Quantity, Quality, and Government

May 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

In today’s Globe and Mail newspaper, Professor Tom Flanagan – professor of political science at the University of Calgary and a former campaign manager for the Conservative Party of Canada – argues that a number of issues currently hurting the governing Conservatives would not have arisen were it not for their having grown the government. Flanagan points to three examples. The Conservatives created a $1-billion Green Infrastructure Fund, pursuant to which former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer is alleged to have sought subsidies, such that there is now speculation that he did not comply with lobbying rules. As chair of the G8 and G20 summits, Stephen Harper chose to promote foreign aid for maternal health, excluding funds for abortions, thereby reigniting the abortion debate in Canada. And the Harper government cut funding to Toronto’s gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender Pride parade, redirecting those funds to non-gay events, and thereby (deliberately?) creating the impression that Conservatives are anti-homosexuality. Flanagan’s conclusion:

Rahim Jaffer, abortion, the Toronto Gay Pride parade – these three issues have recently involved the Conservative government in heated debate. There is a common thread to these seemingly unrelated issues. They all illustrate what happens to a conservative government when it increases, rather than decreases, the size of the state.

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Harper is not Harper: the libertarian Conservative delusion

May 21, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

Libertarian Conservative writer Gerry Nicholls wrote a blog post on the National Post’s “Full Comment” blog the other day in which he did his best to argue that A is not A. His subject was a book by Marci MacDonald titled “The Armageddon Factor”, in which she writes of the influence that evangelical Christians have over Canada’s Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, and over matters of policy in Canada. The thrust of his argument is that the book will not succeed in turning people away from supporting the Harper Conservatives, but that it may actually drive social (read religious) Conservatives into the Harper Conservative camp. I see at least three problems with this theory. Read more

Tolerance, Libertarianism, and the Conservatives' Religious Culture War

May 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

A strategy is emerging. Dare to point out the influence that religion is having upon government policy, and the defenders and apologists for such a mixture of religion and government will pretend that the condemnation of that mixture is somehow a call for religious people to be denied the freedom to air their views. For many, what may be more surprising is the observation that libertarians – a group that claim to be in favour of individual freedom – can be found amongst those defenders and apologists. Read more

Cornies, Coren, and the Conservatives: all Sun, no light

May 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Last Monday, (May 10, 2010), Canada’s Conservative Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, decided to surrender Canadian activist and publisher Marc Emery for extradition to the USA. Emery faces no charges in Canada, but is wanted by the USA for having sold cannabis seeds to Americans via Canada Post. The decision has led to anti-Conservative outrage and protests across the country, and major newspapers have covered the developments. Perhaps most noteworthy, Canada’s national Globe and Mail newspaper reported Thursday that a group opposing the Conservatives’ decision to extradite Emery occupied the riding office of Conservative MP James Moore, where a Canadian licensed to use marijuana for medical reasons lawfully rolled joints on Moore’s desk, in protest. The Globe and Mail newspaper even posted a video of the event to its website. Read more

Conservatives' Emery Extradition Shocks the Conscience of the Nation

May 11, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

Canada’s Justice Minister, Conservative MP Rob Nicholson (member for the riding of Niagara Falls) today decided to surrender Canadian citizen Marc Emery for extradition to the United States. Arrested on Canadian soil in 2005, and on bail since then, Emery is wanted by America for having sold cannabis seeds to Americans and others around the world via Canada post between 1998 and 2005.

Although selling cannabis seeds is technically illegal in Canada, Canadian authorities have rarely ever charged any of the numerous seed sellers doing business in Canada, in broad daylight. And the few that have been charged – including Emery – have received only small fines (in the $200 range) or community service as a sentence. Nicholson’s surrender of Emery was unconditional, and – though he was authorized by Canada’s Extradition Act to seek assurances that Emery would not be prosecuted except for the less serious offenses to which he has already agreed to plead guilty – Nicholson shockingly chose not to do so. Read more

Harper Government Faces Sovereignty Test Monday

May 9, 2010 by · 6 Comments 

Canada’s federal Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, has until 4:00 PM on Monday, May 10, 2010, to decide whether or not to grant an American request that Canadian individual freedom activist and publisher Marc Emery be extradited to the USA. Emery has been on bail since November of 2009, while awaiting a decision by the Justice Minister. Because Nicholson still has made no decision, Emery will attend court again tomorrow at 9:00 AM will request an extension of his bail unless Nicholson has made a decision by 4:00 PM. The Justice Minister’s lawyers may also attend court tomorrow to request an extension of the time he is permitted (by Canada’s Extradition Act) to make the decision. If extradited, Emery faces 5 years hard time in a US federal prison, a sentence that – by Canadian standards – would be a cruel and unusual punishment. Read more

Policy Debates: What For?

May 7, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Over at the’s Shotgun blog, Hugh MacIntyre reports on the Canadian Conservative government’s reintroduction of a bill that would impose mandatory minimum sentences for various cannabis and drug-related activities.  Introduced as Bill S-10 yesterday, its predecessor, Bill C-15, died as a result of the Harper government’s decision to prorogue Parliament (i.e., to end one session of Parliament, and begin a new one).  It is indeed likely the case that government was prorogued precisely so as to kill C-15. Read more