Tuesday, March 17, 2015

There Is No Depth To Which He Won't Sink

It is well-known that Stephen Harper is in constant election mode, ever in search of issues that will further divide Canadians as he makes almost exclusive appeal to his base. His positions on climate change, Mulsim dress habits, provincial relations or a whole host of other issues serve only an agenda that invites discord, quarrel, contempt and dismissal of all concerns other than his own.

Just when you thought he couldn't sink any further, the putative prime minister has achieved a new low. Disgust and outrage do not adequately convey what I feel about this:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, after years of cautiously linking gun ownership to farmers and duck hunters, now says firearms are needed by rural Canadians for their own security so they can shoot people who pose a danger.

Harper’s comments are being promoted by the Conservatives’ election campaign manager, [Jenni Byrne] who says she is “proud” of how Harper said gun ownership is “important for safety for those of us who live a ways from immediate police assistance.” But a spokesman for the Canadian Bar Association is urging people to realize that they do not have an automatic right to defend themselves at home with a gun, and that they could end up facing criminal charges.
Never one to miss an opportunity, the Conservative party is distributing fund-raising emails that include Harper's remarks equating gun ownership to personal protection. And those remarks are being very well-received in some quarters. NFA president Sheldon Clare thinks what Harper said is just peachy:
On Monday, the National Firearms Association (NFA) applauded Harper for making a statement that was “long overdue.” The association said all Canadians — rural and urban — should have a clear right to use firearms to defend themselves against an intruder who breaks into their home.
Fortunately, not everyone embraces the concept of vigilante justice:
Eric Gottardi, chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s criminal justice section, rejected the notion Monday evening that Canadians have the legal right to defend their homes with a gun.

“Deadly force through the use of a gun would never be justified unless that situation turned into one that was life-threatening. And at that point, you’re really talking about self defence.”

“At 3 a.m., if someone is breaking into your house, you might think that your life is in danger. But the reality is that if it’s an unarmed intruder and you blow them away, you’re going to be arrested for murder.”
Others weighed in as well:
Wendy Cukier, president of the Coalition for Gun Control, reacted in an emailed statement to the Citizen.

“The Prime Minister seems to be implying firearms are used for personal protection against criminals which is not the usual purpose for having firearms in rural areas and is at odds with safe storage requirements that only allow guns to be unlocked if there is reason to assume that there is an imminent threat,” she wrote
Wayne Easter, Liberal public safety critic,
said Monday that this is not the message Canadians should hear from their prime minister.

“One thing that police always say is, ‘Do not take justice into your own hands”.

“That position has done Canadians well throughout time and it’s a position we should maintain. What Harper’s statement could lead to is (that) the prime minister is almost saying vigilante justice is fine.”
Clare, of the NFA, has an accurate take on Harper's ploy, for which he utters praise:
“We think it’s really something that he is well aware is an issue with people who would normally vote Conservative. I think he is reading his mail. I think he’s getting the message that people are concerned about defence as a fundamental right.”
"Unfit to govern" seems far too mild an assessment of this malevolent presence polluting the Canadian landscape.


  1. This is a man whose judgement can't be trusted -- on anything -- Lorne.

    1. I continue to live in the hope that vast numbers of Canadians will draw the same conclusion, Owen.

  2. I grew up on a farm. We had a gun, and my father did shoot a rabid skunk. We also lived close to a highway, and sometimes cars would drive down to where our fuel tanks were to steal purple gas. I once suggested to my father that he carry his gun down there to shoo away the thieves. He replied that if you have a gun, you have to be willing to kill someone, or they could grab it away from you and shoot you. He wasn't willing to kill anyone over purple gas, and so the gun stayed locked in the basement. The best defense was not to introduce firearms into the situation. I guess now, though, Harper is suggesting that people SHOULD be ready, willing and able to kill others "just in case". Not cool, by any stretch of the imagination.

    1. Your father sounds like a wise man, Anon, one who stands in sharp contrast to the current leader of our country.