Saturday, November 8, 2014

UPDATED: Reassuring Legislation For Xenophobes and Bigots, A.K.A. The Harper Base

I don't know who composes the names for government bills these days, but they are blatantly selective in their intended audiences. The latest proposed piece of Harper legislation leaves little doubt that its target audience is the red meat supporters of our current regime: the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act (Bill S-7).

Hmmm, interesting title. Cultural - can't be referring to Canadians, since we are reputed by many to have no culture. Barbaric - outside of cultural outliers like Luka Magnotta and Paul Bernard, no barbarism amongst our native-born. And clearly the ex-soldier who attempted to blow up a downtown Calgary skyscraper that houses a Veteran Affairs Canada office was disturbed, not a barbaric ideological warrior/terrorist.

This bill is transparent in design and intent, guaranteed to ensure that our equanimity, so recently roiled by the Parliament hill attack, is not too quickly re-established. In his column today, Thomas Walkom points out that the bill has merit only in three aspects:
One would explicitly outlaw forced marriages. Another would clarify the general provincial practice that sets 16 as the minimum age for marriage. A third would make it illegal to transport a child under 16 abroad for the purpose of marriage.
The rest, however, goes over ground already covered in the Criminal Code:
Polygamy, for instance, is already illegal in Canada. Governments have the power to arrest and charge polygamists. Yet as the long-running, Bountiful, B.C. polygamy saga shows, Canadian government have not been anxious to do so.

But the new federal bill does not address the barbaric practices of established Canadian polygamists in B.C. Instead, it focuses solely on immigrants.
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander claims there are hundreds of immigrant engaged in this foul practice. The bill would allow for their deportation.

And then there is this,
... the section dealing with honour killings that is the most curious. Bill S-7 would rewrite the Criminal Code to preclude a defendant in a murder trial from arguing that an insult to family honour provoked his action.

Such a clause might be necessary if Canada’s courts were routinely soft on honour killers. But they aren’t.
Alexander himself
cited the case of Mohammad Shafia, an Afghan immigrant who, along with his wife and son, killed three of his daughters and the girls’ stepmother.

What the minister didn’t point out is that all three killers received the maximum sentence — life in prison.
So it remains clear that the Harper regime is continuing to do what it does best: sowing fear, suspicion and hatred, emotions sure to appeal to a certain segment of the population that is largely responsible for the debasement of politics that has been ongoing since their election of Dear Leader.

I just thought of a better name for Bill S-7. How about The Shameless Manipulation of the Canadian People By a Corrupt Government Act?

UPDATE: Click here to see Press Progress' definitive ranking of the most ridiculous and misleading Conservative names for bills.


  1. That it's frivolous is evident from the use of a colloquialism, "zero tolerance", in the title of the bill. The feds are awash in legislative draftsmen, none of whom would use that sort of sloppy terminology. Laws are supposed to be drafted with as much precision as possible for certainty.

    This bill is irrelevant. Nowhere is an "insult to family" a defence to crime nor is it a factor in mitigation for sentencing. From now on he's "Sparky" Alexander to me.

    1. I think the bill amply demonstrates that the Harper regime never lets the facts get in the way of an inflammatory narrative, Mound.

    2. Actually, the title I thought of was "Blowing the Racist Dog Whistle Act"

    3. Actually, I like yours better, Mark. It has a certain direct conciseness to it.