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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The power of words

The CCP's continuing battle against words had me thinking about the Moon report, and its recommendation to get the CHRC out of the anti-wordsmithing business.

I found the reaction of Justice Minister Rob Nicholson particularly puzzling (Reuters):

At this month's policy convention of the governing Conservative Party, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson voted for a resolution to have the commission get out of policing hate speech on the Internet.

But, mindful of his government's minority status in Parliament, he reacted cautiously on Monday: "We'll have a careful look at it... I'd like to get some input from the (House of Commons) justice committee."

To be fair to Nicholson, Randall Palmer (the Reuters author) added the minority government context.  Still, if the lack of a majority is keeping the Harper government from acting, it shouldn't.  In fact, the best political move out of this is to make the repeal of Section 13 a confidence vote.

I don't expect the NDP to be much help, but the Bloc and the Grits will be facing serious crosswinds.  For the Liberals, it was one of their own (Keith Martin) who first presented this as a private member's bill.  Would Martin (who was a CA member and was elected this time be a mere 72-vote margin) see this as a time to re-cross the floor, and give the Grits another embarrassment?  Or even worse (for the Libs), will a leadership candidate take a chance and come out in favor of the bill, thus splitting the party?

Meanwhile, the Bloc may think at first they can skate by this, but a free-speech issue garnering national attention in the middle of a Quebec election that could be Mario Dumont's last stand may not play as they think it will.  If Dumont is able to make this Le Cri de coeur Partie Deux, The Bloc's PQ cousins may have a serious problem.

Finally, the Conservatives only need a dozen votes to get this out of Commons, and Martin should give them at least one.  The rest will likely come from Blocquisites worried about the provincial election, or Liberals skittish about another election or having the party split open.

Either way, the odds would favor the Conservatives to pick up enough votes or absetentions to get a Section 13 repeal through.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on November 25, 2008 in Canadian Politics, International Politics | Permalink


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I agree this a great time to do something for the people of Canada for a change, such as ridding us of the freedom-stifling CHRC and the gun registry ... but that would take balls.

There are no balls in Ottawa. Just a lot of suction.

Posted by: John V | 2008-11-25 10:29:44 AM

I too cannot fathom Nicholson's tepid statements -he is Minister of Justice isn't he?

what amazes me the most is that other federal departments over the years subjected to allegations far less onerous than the CHRC have been subject to judicial or managerial reviews.

Lynch should follow the example of a honorable senior DM, John Edwards of the Correctional Service of Canada in the 1990s who, even though he was untarnished by allegations of the Arbour Commission, fell on his sword for the sake of his staff.

Perhaps falling on a silver Coffee spoon would not have the same effect for Lynch but her reassignment to the NWT would save the rest of us considerable heartburn.

Posted by: The LS from SK | 2008-11-25 10:45:10 AM

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