Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The pardoner in chief

You may have heard that Harper was doling out pardons today:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that, as a result of the coming into force of Bill C-18, the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, Western farmers now have the freedom to sell their wheat and barley on the open market. He was accompanied by Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board. The Prime Minister also announced pardons for a group of farmers convicted under the old, unjust Canada Wheat Board monopoly. (emphasis added)
More from el Presidente:
To the authority of the Crown falls an ancient power; the Royal Prerogative of Mercy,” Harper said.
“It is a rare and significant thing for this power to be exercised. But ladies and gentlemen, today I am pleased to announce it will be exercised. The group of farmers convicted under the old unjust legislation of the Wheat Board monopoly will be pardoned by the government.
Headlines fit for a king: "Harper pardons farmers convicted years ago of selling grain in the U.S."

A rare and significant thing for the power to be exercised, he says. Well, it's rare and significant for a Prime Minister to make political hay out of it and act as if he is a President of the United States. In Canada, we have a Parole Board that exercises pardon powers and it's why we rarely hear elected politicians making such announcements. Makes it veer into the political and all and send a message that the political causes that a partisan government supports will elicit such results if laws are broken. Wonder if environmental protesters would warrant such mercy from Mr. Harper?

Were these farmers "very exceptional and truly deserving cases," as the Parole Board standard requires? Wonder how the whole process worked here.