Monday, April 05, 2010

Law and order talk

So, the PMO commented yesterday on a media report on the pardoning of sex offender Graham James:
"The prime minister has asked for explanation on how the National Parole Board can pardon someone who committed such horrific crimes that remain shocking to all Canadians," said Dimitri Soudas.

The ruling, he said, was made "without our government's consent or knowledge."

"The actions of this convicted sex offender shocked the conscience of a nation - one where the bond of trust between coaches and players in our national game is sacred," Soudas said.

Harper, he added, has asked Public Safety Minister Vic Toews "to propose reforms that will ensure that the National Parole Board always and unequivocally puts the public's safety first."
Response to the media on this one, to be expected from this PMO, hockey and a criminal justice issue wrapped up into one. You can take issue with the details of the statement, particularly the flourish about the sacred bond of trust in the national game, please. That's where the statement becomes political beyond an acceptable measured response. You can also surmise the unsettling effect on the independence of the Board going forward due to the Prime Ministerial demand for an explanation. But on the other hand, ultimately the Parole Board is accountable to Parliament and people will be upset about the decision so some kind of reaction is appropriate.

What might be notable, though, as context for the Harper PMO's reaction to the pardoning of a sex offender, is how interrupting their own legislative agenda by proroguing has meant that a bill on sex offenders has been delayed and has had to be re-introduced this month. The previous version of that bill was introduced on June 1st, 2009 in the last parliamentary session.

Talk versus action, they're much better at the former, not so good about actually doing anything about it.