What really bugs Conservatives about the Supreme Court prostitution ruling

Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court today delivered a landmark ruling on prostitution. My colleague Daniel Proussalidis has the news here and Justice Minister Peter MacKay has released a statement in response.

Another colleague this morning remarked that reaction among those who vote for candidates of MacKay’s party, i.e. The Conservative Party of Canada, is likely to be mixed: The libertarian set will see nothing wrong at all with what the Court is saying. The social conservatives, on the other hand, will be terribly distressed.

But both libertarians and social conservatives are likely to be upset at the fact that these decisions — landmark decisions — are not being made by any legislature or by any government that must regularly defend its decisions to voters, but instead are being made by judges.

Employment Minister Jason Kenney was asked about this decision at a press conference he gave in Calgary on another matter hours after the release of the court ruling. Kenney sums up this ‘conservative’ objection: “I think that in our system of government there is an understandable primacy of Parliament as the democratic deliberative process and that my own view is that the judiciary should be restrained at the exercise of judicial power in overturning a democratic consensus. Having said that, we of course respect the independence of the judiciary and its role. We will review the decision and determine what is the necessary next step to ensure the protection of vulnerable women from sexual exploitation.”

Maclean’s political editor Paul Wells talks about what Kenney is getting at in his book The Longer I’m Prime Minister and while I’m going to quote a big chunk from that book here on this topic, there is more in the book … Continue reading What really bugs Conservatives about the Supreme Court prostitution ruling

The Longer He's Prime Minister

PM-Elect Harper
i snapped this pic on Stephen Harper’s first day as prime minister-elect, the day after the 2006 general election, on his campaign plane winging it back from Calgary to Ottawa. This sight — Harper scrumming reporters on his plane or anywhere else was about to become an increasingly rare sight and, seven years on, is something almost never seen.

I’ve just finished reading Paul Wells’ The Longer I’m Prime Minister, a book I’m happy to recommend to Harper-haters and Harper-lovers alike largely because of the way Wells treats his subject:

I offer no blanket endorsement of the twenty-second prime minister. Much of what he has done makes me angry; much more is open to serious debate. But too many people in this country have spent too much time trying to ignore Harper, or to dismiss him, or, with varying degrees of ineptitude, to defeat him. He endures. I figure it is not too soon to try to understand hi . . . Readers who still cannot bring themselves to believe he is the elected prime minister of this country not only misunderstand Stephen Harper. They also misunderstand Canada..

The Harper-lovers will love paragraphs like this: Continue reading The Longer He's Prime Minister

For Media Elites Only: Are we sure we're right to laugh at that Throne Speech?

This ad — which the Conservative Party of Canada aired on TV during the 2006 election in a successful attempt to unseat Liberal prime minister Paul Martin — still makes me laugh. Beep Beep! See? You’re smiling, aren’t you?

After all, I’m a sophisticated Media Elite and the production values alone on this ad are enough to make one roll one’s eyes, followed by a condescending chuckle. And don’t get me started on the candidate’s hair! Why it looks like it was done in a hair salon in Wadena! (Media Elites will all get that joke; I’m so sorry you won’t).

And, I must say, as a Media Elite, I laughed at a lot of things  Paul Wells had to say about today’s throne speech. Not only, in my estimation, was he right in his assessment of today’s Speech from the Throne, he was witty and right. That’s not easy to do, folks.  And since I’ve got over feeling jealous that I didn’t write what he did, I’m now happy to quote from this piece: “In April, 2006, after the Harper Conservatives first formed a government, they made a great show of delivering one of the shortest Throne Speeches in modern times: 2,445 words, the equivalent of a mere three Jeffrey Simpson columns.”  (Again: Apologies for including a joke intended largely only for Media Elites who still read Simpson.)  That’s just the second sentence of Paul’s piece but I’m sure a sly grin had already spread across Paul’s face at that point as he warmed up to his topic. And, of course, I realize I shouldn’t giggle. Simpson and I once got paycheques from the same paymaster. The Media Elite world is a small one. But still. Continue reading For Media Elites Only: Are we sure we're right to laugh at that Throne Speech?