(Certain) Liberals vowing to evolve a spine over crime bill

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(Certain) Liberals vowing to evolve a spine over crime bill

Original text in globe and mail, lbut it's purchase only so  I'm copying from a weed forum




Opposition vow to block get-tough measures; Tories won't back down


From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

November 5, 2008 at 4:21 AM EST

OTTAWA — Opposition MPs, including Liberals who have worked on justice

issues, say they would plunge the country into another federal

election before agreeing to a slate of Conservative proposals that

would see convicted criminals treated more harshly.

The measures, including tougher penalties for young offenders and the

reduced use of conditional sentences that allow criminals to serve

their time at home, are likely to be among the first tests of Liberal

willingness to challenge Stephen Harper's new minority government.

The Conservatives are not backing down from threats to make the

measures matters of confidence.

"I don't think there has been any change in our position around that,"

Kory Teneycke, spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, told The

Globe and Mail. "We are prepared to make them [justice issues]

confidence matters if necessary."

During the last session of Parliament, the Conservatives passed a law

that removed judges' ability to hand down conditional sentences for a

range of serious violent crimes.

As it was introduced, the legislation also stipulated incarceration

for many less-serious property crimes. But opposition members on the

House of Commons justice committee stripped non-violent offences from

the list, saying they should be eligible for conditional sentences.

Mr. Harper made it clear during the election campaign that he would

try again to require people who commit such crimes to serve time in

jail - and he would tolerate no revisions by the opposition. He also

said he would allow stiffer sentences, including the possibility of

life in prison, for criminals as young as 14 - a measure roundly

opposed in Quebec even though provinces could set the age at 16 within

their own jurisdictions.

After the election, Mr. Teneckye reiterated the Conservative resolve

to move the justice provisions through Parliament.

"If the other parties want to go into an election on criminal-justice

issues, I think we are prepared to call their bluff on that," he said

in an interview.

It is unclear just when the crime bills will be introduced in the

House of Commons. But the opposition has already indicated its

willingness to vote against them, even if it means a return trip to

the polls.

"If the government decides to make a confidence matter on this bill,

it's going to be its own responsibility." said Réal Ménard, the Bloc

Québécois justice critic. "We have a platform, we have a historical

view on this matter and we are not going to change our view."

Joe Comartin, the NDP justice critic, said there are some crime

proposals outlined by the Conservatives that his party supports.

But "bringing back the issue of conditional sentences, I think is

generally a non-starter," Mr. Comartin said. "If the Prime Minister is

prepared to put the country through another election over conditional

sentences for non-violent crimes, let him go ahead and try it. It's a

useless threat."

In the end, however, it depends on whether the Liberals sit on their

hands - as they did through repeated confidence votes during the last

session of Parliament. Many Liberal MPs emerged from a recent caucus

meeting to say abstaining is no longer an option.

Three Liberal members of the Commons justice committee are among the

most adamant that the party will not stand by as the Conservative

measures roll through the House.

Brian Murphy, a Liberal from New Brunswick, said it would be wrong to

oppose bills that have not yet been seen by Parliament and they could

be crafted in a way that the Liberals support.

But "I would say very clearly that abstaining as we did was not

helpful in this election for me," he said. "And I would be very

reluctant - given that I ran on the idea of being a fighter, being

very strident, and having 16 years of always standing up for people -

I would be very reluctant to abstain."

Larry Bagnell, a Liberal MP from the Yukon, said the question for both

his party and the Conservative government will be whether these issues

are serious enough to fight another election over.

"I can say that we will be making a strong case in our caucus against

this bill, for sure," Mr. Bagnell said.

Derek Lee, a Toronto-area Liberal, said "there is no way I am going to

sit on my hands. There is no way that these guys are going to get

their way."

The Conservative plan is "an ignorant, uninformed vision" of the

justice system and how it works, said Mr. Lee, adding that harsher

penalties don't work because criminals don't know the precise

sentences for the crimes they commit.

"I couldn't allow myself to vote in favour of such ill-advised

legislation, whether they call it confidence or not."

Believe it when I see it, but I hope they learned their lesson from this last election.



The Liberals would choose to volley crime as an election issue. They must have agreed to it with the Harpers at a private meeting downtown somewhere. D'Arcy McGee's pub perhaps, or while sopping spirits together at the Laurier like old times.

Chester Drawers

The Liberals are broke, they will have 20 MP's come down with voters flu and the Cons will get their way.


The Liberals have at least 20 MP's that would vote for those measures because they SUPPORT them. I would love to see this bluff by the Harpo the F. lead to an election but alas I also think the Liberals are useless and will show the same kind of backbone as their principles. They are both non existent.

___________________________________________________________________________________________ From North of Manifest Destiny

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Shakespeare has a line about Liberals who threaten to bring down Conservative minority governments.  The Scottish Play, Act V Scene V.


"It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."