Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bizarre comments from Harper and Nicholson on the Charter's 25th anniversary

A Conservative Minister speaks and he's stuck in some kind of bizarro world time warp:
This echoed Justice Minister Rob Nicholson's speech about rights, which he delivered to Ottawa high-school students yesterday.

Telling the students that he first became interested in politics after writing a letter to then-prime minister John Diefenbaker, Nicholson noted that it was this leader who brought Canada the Bill of Rights in 1960 – 47 years ago and 22 years before the Charter was introduced.

"The Bill of Rights is still in place today, but for the most part, our courts refer to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Both have positively contributed to Canada and its people."
This latter sentence is just odd. Technically accurate but the Bill of Rights is largely irrelevant today. Harper's Conservatives just can't restrain themselves from injecting partisanship into any given issue, here a simple anniversary of the Charter. I mean, how hard is it to f*%# that up? This is our version of apple pie, for pete's sake. Yet we hear this amateur puffery of the Conservatives having some claim to being first on the scene with their Bill of Rights. Who cares, Minister? The Charter was patriated by a Liberal prime minister, yes, but there were certainly Progressive Conservatives who were involved as well. Like Bill Davis, whom former PM Jean Chretien respectfully paid tribute to yesterday. No such grace reciprocates from the Harper crowd, however.

Harper himself - almost winning a hatorade award for this comment - even seemed to mock the Charter in the House yesterday:
"The Leader of the Opposition knows we have a difference of opinion on the efficacy of some of these matters. They may be important things to lawyers, but I look at some of the things this government has done to promote rights in this country, like addressing the historical injustice of the (Chinese) head tax, dealing with victims of hepatitis C, with the (aboriginal) residential-schools legacy," the Prime Minister said.
They may be important things to lawyers....says our Prime Minister about the rights enshrined in the Charter.

With comments like this, is it any wonder why Harper continues to languish in minority government polling territory?