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Conservative Crime & Punishment Agenda Trumps Free Speech

22-Apr-13 02:26 pm EDT Leave a comment

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ews from Mexico of a Canadian woman’s 18-month (formerly indefinite) incarceration without representation by her Canadian government was only one of two items this week illustrating a long-standing pet peeve I have with the Conservatives’ crime & punishment agenda.  Now, the Conservative house-leader (in the Canadian House of Commons) has cancelled debate on a resolution that would have seen more power granted the back benches to speak on behalf of Canadians, and represent their constituents in favour of rushing through debate on a hastily-drafted anti-terrorism bill that seems little more than taking political advantage of the tragedy in Boston.

    Hopefully, my country(wo)men are getting as tired of this as I am!  (That, and the latest attack ads which put the new Liberal Party Leader, Justin Trudeau in the cross-hairs of Conservative pre-election spending.)

2 dead, 90+ injured in Boston Marathon Terror Attack

15-Apr-13 06:44 pm EDT 1 comment
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ll of Canada stands with our US brethren, once more, at this time of crisis…

Christian Science Monitor

Ten Years After 9/11 Bush Says “Blank Stare” Meant to “Project Calm”

29-Jul-11 03:06 am EDT 5 comments
On September 11, 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush absorbs news of the attacks in New York for the first time.  Many have suggested he was overwhelmed into a state of indecision at the news and should have immediately excused himself from the childrens’ classroom to deal with the emerging crisis.
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s the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks approaches, former U.S. President, George W. Bush gives an interview to the National Geographic Channel wherein he maintains his apparent “blank stare” captured on video immediately after being told of the attack on the World Trade Center was actually a deliberate effort to “project calm” amid a developing crisis.  The report of the hour-long interview by Reuters also says Bush will outline his thoughts during those first few minutes following his being told the news, and also discusses his approach toward dealing with the aftermath of the attacks in a very candid way.

According to the report, Bush brought no notes to the interview and responded to questions without apparent preparation.

If true, this piece might actually be worth watching; since one of the main issues many have had with hearing Bush in these kinds of interviews is the very scripted way he has historically responded — ever wary of the political cost of saying the wrong thing.  (And in this, of course, Bush is far from alone.)  But with the length of time that’s now past, there could be a fresh perspective on his mindset and perhaps even an answer to the question about whether he was really “frozen with indecision” immediately after being told of the first attacks in New York.

The Canadian Line of Succession: A Crisis Waiting to Happen?

05-Jul-10 11:36 pm EDT 5 comments
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magine this scenario.  During a major international conference in Toronto in the year 2018, North Korea’s young, new yet dangerously paranoid leader Kim Jong-un achieves what to date has been even more unthinkable than the 9/11 tragedy.  Fearing an international force led by the United States and supported by other nations whose leaders attend the meeting are days away from launching an attack on North Korea, Jong-un has DPRK operatives detonate a low-yield fission nuclear charge in downtown Toronto, killing tens of thousands.  Among the dead are the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Canada and Canada’s de jure head-of-state, the Governor-General.  The world and North America in particular are immediately plunged into a crisis of historic proportions; and shortly after the event and the discovery of enriched uranium originating from North Korea at ground-zero, there is widespread support for war in both the US and Canada.  But there’s a stark difference between the two principle nations involved in the emerging crisis….in the United States, the Vice-President is immediately sworn into office as the new President.  But what about Canada?

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper presided over the G20 summit in Toronto during the final week of June 2010.  The Governor General was also in attendance, which isn’t unusual.  Could this be a recipe for disaster?

I was reading an article this evening that posed this question (absent the dramatic preamble).  And it seems that since Canada’s constitution recognizes only the Governor-General as having the power to form the government with the Prime Minister (by convention) appointing the Governor-General via an order-in-council.  But it isn’t clear what happens if both are incapacitated or lost at the same time.  Indeed, even the loss of the Prime Minister requires the Governor-General to perform a political function quite apart from his/her usual role.

I wasn’t aware of this flaw in the Canadian system, really. Any one of a number of scenarios would likely play out so that Canada wouldn’t be leaderless long. In the scenario I described, it seems likely the Deputy Prime Minister would likely appoint a new Governor-General fairly quickly who, jointly with the Deputy PM, would agree on some kind of interim government.  But apart from some general practices and procedures concerning ministerial succession in government, there’s nothing to really guide the House of Commons in a situation like that described.

And there should be.

The last thing you need in a national emergency is political in-fighting to screw things up even more.  And while one hopes we never have a day like the one I described, it would be pretty important for the country to be able to pull together and respond quickly.  And the only way to do that well is to provide for solid leadership at the top.

I’d encourage everyone giving this subject a read to e-mail their MP and ask about succession in the government and what has been done, what is being done, and what remains to be done on this file.  History teaches us there’s little chance our politicians will get together to do the job themselves without some urging from the electorate.

Terry Glavin

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