Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Yowza! Iggy Should Force An Election!

The survey by The Canadian Press Harris-Decima, indicates support for the Conservatives stands at 34 per cent nationally, compared to 28 per cent for the Liberals, 14 for the NDP and 13 for the Greens.

[...]

Given the margin of error, the results are essentially no different than the 36-27 split garnered by the two parties earlier this fall when the government appeared to be on a roll and the Liberals in free-fall.

Just kidding. Do anything like that and Der Volk apparently get pissed off. But on the other hand, opposing a little harder--sandbagging C-15 and other bullshit Tory "law and order bills" in the Senate--doesn't seem to have done any harm so far. So why not do more of it, in the HOC? Why are a bunch of unelected geezers in the upper chamber the sole receptacle of the gonads of the LPoC? Huh, Iggy? Any genitalia available for display?

31 comments:

Ti-Guy said...

Just kidding. Do anything like that and Der Volk apparently get pissed off.

Heh. No kidding.

Marx-A-Million said...

I am running a Stephen Harper Photo Contest for Liberal Bloggers. Please come and participate!

R. G. Harvie said...

Truer words were never spoken.

If there was any reason for Ignatieff to get off his ass and give the governmen the gears it would be the so-called "law and order" bills which are going to result in no more order, a lot more cost, and probably, more crime.

R. G. Harvie said...

Oh. By the way, BCL had the class to disavow himself of the last blast of poor taste.. Marx, why don't you just move to "heaven" in Havana already, or better yet, to Venezuela with your apparent idol, psycho-man, Hugo Chavez.

Why don't we take a poll on when anyone even close to your leftist stupidity gets elected as PM in this country.

I'll feel safe putting a thousand dollars on "never".

Marx. Indeed. Biggest failure in the history of political philosphy. Ever.

Cherniak_WTF said...

Marx. Indeed. Biggest failure in the history of political philosphy. Ever.
Is this the real Harvie writing or the Harvie-Bot? Both are quite inept and hard to tell apart...


If one wants to really understand "capitalism", I think that reading Marx should be required.


And Rob, instead of trying to get the Liberals (with the help of the BQ and NDP), you'd think that some Conservative would put pressure on their own party to come up with something that makes sense.
Just a hint there...

You seem quite content to regurgitate every half-baked and utterly stupid Conservative argument and talking point EXCEPT when it comes to something that you have experience with (part of the criminal justice system in Canada). I would much prefer reading if you concentrated on that instead of the dilution of your credibility with stupidities that you seem to publish too often.

Ti-Guy said...

Oh. By the way, BCL had the class to disavow himself of the last blast of poor taste.. Marx, why don't you just move to "heaven" in Havana already, or better yet, to Venezuela with your apparent idol, psycho-man, Hugo Chavez.

*Yeesh* Are you that gullible, Rob? Marx-A-Million's blog is a parody and an inept, unoriginal one at that.

Ted Betts said...

I dunno BCL. Seems to me a might bit bizarre of the article to say that the detainee issue is having no effect when the Conservatives are dropping from a 14% lead to a 6% lead.

For some reason they throw in the gratuitous remark that with the margin of error virtually nothing has changed. That could cut the other way too but shows a clear intent to ignore the actual results of this poll in order to claim all is good in Conservative land.

Ted Betts said...

As for the "law and order" crap the Tories are pushing through... it's pretty much all crap. Teeny tiny tidbits of tinkering with the criminal code. Meh. I'd like to see the Liberals oppose it, but whatever. One of their problems has been lack of prioritizing of their opposition. Can't go after every little change and still stay focused.

If Harper had any real gonads, he'd try to put a little bit of money behind his rhetorical mouth.

KC said...

Meh. I'd like to see the Liberals oppose it, but whatever.

This is the attitude from the Iggy-bots that drives me to drinking. "Oh no big deal. Sure bills like C-15 are essentially flushing hundreds of millions of dollars are down the toilet, clogging our courts and prison system, ruin countless lives and make the drug business that much more dangerous. But focusing on such inconsequential details distracts us from more important issues (Like Lisa Raitt thinking the isotope 'crisis' is "sexy) and the ultimate goal of installing Ignatieff as PM and thus bringing Canadians marginally better government than it has now." These crime bills are serious pieces of legislation with serious consequences but rank and file Liberals in their blind pursuit of power prefer to ignore such inconvenient facts.

Ted Betts said...

