September 21, 2011

Omnibus Crime Legislation

Let me just get started by saying that I included a link to a very recent Globe & Mail article that will give anyone interested more details about the legislation going forward.

In my most humble opinion, I have to take notice that the Steven Harper's Conservative majority government is finally beginning to "stretch its legs."

After receiving a majority mandate from the Canadian people on May 2nd 2011, the flow of politics in Ottawa has been "business-as-usual", with a few exceptions of course. But now that Fall Session 2011 has begun, we'll begin to see things happen at a much more feverish pace.

The "Omnibus Crime Bill" is actually simply a combination of nine separate bills compiled into one, 102-page document that aims to fulfil the majority of the tough-on-crime promises made by the Conservatives during the election campaign earlier this year.

It includes everything from imposing mandatory minimum sentences for a variety of different crimes, to creating a new process which victim of terrorism in this country can seek redress.

But enough about the particulars. I included the link to the article (click on the title of this entry) for the exact purpose of giving my readers an opportunity to look into the issue further, whether you agree with it or not.


I believe that the Omnibus Crime legislation that the Conservatives are tabling this Fall session will do exactly what Harper and the Party want it to do: reduce so-called "loopholes" in the Canadian justice system.

With the particulars aside, and considering how this legislation is going to look to the average Canadian, one comes to a predictable conclusion. This legislation, though its rumoured is going to be very expensive to implement, won't really be noticed by Canadians for the most part.

What I mean to say is that the vast majority of Canadians, those law-abiding, work during the week, middle class folks won't really pay much attention to the particulars of the legislation...including the cost. It is something that will be phased in over a period of years (especially when one considers the massive retrofit project going on in the prison system), thus will not inspire too much controversy from those who don't have the time or energy to follow every last happening on Parliament Hill.

The Opposition, naturally, vehemently opposes the new legislation. It is, for lack of a better phrase, their job to oppose it, regardless of what it entails. When one considers that, and adds the fact that the Conservative Party was returned to power with a majority mandate, one begins to be able to see how the outcome will unfold.

Steven Harper and the Conservative Party promised that the bill(s) would be passed within 100 sitting days of the beginning of the Fall session on Parliament Hill. This looming deadline is something the Opposition isn't comfortable with letting the Conservatives accomplish (at least on time). This is the part that makes me smile as a Conservative myself. Sure, the Opposition doesn't want the Conservatives to be successful, but when push comes to shove, Harper, with the backing of the majority of the seats in the House of Commons, will triumph. To that there is no doubt.

The various pieces of legislation aimed at fighting crime have been circulating around Parliament Hill since midway though the past decade, when Steven Harper formed his first minority government. Each and every time the Conservatives thought they were in a position to get the legislation passed, the Opposition would band together and crush it before it could leave the House of Commons. Now, they won't be able to do that.

The Conservative Party made it an election promise that if they were returned to power with a majority mandate, they would push through all of the crime bills that had failed previously. The Canadian people they proceeded to give them that exact majority mandate. So, from a purely analytical perspective, the Conservatives are only holding up their side of the bargain.

That is not to say that Conservatives will be idle whatsoever in the coming years that they'll enjoy majority power in the House of Commons. It is my sincere hope that they begin to get this country back on track. Even if the deficit is not completely tamed by the time another election hits us in 2015, I have a solid feeling that it'll be on its way to being conquered once again.

If the Tories can keep it together long enough to get that done then they will be known as the party that was able to spend enough money (go into enough debt) to steer the country through the "great repression" intact and flourishing.

Stephen Harper's Conservatives are only just beginning to flex their political muscle, so to speak. Here's to hoping that when all is said and done and when it comes time for my evaluation of their term in a majority position, I feel as if my vote on May 2nd 2011 counted for something.

Over and out,

Dan Collins

September 09, 2011

Dalton McGuinty Cannot Escape His History

If the term "history repeats itself" hasn't rung true so many times before, I would have to say that Dalton McGuinty has a chance convincing Ontarians that this time he means to keep his word. But, unfortunately for our embattled Premier, the term holds fast throughout the world and throughout time.

Mr. McGuinty does have quite the battle on his hands, this we know for certain. Although his government has implemented many good things and have steered Ontario through what could have become a total economic disaster, he still has personally lied to each and every Ontarian he "represents". Now, here is the time-honoured irony: politicians lie. They have to.

Granted, almost all politicians have to lie in order to get things to work in their favour. If a politician had to walk around all day telling the truth, two things would happen. Firstly, his government would never get anything done to save their lives; and second, he would very likely be voted out of office (or never be voted in, in the first place) for not "convincing the people he's worth their vote."

The problem that Mr. McGuinty faces, arguably first and foremost, is that he is not in a position to be voted back into office for a third term as Premier of Ontario. His government is in the truly unique Ontarian position of trying their best not to be voted OUT of power. This conundrum is something that seemingly happens more often than not in Canadian politics, especially at the provincial (with the most emphasis on Ontario) level.

One could say that its because of the diversity of population and political views in this province; that the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives each get a turn vying for power (with the odd inclusion of the NDP...yes I am talking to you Mr. Rae). Whatever reason it is, it seems that since the mid-1980s, Ontario has had this constant swing of power from the left to the right and back again that has had the effect of stalemating Queen's Park over the long term. It is yet to be seen whether Ontario will once again vote to keep a party in power for more than two terms at a stretch.

Despite the position McGuinty and his Liberals are in (and the ranting I've heard from political opponents [and friends!] of mine), that of being able to break into the third term and to continue to foster their political views with the immense economic and social power this province has, I have to vehemently disagree with him/them.

I have to admit that there are some things the McGuinty government has done that have impressed me, like the adoption of renewable power sources regardless of the cost, for example. But the scandals that have rocked his government are something I cannot ignore. And this opinion is not formed just out of my partisan alignment, but out of genuine concern for the direction of the province. There is no reason why Tim Hudak and the Progressive Conservatives cannot continue the implementation of renewable power sources, although I am simply not sure if it is something that will be on their agenda in the coming years if they win on October 6. That, I would have to say is the only aspect of the Liberal platform that I will dearly miss if the PCs win and abandon it altogether.

We, as the people of Ontario, have to start thinking longer-term. It is fine to switch up the political landscape every eight years or so, but if we don't have a set of values that supersedes partisanship, then we will continue to be a province that flops around like a fish in shallow water.

Let's hope Tim Hudak and the PCs win on October 6th, and further let's hope that they steer the government away from scandal and corruption and into the greener pastures of yesteryear.

Dalton McGuinty cannot escape the history he has made. Tim Hudak has yet to make any.

Vote Progressive Conservative, and give him a chance to do just that.