Thursday, September 21, 2006

Now on to federal politics...

Last time I talked about provincial politics, and today I'm talking about federal politics.

Back in January, I voted for the Conservative Party, and I was happy to see Stephen Harper become Prime Minister of Canada, although I did have some reservations about him. One of the main reasons I voted for them was to bring some more integrity into government, because the Liberal Party really seemed to be lacking it. But now the Information Commissioner is claiming the new accountability laws will reduce the public's access to information and make it easier for the government to cover up corruption. That bill passed the House of Commons, so now the Senate is the last place where it could get changed. And Harper doesn't seem to like the idea of the Senate challenging the democratically elected House of Commons, at least when it comes to other bills.

Meanwhile, Harper seems to want to stifle criticism about the war in Afghanistan by saying something about our soldiers needing to know that our country strongly supports what they're trying to do. While I can sympathize with that (it would suck to do any job--let alone risk my life--knowing that the people I'm doing it for don't appreciate it), it makes a convenient excuse for the Prime Minister to hide behind when he's being criticized. As Thomas Jefferson was misquoted as saying, "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

And finally, we get to the issue of security certificates: those pieces of paper that allow the Canadian government to keep non-Canadians imprisioned indefinitely without a trial, based on secret evidence. If they would quickly deport these people without a trial if they're considered a threat to national security, I suppose that could be okay, but indefinite imprisionment without a fair trial shouldn't happen. And don't give me any of that crap about them "not deserving the very rights that they're fighting against by supporting terrorism." They're accused of supporting terrorism and they should have a fair trial to determine if that's true. Let's overcome evil with good here, rather than sink to the terrorists' level. And after what was revealed about the Maher Arar case this week, I don't think we can trust our government and police to always provide accurate evidence when the evidence can't be challenged by the accused.

But I'm not just blaming the Conservatives for all these problems. The Liberals have been quite involved in some of these things too. Maybe I'll vote for the Green Party next time.


Grace Choo said...

No one government is perfect, Alex.

Malaysia has I think a worse off record on imprisonment without a fair trial. It is called the ISA Act.

I don't think I know enough about the Act here to comment.

But on Arar's case, truly Canadians handed him over to the Americans. He was wronged. We can see that in hindsight. He should have been given a fair trial. But I guess with bureaucracy, they just can't and sometimes don't care enough about one person to act about it -- and that was what Canada did wrong. But you know what, I don't really think I disagree with an initial imprisonment without a trial when the person is suspected of causing harm to our society. It is really putting our society's safety as a priority. However, after detaining the person, the government SHOULD DEFINITELY give him a fair trial. That is my stance.

Alex said...

"No one government is perfect, Alex."
True. I might vote for them again. I might not.

And you're right about imprisonment. Imprisoning a person before a trial isn't always a bad thing. After all, we deny bail to people if the judge thinks they'd be a danger if they were let out, and I don't know of any way around this. My complaint was about imprisoning people indefinitely without a trial.