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.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.
"(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]
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
(*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).