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2 min

Moral panic of the week

What’s that? It’s been a few days since our last moral panic? Time to stir one up again – this time around convicted sex offenders who receive pardons. Obviously the government must do something about this! How can they possibly sit idly by while these horrible people do what is allowed under law? They must not only demand that the National Parole Board account for their actions, but they should start tinkering with the law as well. And while I’m not going to excuse his actions, there are very good points being raised by the critics of this, who point out that by taking away mechanisms like pardons, it takes away from offenders who’ve served their time and haven’t reoffended any incentive to keep up their good behaviour.

Not that it matters to the moral entrepreneurs in this government. I’m also struck by the way they must immediately demand answers from the arm’s length National Parole Board, when just weeks ago they refused to touch a provincial judicial decision on Rahim Jaffer’s plea-bargain with a bargepole. And while at least Vic Toews had the good sense to refute the PMO’s talking points by pointing out that it’s impossible for his office to keep tabs on every one of the 39,000 pardons issued every year, it doesn’t mean he’s still not talking tinkering. But here’s one of the big problems with this tinkering approach – sexual offences are actually a broad category, and include an unequal age of consent in this country, and drunken inappropriateness at office parties. It’s not just rapists and pedophiles, which is unfortunately how it gets boiled down in the media. In the government’s subsequent talking points, we need to remind ourselves that not all sexual offences are created equal.

And as if this government’s moral entrepreneurship wasn’t quite enough, who does the party send out to speak on the issue than Canada’s most intellectually bankrupt MP, Shelly Glover, who spent her time on Power & Politics spinning more fiction about the opposition voting down crime bills in committee (which they didn’t) than actually talking about the issue. At least Mark Holland called her out on it, but seriously? The government needs to stop putting her in the window. And while she keeps reminding the country that she’s a cop (and is only on a leave of absence, at that), if she can’t get her facts right for panel discussions on television, I would hate to see how she’s treating the cases she investigates. (The panel starts around 15:50 on the video).

A number of Parliamentary trips have been cancelled because the joint House-Senate committee that vets them said no. Apparently the price tags for some of these trips indicated that the Parliamentarians in question weren’t intending to fly economy or stay in cheap hotels. They’ll get to revise their plans and try for approval again, but remember – this is the era of fiscal responsibility. And if we have to forgo building and maintaining trade and diplomatic relations in doing so, so be it, I guess.

Conservative MPs took advantage of VIP Olympic tickets, when opposition members didn’t. Cue the outrage!

And Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon continues his tour of Canada’s North to highlight sovereignty issues.
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