Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

03 November 2007

Let 'Em Swing!

Commander of Canada Stephen Harper has decided that the Canadian government will not fight for the rights of Canadians convicted of crimes in the US.

Most particularly he has decided that Canada's (NEW! Improved! Green!) Government will not fight capital-penalty cases. That is, if a Canadian is sentenced to death in that beknighted land, Harper says "let 'em hang".

Once again, the thin veneer of civilization splits across Harper's face, and we see the neo-conservative skull beneath the skin.

Notwithstanding wrongful convictions, errors in evidence, the proven determination of lawpersons to get a conviction in spite of the truth, and questions about whether the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment, Harper is all for it.

No civilized nation in the world clings to the death penalty. Even most US citizens don't support it. But Harper'd like nothing better than to reintroduce it here.

A commenter at the CBC article on this sneered that "lefties" or "Liberals" (does he mean the Liberal Party, I wonder, or is the commenter so Americanized that he can no longer recognize subtleties of political position?) will "use" this to "demonize" Harper and accuse him of harbouring some "secret agenda".



I say again: Harper's agenda is everything but secret. He wants us to be uptighter, unhappier, more servile to corporate interests, more indebted, and more like the United States of America in every possible way.

Showing support for a barbaric, ineffective, and outmoded form of criminal punishment is just one way of leading us there. Harper claims that government appeals for sentences like life imprisonment send "the wrong message". To whom, Steve? To the Canadian citizens you have an obligation to? Or is it that you feel your obligations lie further south?

First victim is Ronald Smith, sentenced to death in Montana for a double homicide. Without commenting on his guilt or innocence, I'd like to point out that suddenly ending all consular support for a different sentence has, if you'll forgive an apt metaphor, kicked the stool clean out from under Smith, leaving him to twist in the wind.

But more importantly--what happens to the next Mahar Arar? The next Zhara Kazemi?

Will the Harper government try to weasel out of its consular responsibilities to citizens arrested in China for supporting democratic reform?

Or are only our special friends allowed to kill Canadian citizens with impunity?

5 Comments:

At 11:34 p.m., Anonymous archie FCD said...

Harper learned well at the feet of John Howard!

 
At 8:39 a.m., Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

I heard about this and was also outraged. It's just so f*cking disgusting.

And dammit! I cannot go and see the guy tonight in Castlegar!

 
At 8:48 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

Aside from my general objections to medieval punishments, there's a fairly large principle at stake here: Shall we, as a nation, or shall we not follow through on our obligations to our citizens?

It's a digital issue--to pretend otherwise is sophistry. Either we stand up for our citizens when they are threatened or we don't.

I can't wait until some Canadian gets stuffed into a Chinese prison around Olympic time. Although with any luck Harper will be gone by then.

 
At 8:01 a.m., Anonymous G Eagle Esq said...

... err ....

I hope you will forgive my vulgar curiosity, but :

1.Are you saying that Canadians can murder innocent Americans with relative impunity compared with their act of Murder

2. Are you able to tell us :

2.1 who was murdered

2.2 how the murder/s occurred

2.3 why the murder/s occurred

How about equal righteous indignation in favour of the Victims

I can well understand why the Great Cromwell banned Mince Pies

 
At 10:22 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

@G Eagle:

1) "Relative impunity"? No. I'm saying that being jailed for life is an appropriate and civilized punishment for an uncivilized act. I'm also saying that if we're going to allow the US to execute Canadians, then I am concerned that we weaken our standing when we tell other countries not to.

2) Smith and two friends got a ride from two native gentlemen, Thomas Running Rabbit and Harvey Mad Man, and decided to steal their car. Smith apparently took the men into the woods and shot them dead.

3) If my righteous indignation might keep the victims alive, then I might express more of it.

Is it your contention that by saying Smith's murder by the state is as wrong as his murder of Running Rabbit and Mad Man, I somehow express sympathy for his act?

The man's an idiot, mean and nasty. But as the old poet said "A man's a man for a' that."

Are you arguing that two wrongs make a right?

 

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