finally, Dion had the perfect retort to Harper’s claim that the Liberals weren’t serious about national security and that Canadians would never elect a party that isn’t serious about it: Dion says Canadians also want a Prime Minister that is serious about protecting civil liberties.

“Canadians want somebody, a leader, able to fight terrorism with determination and to be there to protect their rights with determination. … I will fight for my country, for my fellow citizens,” Dion said.

Good strategy that I advise Dion to continue to doing. Keep pointing down south to the smear tactics and statements of Republican politicians and the administration (the loathsome Dick Cheney is always an easy quotation machine in that regard) over the past few months and years that they’ve done in trying to take partisan advantage of 9/11, and show how similar it is what Harper is trying to do now, and ask Canadians, “do we really want that type of politics and those types of policies in Canada?”

My bet is a majority of Canadians do not and will not. From my point of view, I just hope that there is a large enough majority of people out there that think that same view so there isn’t so much vote splitting among the centre and left parties that Harper manages to squeak in again.


1 comment to Some musings

  • janfromthebruce

    I hope that a large number of left parties get elected so that we have a parliament that actually represents all Canadians. The last time there was a liberal majority they acted just like conservatives, in fact, Martin made more cuts that were deeper to social programs and status of women (for example), than Harper has done. And the Liberals campaigned on the exact opposite of that, so please, spare me the liberal majority and they will save the day. I don’t think so.

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