"Sure bills like C-15 are essentially flushing hundreds of millions of dollars are down the toilet, clogging our courts and prison system, ruin countless lives and make the drug business that much more dangerous. But focusing on such inconsequential details distracts us from more important issues (Like Lisa Raitt thinking the isotope 'crisis' is "sexy) and the ultimate goal of installing Ignatieff as PM and thus bringing Canadians marginally better government than it has now."

KC: First of all, these "tough on crime" bills are anything but. Hundreds of millions of dollars down the toilet? Where on earth do you get that from? Your hyperventilating rhetoric is groundless. The "minimum" sentences that they are raising are still way lower than the average sentence and barely moves it up in any event.

I'm not saying that they don't have impact, but they are making changes on the margins.

And focusing on marginal issues has been one of Ignatieff's biggest problems. So focusing even more on opposing even more marginal changes on a matter that has the clear support of the public is plain dumb.

One of the good things we've seen from the recent revamping already is the Liberals picking up fewer issues that have clearer and more concrete edges and putting on the full-court press. Scud missiles tightly targetting the government instead of shotguns, scrambling from this minor issue to that minor issue that the public is not all that concerned about.

KC said...

Ted - Criminal law may not be my area but I know for certain that a 6 months sentence is NOT the norm for 5 marijuana plants so I don't see how anyone is 'hyperventilating'. And the 'hundreds of millions' assertion is straight from the government whose budget for corrections infrastructure has risen from $88 million in 06-07 to $195 million this year and it is anticipated to rise to $211 million in 2010-2011

This is why I'm happy to be out of this cult called the Liberal party. I understand that the cause of liberalism is not served by sitting on the opposition benches but it also isn't served by a relentless pursuit of power that ignores the consequences of legislation you help pass either.

The 'tough on crime' bills, particularly C-15 are not a minor issues. They have a substantial impact on public safety, public spending, and how our society treats its citizens (people turn to selling drugs for a variety of reasons). I think you'll be waiting a long time if you want to wait for a more important issue to come along.

I see nothing has changed, and Ted is still willing to act as an apologist for the worst of Iggy.

Ted Betts said...

Some apologist Iggy-bot I am when I am criticizing their approach to date, KC.

Most of the budgetted amount for prisons are budgetary increases that were planned for as far back as the Liberal tenure. Our prisons are a mess and corrections officials have been calling for major increases in spending for a long long time. So yeah, when I read things like "hundreds of millions of dollars down the toilet", I think that is hyperventilating rhetoric and part of the reason the Liberals were kicked out, 'cause we get stuck on stupid too often.

KC said...

Only an apologist could justify rotten non-sensical legislation like C-15, Ted. Even on Machiavellian grounds. If I'm guilty of "hyperventalizing" you are as guilty of minimizing the consequences of these bills. Every criminal lawyer I've spoken to about the subject thinks these bills will have a profound impact.

Maybe you think throwing people in jail and essentially burning money on a policy that has been a demonstrable failure in jurisdictions where it has been tried is no 'big thang', but I think it is a pretty sad reflection on the illiberal beast that the LPC has become.

Ted Betts said...

Gawd, I hate that kind of McCarthyite way of discussing an issue. 'You disagree with me so you are X.'

The hyperventilating comment is based on the disconnect between what your self-declared "liberal" point is and what you've actually said. Hundreds of millions down the toilet? Not because of Bill C-15.

Like I said, I don't like Bill C-15. It is not good law. But it is not so draconian as you are saying. My point was his claim to being "tough on crime" is a crock because these measures have no impact on crime and are not making things that different in the criminal justice system. They are tinkering around the edges of reform.

Bill C-15 is good example of this. Certainly it has an adverse impact on the very few people who might be affected by it. But take the increase in the maximum penalty to 14 years that has so many so up in arms. Currently, it is extremely rare that the existing maximum penalty ever gets imposed so increasing the maximum is window dressing for the Conservative base. The existing laws in the Criminal Code currently makes grow-ups illegal and if you illegally grow marijuana you go to jail; Bill C-15 says any growing of marijuana is now really illegal.

If you think the making one plant vs 2 plants is the crux of liberalism then liberalism as a movement is even more bankrupt and bereft of ideas than I thought.

And you are just buying into Conservative rhetoric and talking points that these will have a huge impact on crime and the criminal justice system.

KC said...

