Friday, May 26, 2006

Deja vu all over again

The government, with seeming inspiration from the late Chuck Cadman is introducing a bill to criminalize street racing. Stephen Harper made the announcement in BC, where there have been a high number of such deaths.

"These are measures that are very much in line with Chuck's private member's bill, because just like him and so many other tireless advocates, our government is committed to making our streets safer." -Stephen Harper, May 25, 2006

Good for them.

Of course, something seemed vaguely familiar about that law. Oh that's right, it is the same bill that was introduced by Irwin Cotler during the last session of Parliament, in Bill C-65. The same bill that the entire Conservative caucus voted against.

Seems also they neglected to talk to Dona Cadman, Chuck's widow, despite saying that they had consulted with her. According to the Ottawa Citizen:

"But Dona Cadman, who endorsed winner New Democrat Penny Priddy in her husband's old riding in the last election, said she wasn't invited to the announcement and wasn't even aware it was happening.

"(Harper) said there would be an announcement shortly," she said. "He didn't tell me where, when, how or anything else. I would have loved to have been there."

Cadman said she couldn't comment on the proposed bill's merits because Toews had not given her the details." - Ottawa Citizen, May 26, 2006 [empahsis mine]

The Liberals did not introduce Chuck's exact bill because they determined that it would have been in violation of the Charter, because the accused would have to prove they were not racing. Such a "reverse onus" clause was already overturned by the Supreme Court as a violation of the Charter in 1986 in R. v Oakes.

So, we have the Prime Minister anouncing a bill on street racing, which he previously voted against, as if it is new, wonderful legislation from the Conservatives. He invokes the memory of an idealistic, principaled Independant and former Reform party member to give it some cachet while in BC. He claims to have consulted with his widow, despite her not having seen the legislation and not being at the announcement.

Seems to me we have some shameful pandering and flip-flopping by the Conservatives here. Seems like they are pulling and election-style tidbit out of their hat, which they so loudly denoucned the Liberals for doing.

I think the Conservative themselves were prophetic last year -

"We now have more phony bills using Chuck Cadman. It is shameful. We should honour Chuck and pass Chuck's bill. Promises were made by the Prime Minister to honour Chuck." - Mark Warawa, CPC Member for Langely, Hansard 18 October 2005

Shameful indeed.

(*Note the new act is not yet on Legisinfo. The new act may be a very good act. I will examine it on its merits when the information is available and see how it really compare to Cadman's act. This post is more about the hypocricy and opportunitstic manner in which the Prime Minister used Chuck Cadman).

10 Comments:

At 4:38 PM, Anonymous DazzlinDino said...

Politics is becoming more and more depressing the more I research it. I'm moving to Venus.....

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger John Murney said...

Great column, Mike.

 
At 9:46 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Dazz buddy, you and me both.

I can stand that I may disagree with Conservatives on matter of policy. After all policy can change. But even I thought Harper was going to be different, better and even more refreshing than the Libs. I truly though it was going to different.

After all, you and I did a hell of a good job at BPOC in working it out.

So far, nothing is different. In some ways, its worse.

Luckily I'll be up to my eyeballs in work over the next month to let it get to me.

Go Oilers.

John,

Thanks man, I really appreciate that coming from you.

 
At 2:41 AM, Blogger Candace said...

"*Note the new act is not yet on Legisinfo. The new act may be a very good act. I will examine it on its merits when the information is available and see how it really compare to Cadman's act. This post is more about the hypocricy and opportunitstic manner in which the Prime Minister used Chuck Cadman"

At the risk of sounding a tad bitchy, should we wait & read the bill before trashing it?

Having watched Donna Cadman on Mike Duffy Live, I'm questioning who is being opportunistic here. I lived in Surrey when their son was murdered, and (I seem to recall, but could be wrong) probably voted for Chuck before moving to Vancouver. I would like to think that, if it were my spouse, I'd be happy his wishes were remembered and leave the sniping to another day, but... I'm not in her shoes & am only guessing.

 
At 2:42 AM, Blogger Candace said...

PS: exPMPM used the Charter & SCC as excuses whenever he didn't want to do something. Personally, I'd question the validity of that argument and kudos to PMSH if he's willing to push the envelope.

Times change, after all.

 
At 8:50 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Candace,

I guess I wasn't being clear enough. I am not trashing the legislation at all, because I have not read it.

I am just saying the PMSH invoked Chuck's name and implied Dona was consulted, yet Dona had not read the legislation. He claimed she supported him when she said nothing of the sort.

I also point out that last year, the entire Conservative caucus voted against a similar bill, but now they are presenting it as new, bold legislation in honour of Chuck? Come on.

As for the Charter arguments, this is not a case of "might violate the Charter" but and absolute case of WILL violate the Charter. Chuck's original legislation, as well meaning as it was, had a reverse onus clause in it - an accused had to prove they weren't racing, a version of guilty until proven innocent. This was already struck down by the SCC in 1986, as I indicate above.

Now perhaps the new CPC legislation doesn't have it. If that't the case, good, but the government now looks foolish for proesenting a bill they previously opposed, to a person. Or it does have the reverse onus, in which case they are preseting legislation doomed to be struck down (and probably unanimously in the first court case), wasting taxpayers money and Parliament's time.

 
At 11:31 PM, Blogger Pete said...

IMO any bill that does not recognize that people will street race regardless of its legality and provide some legal venue (or suggests the possibility of this) is doomed to fail. Those who race will continue to do so.

I personally am terrified of street racers. I can here them a few nights a week going down the road thats on the other side of the houses behind mine and have seen them while walking home a number of times. I can't believe there hasn't been an accident as they rarely stop in time for red lights...

Only by both (a) cracking down on street racing in the streets and (b) providing a supervised venue for racing (i.e. an old stadium, closing a series low density back roads outside of the city twice a month, ect) the problem can be solved. Similar projects have succeeded in a few places in the States and are worth looking at before anything Draconian (like Reverse Onus) is proposed.

 
At 1:13 PM, Blogger wonderdog said...

Pete, venues for racing do exist.

I have known, in my workplaces, both amateur stock car racers and amateur drag racers.

 
At 2:34 AM, Anonymous Ti-Guy said...

At the risk of sounding a tad bitchy, should we wait & read the bill before trashing it?

Whoa. She cautioned being bitchy in the same breath as she took to being a bitch.

Get off the stage, Candace. You're ridiculous.

 
At 4:12 AM, Anonymous Ti-Guy said...

At the risk of sounding a tad bitchy, should we wait & read the bill before trashing it?

Everyone stop doing everything while everything is explained to Candace.

Candace, are you actually capable of going to a library, reading a book, and finding answers for yourself?

 

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