Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Not the Canada they voted for

Sandy White, a former aide to Christian Paradis, writes in the Globe in opposition to the omnibus crime bill. While he or she (sorry, don't know Sandy's gender) still claims to support Harper near the end of the op-ed, these are the seeds of doubt about his agenda from within the Conservative base that need to be sown. It's very helpful for that reason.

White takes issue with the crime bill's emphasis on punishment over rehabilitation. The op-ed is framed in terms of values. The writer is questioning whether it sits well with the Canada they know:
With the government’s omnibus crime bill set to become law, a critical question we should ask is whether we are becoming a society that fosters hope or one that extinguishes it. While Canada is a country of promise in many ways, the government’s course of enacting legislation that favours incarceration and punishment over treatment and rehabilitation stands in conflict to the values that make it such a formidable nation.
I am a Tory, but like many others who cast their ballot the same way I did not vote for the draconian and misguided measures in this regressive legislation.
This suggests that on the crime bill and perhaps on other issues (the Kyoto withdrawal, for example), the Conservatives are interpreting their electoral mandate too broadly and may continue to do so. As a result, some of their own voters may question their support in coming years when they actually start to feel the difference between what they thought they were voting for and what they're getting instead. That's what is jarring about the White op-ed. This person is saying hey, I didn't vote to go this far and this is not what we do in Canada. The value system is being shaken up.

In this era of information overload and busy lives, getting more people to feel that difference and have it stick, something that has not happened to date, will be key.