No one is getting up in arms about raising the maximum penalties. It is the introduction of minimum penalties that has raised the most eyebrows. I don't know if you have actually read C-15 but it provides for a mandatory minimum of 6 months of growing 5-200 plants (9 months if there are any kids present). That provision alone will have a big impact. Pretty well every small scale grow op has more than 5 plants. So now every ma and pa in the country, who previously would get some form of discharge are going to jail for 6 months with hardened criminals.

I don't know how deluded you are about how prevalent this type of operation is but minimizing the impact of this bill by saying that only a "few people" will be impacted is just plain nonsense. I have no doubt that spread over years this bill will cost well in excess of several hundreds of millions if you add up prison costs. This isn't tinkering around the edges. It represents a sea change, particularly with respect to the production and distribution of marijuana.

Besides how does something only impacting a "few people" make it better? The Afghan detainee scandal only impacts a "few people" (probably far fewer than C-15 will impact) and the Liberals are up in arms about it (rightly so).

Ted Betts said...

KC, you are proving my points, both about just how big a deal this bill isn't and much Harper is pretending to do something and some liberal-minded folk are buying into his rhetoric with hyperventilating of their own.

"it provides for a mandatory minimum of 6 months of growing 5-200 plants (9 months if there are any kids present). That provision alone will have a big impact. Pretty well every small scale grow op has more than 5 plants. So now every ma and pa in the country, who previously would get some form of discharge are going to jail for 6 months with hardened criminals."

How many people are actually affected by this? I mean precisely how many people who are not already violating some grow up law but being ignored by sensible police (i.e. most) will be affected by this? And by how much? What is the minimum and average incarceration for the few people jailed for a first time offense? As you said, pretty well every grow up already grows 5 plants. As far as I'm aware, that's already illegal so making something that is already illegal even more clearly illegal is the kind of BS window dressing duplicative law that Harper is making his hallmark. Like speed racing. He has barely changed the law and barely changed the penalty.

I did not say that affecting only a few people makes it better or worse. I said this is bad law. Affecting only a few people on an issue most Canadians care nothing about, means you have to weigh how big a priority it should be.

And if something like Bill B-15 is a "big impact" and as huge an issue for progressives and liberals as you claim, then we really are bankrupt of ideas and very disconnected with the values and priorities of Canadians.

Medical isotopes, which you've disparaged, is a significant issue that most Canadians care about and could be impacted by. Detainees is actually not a huge issues for Canadians; but government accountability and cover-up and contempt of Parliament are hugely significant issues.

The problem for Iggy has been in making priorities and not chasing every little issue and scandal of the day. Bill C-15 would be another example if he chased that one.

bigcitylib said...

Ted,

Except that for the same reason I don't see why the Libs can't oppose (part of my origonal point was that they are in the Senate, and despite "soft on crime" howls from the usual suspects, there hasn't been much of an effect on the polling numbers). Yes its a popular bill superficially, but its also well down anyone's priority list outside of the Tory base (and offends certain Libertarian strains within the Base, such as Mr. Harvie there). Seems very little harm in opposing whats pretty clearly bad law.

Ted Betts said...

I guess agree BCL. Like I said, it is not a good law.

But at the same time what I'm saying is that, having made the decision not to oppose this for whatever reason, I'm not going to say this is a big deal. It's not one to die on.

And I suspect that's part of the thinking. Nothing to gain by supporting but lots to lose by opposing. A "shield" issue in Wells' terms. As a strategy, when the Conservatives can't point to any crime law we opposed, we steal a whole plank from the Conservatives which absolutely does drive votes.

And when Harper's crime laws are not terribly significant and having a barely discernible impact on the justice system, I'm not going to get riled up by the decision.

KC said...

Well I don't know how else to convince you that sending people to jail for six months for what is essentially a bullshit offence to begin with. The fact is that a lot of these people would be getting discharges but now they are going to jail. There is no denying that much. I don't know how one can pretend that that is just "window dressing". It will have a meaningful impact on the lives of those people who are going to jail. The only thing you are right about is that it wont have an impact on crime.

Definitely a hill worth dying on and definitely a reason NOT to vote Liberal next time around. Apparently you think the only issues worth taking a stand on are the ones that really resonate with the public. That attitude is precisely what is wrong with our democracy and precisely what is wrong with the Liberal Party.

Ted Betts said...

KC, now you are talking. I can appreciate a discussion of the issue.

