When the Conservatives play demagogues

by PhilippeChassé on October 18, 2013 - 10:15pm

According to an article* published in the French newspaper La Presse the eighteenth of October, Ottawa wants to eliminate parole for serious crime recidivists. Rooted in the political platform of the Conservative Party of Canada since 2006, this bill could be achieved in the upcoming months. The Speech from the Throne was the moment chosen by the Conservative cabinet to put out of the dust this project. Canada’s minister of justice, Peter McKay, commented the future bill by saying it would only apply to the most violent and dangerous recidivists. As examples of crimes the law would apply to, the minister cited repeated sexual assaults on vulnerable people (such as children) and multiple murders. The intention of the government behind this bill is to avoid the possibility that perpetrators of those kind of crimes could possibly get out of jail somehow. In this way, Stephen Harper’s cabinet is claiming to act to protect the population. A criminologist from the University Simon Fraser, Neil Boyd, commented this proposal by saying that it wouldn’t change a lot the situation on the ground, but added that the bill would appeal to the population in favour of tougher laws on imprisonment. He qualified the project as “symbolic”. In this vein, McKay admitted that there are currently laws in Canada to avoid those criminals to be free, however, he said that the government wouldn’t leave anything for granted. It is currently impossible to know if the bill will be approved by the House of Commons. However, it is likely that the project will be adopted without much resistance because of the conservative majority in the government.

For once, I think that the Conservatives are actually right. However, who could be actually against this measure? This bill is, according to me, demagogic and electioneering. Everyone wants to live in a society free of fear and danger, and a very few people would like to give parole to these serious crime recidivists. In fact, I do believe that the majority of the population would like to see them in jail forever and I do agree with them. I personally believe that humans are imperfect even if they are rationalist. Errors are part of our human nature, I do believe we need to punish those errors, but also forgive them. Though, I don’t have the same point of view over recidivists of serious crimes: we can forgive once, but not twice. I also agree with this bill because I am totally against the Death penalty: I don’t think that as humans, we can decide who has the right to live and who doesn’t. Does killing someone by law makes us better than a killer? No. According to me, the best way to punish someone is to let him forever in jail with his acts on the self-consciousness. This bill goes in that way. As I stated above, I do believe that the Conservatives play demagogues with this project. I think that the laws in place are sufficient to avoid those jail-birds to get out. Nevertheless, I have no reason not to be in favour of this law, which in my sense, couldn’t bring negative. Nice move from the Conservative Party of Canada ahead of 2015’s elections.




I agree with everything you say, including your opinion on the death sentence. Killing is killing, no matter how it is done. However, I was willing to look the other way and not think too much about the sentence because I was opposed to the idea of letting serial killers out on parole. If this law were to be enacted in Canada, maybe the States would follow suit. I agree the sometimes the best thing for these people is not to be killed, it is to sit and think about what choices they made in life to have them end up in prison.
You have a very nice writing style that is easy to read. Your opinions are well stated, but not over bearing, which is good. You summarized the article very well, nice job!

As I intend to become a lawyer, most legal questions and issues catch my attention. This one is no exception. To begin with, I strongly support this Conservative project. In fact, I would advocate a general inquiry of the whole legal system.

In my opinion, granting conditional release after a sixth of the sentence is absolutely ridiculous. Even more when considering the “label” of the primary condition: Having a good behavior in prison. This may sound harsh and kind of a generalization, but what does it mean, “To have a good behavior” in prison? Not being the toughest of the toughest?! Please. What is it, if you have, for instance, ruined the life of dozens of people by fraud? Please!

Let’s look at another case that really pissed me off: Guy Turcotte’s trial (and sentence). How come a man who stabbed 46 times his children (and this is not exaggeration; it’s an actual fact!), after ingurgitating by himself windshield washer, get away with a “criminally non-responsible” judgment – and potentially only 90 days of internship in a psychiatric hospital?! That being said, I was not part of the jury, and I am in no position to judge. Furthermore, I know that my opinion is certainly biased (and likely fallacious). However, let’s point out that an appeal has been placed on this outcome (it is currently studied), and Ottawa acknowledged the absurdity of the situation by reforming the law regarding criminal non-responsibility…

Nonetheless, I disagree when you consider this project to be demagogic. Justice is apparently sick. And it’s the right (and obligation) of the government to fix it… as well as their privilege to decide how so. It’s the government duty to actually do and change things. For sure, any political project has, to some extent, a certain purpose – and may be part of a political strategy. However, that’s how it is, and it’s the same for any party in power; at some point, politics are, and will likely remain, demagogic, populist. That’s why I don’t consider this project to be more demagogic than any other. And if we are to apply this label to every motion that the Conservatives will propose until the 2015 elections, then the next two years could be really long…

More info on Guy Turcotte's case (La Presse): http://www.lapresse.ca/le-soleil/actualites/justice-et-faits-divers/2013....

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