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Prematurely celebrating a “nothing” passed resolution.

By now, you’ll have heard the Conservative policy convention in Winnipeg is under virtual lockdown for media and the few non-conservative bloggers there (actually, the TWO non-conservative bloggers there. No word yet from them if any of the Blogging Tory bloggers such as Stephen Taylor are getting privileged access – something I can tell you none of us bloggers got at the 2006 Liberal Convention – Liberal bloggers or not. The policy forums were open to observe however, unlike this Conservative one).

However, there is some word leaking out from behind the iron curtain Convention policy rooms as to what has been debated by the party faithful, thanks to some good work from Dawg.

I noted that resolution P-203 asks the Conservative government to basically get rid of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. According to Dawg’s source, it passed overwhelmingly, which as he said, is not a shock. I thought I’d take a gander over to Freedominion’s site, run by one Connie Fournier – a site that at times makes Small Dead Animals denizens look sane. Connie didn’t go to the Convention because she believe it would be a whole lot of nothing (which I’ll give her credit for in that she appears to be correct), but she and her membership were heavily invested in this P-203 resolution getting passed. The reaction over there at the rather unsurprising news it passed is rather comical.

Great, you got your effort through a policy workshop. It might even pass the full Convention floor tomorrow, if the CPC brass allow it (Read Kady’s update on her article subtitled in bold, “EVEN IF A RESOLUTION YOU SUPPORT MADE IT THROUGH THE WORKSHOP, YOU MIGHT WANT TO HOLD OFF ON THE CHAMPAGNE FOR THE MOMENT UPDATE“).

But let’s for argument sake say it gets through and it’s voted on and it does pass. What then?

Then, the Conservative government has to actually to follow through and use the said resolution as official Conservative Party policy, and there’s no guarantee that’s going to happen, as Kady points out in the above link comment section:

In an interview with the Globe last week, Ryan Sparrow made it clear last week that the resolutions passed at this week’s convention would not be binding on the government in any way — it was more of a “consultative” exercise, like they would have with any “stakeholder group”.

So, as Kady says, I think the fine folks at FreeDominion and the other folks who support this resolution need to put the corks back in the champagne bottles, before they celebrate that their attempt at weakening protections against hate-speech has won the day. All this may end up being is a symbolic effort, and as Connie is quoted as saying, a nothing Convention.


1 comment to Prematurely celebrating a “nothing” passed resolution.

  • KC

    There is no doubt in my mind that under a Conservative majority section 13 would be toast. The Conservatives may even be able to cobble together a majority of members in the current parliament to do it but I think Harper is too shrewd to hand the opposition this issue in this political climate. Personally I think it will be the courts who settle this debate. Taylor was decided on a narrow 4-3 basis and a main dissenter is now chief justice.

    Frankly Im sick of the whole debate. I’d like to see section 13 deleted, but am turned off by the folks on both sides of the debate. Levant and his goons want to use its abolition as a springboard to attack the whole notion of equality, and have resorted to ridiculous hyperbole and character assasination during the debate. Whatsmore, the spectacle of a gang of Christian theocrats like Shaidle and “Binks” ragging on Muslims is disturbing. I oppose section 13 in part because I am an atheist and a secularist who thinks robust criticism of religion (both generally and specifically) needs to be permitted and that backdoor attempts to impose religious values through speech codes is somewhat frightening; not because I want to preserve the privileged cultural position of Christianity in Canadian society and hate on folks that are different like those folks do.

    Some on the other side arent a whole lot better. WK and BCL’s attempts to link anyone with even moderate, principled concerns about mundane legal issues like standard of proof, evidentiary rules and the lack of any requirement for proof of intent to Nazis is just as disgusting. The argument that we need section 13 because making out the requirements under criminal law standards is “too hard” is very illiberal. It frankly isnt much different from Bush’s arguments in favour of military tribunals. Both are premised on the notion that pesky liberal traditions like the requirement of mens rea, the presumption of innocence and proof beyond a reasonable doubt can be lightly discarded when they are inconvenient to the folks enforcing the law.

    What people like Keith Martin and many others are proposing (and being demonized for) is a reasonable, centrist position between the extremes of Levant and Kinsella–yes we need laws to curb the excesses of hate, but those laws should be used sparingly, and people who are accused of violating them should be entitled to due process of law. I think it is a pretty sad reflection on the Canadian “left” that it the Conservatives who have to push the issue.

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