What I can't stand is being told that I'm some apologist and anti-liberal for thinking that a bill that affects a tiny number of people and makes something that is already a crime a little bit more of a serious offence is bad law but not the biggest issue, especially when opposing it helps keep the Conservatives in power. this is the Liberal Party, not the NDP or the Conservatives, and thinking a marijuana law is a litmus test for being a liberal is the kind of way over the top purity tests that keep the NDP under 18%.

Ted Betts said...

As for window dressing, there will be no more arrests as a result of Bill-15 since it is already illegal, so tell me, KC, how many more people in 2010 will go to jail as a result of this? Total number. Your best guess.

KC said...

Ted - I don't know how you can continue to call the difference between not going to prison and going to prison for 6 months a "bit more serious" or continue to assert that this will only affect a "tiny number of people". Busts of small scale grow ops occur with a fair degree of regularity. Yes sometimes the cops turn a blind eye but they also press charges. Under this new law the judge will have no choice but to send the "offender" to jail. I'm really struggling to understand what issue on the federal agenda (aside from the economy and climate change) which is more important.

Complete support for legalization is not a 'litmus' test for Liberals but I always thought that liberals had SOME principle and wouldnt think that people to jail for half a year or more for this type of thing for a few points in the latest public opinion poll. I call that cowardice.

Besides I REALLY don't see how the Liberals did the political calculus on this one. I think Ignatieff could have easily refused his assent to C-15 without substantial political consequence. There isn't that much appetite for mandatory minimums for marijuana offences from anyone other than Conservative rank and file. I have to suspect that Ignatieff actually believes in this crap and therefore isn't nearly as smart as we are led to believe.

I dont know why you would get so offended over being called an apologist. You are defending the indefensible. That is being an apologist.

KC said...

Tedd are you really not grasping the difference between an arrest and going to jail? Give me a break. Will C-15 produce more arrests? Probably not. Will it increase the number of prison sentence? Inevitably. Most people who are arrested under the current law don't go to jail. Under the new law they must. I don't know why you are having such a hard time with that very simple point.

Ted Betts said...

KC, let's put this "illiberal" "indefensible" "outrage" into some context.

How many people get arrested and don't go to jail right now, and how many people will get arrested and go to jail next year?

KC said...

KC, let's put this "illiberal" "indefensible" "outrage" into some context.

How many people get arrested and don't go to jail right now, and how many people will get arrested and go to jail next year?


I don't have those numbers. What I do know is that in my small community we have a few small scale busts each year and very rarely does anyone get any time. If they commit the same offence next year they will go to jail for at least six months. Multiply that by all the towns and cities in the country and you have a number that is much greater than a "few" people.

Ted Betts said...

Let me put it another way KC.

How outraged are you with the speed racing laws and the drunk driving laws that Harper passed?

They are dumb laws and overlap and duplicate existing laws and don't improve safety. But they do slightly beef up the penalties and so, by your way of thinking, people are going to jail now who weren't going to jail before.

Again, a tiny number of Canadians (though I would guess definitely more than under the marijuana law) and those bills had general support among Canadians.

Is this a hill to die on too?

KC said...

Ted - I still think you are really undersestimating how many people will be caught by the new provisions with respect to marijuana. I am not familiar enough about the speed racing provisions to comment. I DEFINITELY do not support a lot of the new draconian provisions with respect to drunk driving, and wish the Liberals would take a stand on them as well. That said at least with drinking and driving there is some sort of morally reprehensible conduct that is being denounced so it is not quite as upsetting.

Ted Betts said...

KC, with respect, I think you've touched on the real issue here which is in no way liberal or illiberal and that is whether there is the moral issue at root in the criminal conduct.

Currently, there is nothing really to distinguish between drunk driving, speed racing and growing marijuana under the Criminal Code from a moral perspective. The Criminal Code is amoral in that sense. Whatever people think of a behaviour in terms of morals is moot: an action is either illegal or it is not. And these activities are all criminal activities.

Your sympathies with someone who breaks the law by growing marijuana is what distinguishes these three different types of crimes. I am guessing you don't think marijuana smoking or growing is bad and so any jail time is draconian. I understand that. And I don't even necessarily disagree. I just don't think whether we criminalize or de-criminalize marijuana is a significant national issue.

And I actually don't think, in the grand scheme of things and with so many other significant issues to deal with in the country, that the difference between a few Canadians who break the law knowing they may go to jail and a few Canadians who break the law knowing they are probably going to go to jail is a hill to die on for liberalism.

