11.04.2007

stockwell day uses de facto death penalty against alberta man

As I'm sure you already know, the Harper government announced that it will not intervene on behalf of a Canadian citizen on death row in the US.

Citing the desire to "preserve public safety here in Canada," Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said the government will not bring Ronald Allen Smith back to Canada. Smith, from Alberta, has been on death row in Montana for more than 20 years.

Day told the House of Commons on Thursday: "We will not actively pursue bringing back to Canada murderers who have been tried in a democratic country that supports the rule of law."

A democratic country that supports the rule of law? What country would that be, Mr. Day?

As you know, I have not been overly alarmed about the Harper government, and have felt that their resemblance to the neocons to the south is often exaggerated. Well, those days are gone. The alarm bell just went off.

Harper and Day are reversing 30 years of policy in Canada with no public debate or citizen input. At a time when increasing numbers of Americans are withdrawing their support for the death penalty, this Canadian government is allowing a Canadian citizen to be executed.

Do you see the connection between this and what happened to Maher Arar? Does Canada think it can keep its hands clean while it allows other countries to do the dirty work? It doesn't work that way. The government's refusal to intervene on behalf of Smith amounts to a de facto death penalty in Canada.

I've seen some blogs by Canadian wingnuts with the predictable spew: the Liberals and NDP support murderers, and Ronald Smith did these really bad things, who needs him in Canada.

These transparent pseudo-arguments only further prove the point.

In not using capital punishment, Canada aligns itself with the civilized world. There is no death penalty here. Period. It doesn't matter what the man did. And no one is asking for Smith to be released. He can live the rest of his life in prison in Canada - his natural life, that is.

I don't know if Stephen Harper and Stockwell Day would really try to re-open the death penalty debate, or if they are just kissing up to the US and won't do anything to cross them.

Either way, this is very frightening. Heaven help us if these people ever get a majority government.

(And PS will the Liberals please get their heads out of their asses and call an election already?)

16 comments:

M. Yass said...

You are correct, this could very well be the mask finally slipping. We might be seeing Stevie's true colors showing at last. If true, I think HAL (played by Canadian actor Douglas Rain) said it best: "I know that [you and the cons] were planning to [get a majority], and I am afraid that is something [we] cannot allow to happen."

Or it could just be an example of how much of a nutjob Stockwell Day really is. Among other things, he previously, he said he would not allow Canadians imprisoned overseas to return to Canada under the Council of Europe Convention of the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. But then, what do you expect from some numbnuts who thinks the Earth is 6,000 years old?

As for what will happen if the cons ever get a majority, they already have one. What on Earth is Dion thinking?

And then to say that he's going to reverse both GST cuts if/when his party gets back into power? He's acting as though he doesn't want his party to ever return to power, isn't he? This reminds me of Walter Mondale vowing to raise taxes at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. We all know what happened after that - the U.S. was run by an Alzheimer's afflicted former ham actor for eight years.

Further proof that the Libs are Canada's Stupid Party, like their Democratic cousins south of the border.

L-girl said...

Well... I agree with a lot of what you're saying, M Yass, but if the Liberals were as stupid as the Dems, they wouldn't have been in power for... how many years? Most of the 20th Century, I believe.

I hate the Dems, but I wish they were as smart and crafty as the Liberals.

I do agree that the GST blunder was a biggie (although I oppose tax cuts, especially corporate tax cuts).

I'm just furious that are propping up this govt.

sharonapple123 said...

Hey, we could have had an election if the NDP or the Block had supported the Liberal amendements to the Conservative Throne speach. The NDP said they couldn't support the points, but if an election is automatically called, what would it matter since it's not as though the Throne speech, the government's agenda, would have gone into play. It seems as though the Bloc, Liberals, and NDP are playing politics with the election call. We'll all vote against the government, but never to ensure that an actual election gets called.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/10/22/liberal-amendment.html

L-girl said...

With all due respect, it sounds like you've got it backwards. Why should the NDP and Bloc support the Liberals amendments? That's not what they're there for. The question is why didn't the Liberals just vote against the throne speech in the first place??

The Liberals are the only party propping up this government. I think any other reading is spin.

M. Yass said...

L-girl said...

The Liberals are the only party propping up this government. I think any other reading is spin.


Your use of the term "propping up" with respect to what's going on makes me think of the movie "Weekend at Bernie's." They had to keep propping up, didn't they?

L-girl said...

