The Village Voice: A Hudson Blog Forum

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Federal Politics from the Blogs: The Bill C-15 Syndrome and Power Politics.


The Sky is Falling, Chicken Little!

Since Tuesday the Blogs and Social networks have been humming - Bill C-15 passed in the house of commons. What is it? In short a Law: Mandatory sentencing (rather than staggered, or "as fits the crime" sentencing) for drug related crimes. An Amendment: 196 allowing for police to detain, Photograph, Fingerprint people with no notarization , or due processing of application, of any particular charge at all. No kidding. It's in there - it's all about all the references it doesn't make.
Imagine this: You own a house and someone next door plants a Marijuana seed over the property get the exact same sentence as the guy with 300 plants in his basement. Moreover, in the case of 196, you happen to be mistaken for someone else, and the police detain you to take your photo and fingerprints on their suspicion alone. Sure, who'd be scared of that? Worked great for the Third Reich in the 20's, after all.
Charming. And who helped this Bill Pass? The Liberal Party of Canada. The Great Hope Mike Ignatieff, who once held a post with Amnesty International. The Vote ended up 71-51 in the House of Commons, The bill is now passed. People all over the blogosphere are hanging their heads saying "I don't believe I thought he'd be different..." You could almost hear Jack Layton rubbing his hands together, because after all Gilles Ducieppe really has nothing to gain but a paycheck and a laugh.
Me: I'm left with Huh? What about C-51? (We'll get to that obscure thought, I'm being realistic.)

Anyone Got an Umbrella?

Now that Bill is on the way to the Senate: And for those of you who don't have a more than passing knowledge of the system here in Canada - the House of Commons does not have the power to unilaterally pass a Bill such as C-15. The Bill must first pass through the Senate; whose appointed members serve under the mandate, or more simply what their sole purpose of thought and existence is, to preserve the civil rights of the citizens of Canada, as first outlined by the Magna Carta of the 12th Century reformation for Britain, later defined by the BNAA (British North America Act), then most recently with our very own Constitution: The rights of Free citizens in a Free Nation as governed by elected officials (under the stewardship of a Monarch or representative Governor General). The choice of the appointees rests solely with the prime minister of the day, and is agreed by the monarch or governor general.
Yes the senate is old, but old ain't always a bad thing. Magna Carta's pretty old by now too, but it's still a law we shouldn't look at changing. If you don't know it - look it up, believe me, it will make you appreciate how hard people once fought for things like a senate much less a parliament.
Before I get too far away from the point: The senate is charged with examining every single law the House of Commons comes up with, solely from the viewpoint of how it will affect the life of common citizens under it's implementation. As such, see them as the teachers who mark the papers (laws) the MP's (namely the elected administration) write on our behalf. The have their 'mandated' checklist for civil liberties.
Given 196 this Bill is a dead duck already. The senate has no power to open the constitution: Only we the people have that - even if passed we would have to amend the constitution to allow for the dissolution of our basic rights with a general vote. That's not going to happen. It will be returned to the House of Commons for a re-write.


So what's with C-15...why would you write a Bill doomed to die?

Rewind: Bill C-51, September 2008

Introduced in September of 2008 Bill C-51 is almost a Carbon Copy of Bill C-15...and some of you may be already thinking 'is this an insult to my intelligence?' to which I shall remain silently amused with you. C-51 transferred all power of decision making about new forms of 'therapy' to the minister of health, without any hope of recourse or appeal, and at the same time promised that the police would have the power to "phone in Warrants" meaning that they could just pick a number of a house - and if they could prove you were a resident of that home they could 'legally' search your premises. Equally Draconian, and even more demented, equally offensive to both civil libertarians and constitutional activists alike. This bill, too, was a dead duck. Never even made it back to the table later. Now we know why, they just wrote a new one for the occasion.
The election came in October. The NDP made record breaking gains, te BLOC QUEBECOIS also did exceedingly well. LIB's, well, we know the story. Stephane Dion was the unfortunate victim of that last jaded political maneuver...a bill which he was forced to vote for...which he tried vainly to counter and rekindle the left vote with the carbon cap which no one understood...a double whammy...and still they ended up opposition.

Bottom line? Who is still opposition by the skins of their teeth? And why?

Power Politics

So, here we go again. Liberals forced to keep parliament going by voting something completely unethical and without any real value because they need to be assured that the stimulus package to prop up our market economy has actually “Gotten out the door”. The other two parties continuing to keep the pressure on by voting with complete abandon against anything the CPC does. Believe me reader, I'm not taking any sides: except ours. This is a loop in our parliamentary system which needs to be accounted for. CPC tables ridiculous bill, Liberals must vote yes to keep the damn shop open. Fringe parties keep throwing monkey wrenches which serve only the incumbents and themselves.
And the popular vote continues to be fractured, as a throwback to the days when the Reform and Conservative parties were both back on their heels and the Liberals ruled the roost.
Liberal vote is a funny thing. They will never drop below a certain percentage. I will say Dion managed to scrape together 13% of his own doing. Even after all the missteps. Layton was the big winner, and Ducieppe only had 'Quebec' and Margaret Atwood to work with (Perhaps we should change that, eh, and let Canada vote for the Bloc when they aren't satisfied? Is that radical?)
So now we see C-15 with further Draconian measures the Liberals are forced by circumstance to agree with. This is power politics, folks. Dividing our votes to those 'more' concerned about our immediate concerns. A vote against C-15 would have forced an immediate election.

Why they don't speak out? That is the only question that I cannot answer. This is where my knowledge of what comes next ends. The rest is up to you personally, even if I know what I really want is a government that isn't constantly broken....


1 comment:

Ex-drone said...

This Parliament's Bill C-15, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, is not a reintroduction of last Parliament's Bill C-51, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. You probably mean last Parliament's Bill C-26, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. Bill C-51 was about enhancing the safety and quality of drugs, food, natural health products, cosmetics and medical devices as part of the government's consumer products safety strategy.