And that, my friend, has absolutely nothing to do with Iggy or the Liberal Party or liberalism or progressivism or being anyone's apologist or a "bot" of any kind.

KC said...

Ted - I think you are confounding the moral and the legal. Yes there is nothing legally different between the two acts cited but morally I think there is a world of difference. Quite frankly I do think the issue of prohibition in general and of marijuana is a issue of national importance whether it is a vote mover or not. Yes it may not be wise to go out and push for full legalization but the Liberals could at least not make matters worse, as they have by supporting C-15.

I think the difference between us is the difference between liberal and Liberal. Frankly I don't think someone can call themselves "liberal" if they support or acquiece to policies that put people in jail for largely private and harmless conduct, even if they see some sort of electoral advantage to it. It may be "Liberal" but "liberal" it is not. It is the lack of liberalism in the Liberal party that caused me to leave it.

The other thing that separates us is I see no benefit in replacing Harper with Iggy. I've seen nothing from Iggy to suggest that having him in the PM's chair would improve the status quo on any of the "big issues" of today.

I'm still waiting to hear what these big important national issues are. And don't even say the economy or climate change because I've seen NOTHING different between the two parties on those fronts other than rhetoric.

Ted Betts said...

Ted - I think you are confounding the moral and the legal. Yes there is nothing legally different between the two acts cited but morally I think there is a world of difference.

"I think the difference between us is the difference between liberal and Liberal."

I'm not confounding them at all. In fact, the distinction is important to understand in order understand my point, which is why perhaps you still aren't getting it and still prefer to throw out insults.

And again you have inadvertently made my point. To you it is a very important moral issue. To most others, speed racing or drunk driving is a far greater moral question because of the harm it can cause others, a decidedly liberal point of view. My point that you have illustrated quite well is that what is that this your view has little to do with putting people in jail and everything to do with putting people in jail for this particular crime. You don't have nearly the same feeling about very similar things that could result in jail time for much more people.

And that is fine. That is your personal passion. But please don't pull an arrogant purist ideologue on me and tell me that I'm not a liberal because you say so. What makes a liberal or not does not change each year like some runway fashion. Smokin' dope has never been a big or defining issue among progressives. So give me a big break.

Many people, certainly most liberals including myself, think it is kinda silly to criminalize marijuana the way we do. Only a small group of liberals, though, and a tiny fraction of the population think it is a very important and pressing issue.

Frankly, it is a very ancillary issue and whether a few more people spend a few more months in jail for growing dope will not make a whit of difference. I frankly doubt if you will even see average jail times rise because cops are just not going to enforce it as much. That's what I mean by window dressing. What a privileged life we do live to think this is an issue of national importance when we have an economy bouncing around like a basketball, a government gutting our democracy and democratic institutions, when deficits at federal and provincial levels are killing our future, when conservatives are mounting an assault on the gun registry and legal aid is so underfunded.

There is a reason why the Liberal Party has never carried decriminalization on any electoral platform and why the NDP has never made it a priority either.

Good night.

KC said...

Ted - You may have a point if there was anything more than marginal consequence (amongst people who would actually vote Liberal) for opposing this bill. There is a big difference between going out and actively trying to change to status quo in a progressive direction and standing in the way of regression. Ignatieff could have easily prevented this bill with minimal effort. The Conservatives may have sent out a few blistering press releases (as they already have with the stalling in the Senate) but no harm would have resulted. It isnt the same thing as proposing legalization. Instead Ignatieff will be the first Liberal leader, as far back as I can recall, who actually assisted in making our drug laws less progressive and less rational. You keep referring to this as a "hill to die on" but it is nothing of the sort. It would have been but a minor inconvenience to refuse to lend the Liberal's assent.

As for affecting only a small number or people, Im sorry that you feel that a huge injustice visited on any number of people is not a big deal. It is quite telling that the Liberals have spent their year focusing on issues that DO affect a small number of people (detainee transfers, Omar Khadr, Abdulrazik, etc.) The next time security certificate come up I will assume that you wont care about that issue either as it only affects a small number of people too.

In light of all that I can only conclude that Ignatieff actually believes in this drug war crap and isnt nearly as "liberal" (or intelligent for that matter) as we are led to believe. A liberal may not go out and push for legalization but he wouldnt play along with this charade either.