Your use of the term "propping up" with respect to what's going on makes me think of the movie "Weekend at Bernie's."

Great image! It's a common expression here for keeping a minority government in power. Now I'll add that mental image of a dead guy at the beach. Thanks :)

West End Bound said...

As you know, I have not been overly alarmed about the Harper government, and have felt that their resemblance to the neocons to the south is often exaggerated. Well, those days are gone. The alarm bell just went off.

Glad to see you onboard, L-Girl. We've had our issues with harperco for a long time now . . . .

L-girl said...

Glad to see you onboard, L-Girl. We've had our issues with harperco for a long time now . . . .

Well, thanks, but let's not say I didn't have issues with him. As I've said repeatedly, I'd never vote for him and never want to see him get a majority govt. I have just thought (and still do, about many issues) that fears of him turning Canada into the US are somewhat exaggerated.

And I'm still not worried about Deep Integration. ;)

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

The Liberal amendments were written in such a way that the NDP and the Bloc couldn't possibly support them. They did want to go to an election then (trust me, I'm working on a local NDP campaign, and every communication we got from central party indicated that they were ready for an election), but weren't willing to sacrifice their principles to do so. You might be able to call other things the NDP and the Bloc do "playing politics," but not that.

Oh, and Laura, you might want to correct the line about "preserving pubic safety here in Canada," because I suspect that's NOT what Mr. Day said. *grinning*

L-girl said...

Oh, and Laura, you might want to correct the line about "preserving pubic safety here in Canada," because I suspect that's NOT what Mr. Day said. *grinning*

LOL, thank you I/P. Funny how that doesn't come up in spellcheck! :)

And thanks for your comment. I appreciate your perspective.

West End Bound said...

And I'm still not worried about Deep Integration.

I'm patient. (Witness our waiting period for PR status.)

You'll get there . . . . :)

M. Yass said...

L-girl said...

Well... I agree with a lot of what you're saying, M Yass, but if the Liberals were as stupid as the Dems, they wouldn't have been in power for... how many years? Most of the 20th Century, I believe.


Well, the Dems were in charge in Congress for 40 years, don't forget. That's analogous to them running the government in Canada all that time since Canada doesn't have presidential elections. They're still the Stupid Party, though.

I hate the Dems, but I wish they were as smart and crafty as the Liberals.

And I hope there really is a method to Dion's madness. I'd like to think there is. I really don't think he's a stupid guy, but my faith is really being shaken. Maybe he's been smoking too much of the . . . nevermind, that's B.C.

The only thing I can think of is that he's waiting for a vote on extending Canada's Vietraq (Vietstan?) mission to topple the government. He might feel that's a "safer" issue to do it on, thus depriving the Cons of the "Dion stopped a tax cut" mantra.

M. Yass said...

L-girl said...

Great image! It's a common expression here for keeping a minority government in power. Now I'll add that mental image of a dead guy at the beach. Thanks :)


It's not dead yet. It feeeels happy! It doesn't want to go on the cart.

L-girl said...

And I'm still not worried about Deep Integration.

I'm patient. (Witness our waiting period for PR status.)


You'll be waiting a lot longer for this one.

If the Canadians I know who are most saavy about their country and its politics - people like Idealistic Pragmatist and Lone Primate, among others - are not worried, I'm not going to worry.

Not that we shouldn't be on guard for the signs - we should. But that a secret plot is already underway and Canada will lose its sovreignity without our knowledge...? No.

I've lived here for two years and have also read a good deal of Canadian history. The fear of being swallowed up by the US is as old as Canada. It comes with the territory. But it doesn't really go anywhere.

L-girl said...

Well, the Dems were in charge in Congress for 40 years, don't forget. That's analogous to them running the government in Canada all that time since Canada doesn't have presidential elections.

I disagree. The government in Canada is more analagous to the executive branch's administration than to the legislative branch (if such an analogy can be made).

Mark, Ottawa said...

What's interesting is the disingenousness of Mr Day's response.

There are in fact two separate issues:

1) Making representations for clemency, following from Canada's
opposition (and mine) to the death penalty; and

2) Trying to have the convicted murderer brought to Canada to serve his sentence after clemency has been granted (which, in view of our penal practice, might well mean his almost immediate release given the time served in Montana).

Mr. Day's position on 2) is quite defensible. That he did not address 1) is indefensible.

Which, amongst many other reasons, is why I am not a partisan Conservative.

Mark
Ottawa