Today's Prediction: Mayhem
Later today, the Parliament of Canada will vote on extending the Anti-Terrorist Act sections regarding investigative hearings and preemptive detentions. I now summon all of my unholy powers of prognostication and predict the following:
1. The extension will not pass
2. The government will instantly launch into a tirade about the opposition being "soft on terror"
3. The opposition renew its demands that Harper apologize for his earlier smear
4. The media will eat this up and feed the frenzy more
And for the next two weeks, we will hear nothing but angry recriminations from all sides, with everyone painting the other guy as the most evil of evil.
Firstly both the Liberals and Conservatives have flip-flopped on this issue, both for political reasons. In October, during the hearings on this in committee, both agreed to extend the measures for 3 years, provided they were not used for past investigations and so long as they were to be used only for "imminent threats". But Stephen Harper and the government decided not to accept these recommendations, instead trying to keep the measures in place as is. For 6 months they did nothing, expecting this to be rubber stamped, despite not having been used since they were passed. The Liberals under Dion decided as well for political reasons, to ignore what they agreed to in committee and come out against the measures with only a few weeks to go, stirring controversy.
Now, I oppose the measures, and indeed the whole act on principle, but that makes me no friend of Dion in this. This seems more of a move designed to score political points and attack the Conservatives, than anything else. If he were truly principled, he wouldn't have supported creating the measures in the first place.
The fact is, both the Liberals and Conservatives are manipulating this for politics, not for policy.
As I have pointed out previously, in your lifetime you are in more danger of being hit by a car, or to drown or to die taking prescription drugs than to die in a terrorist event. But according to some, if you suggest that giving the state extraordinary legal measures and powers is too high a price to pay to protect us from something so unlikely, you are "soft on terror." How absurd. It is a waste of resources and does not protect us from anything. If thinking that erosion of civil liberties and vast spending on a security infrastructure is too high a price to pay for such a small threat makes one "soft on terrorism" than I am proudly "soft on terrorism" and "steadfast for liberty."
Likewise, at a time when crime is near a 30-year low, some feel it necessary to change the rules in order to get judges on the bench who will be "tough on crime". Of course overlooking that since crime is low and continues to drop, there is no crime to get tough on and no need to politicize the judiciary. Well if not buying into the "tough on crime" mythos when crime rates have been falling for 17 years makes me "soft on crime" than I am proudly so. There is no reason to "get tough on crime" when the crime rate is falling.
Its clearly no longer about the policy, or about the action or about honest debate. Its about who can scare us the most into voting for them. The Conservatives are using the terrorist and crime bogeymen to scare us. The Liberals are using the Conservatives to scare us, with their "hidden agenda". Both are taking turns with the environment, in a cage match for the bottom of the barrel.
Nothing of substance is getting done because the only thing happening is maneuvering for power using playground bullying and name calling. It the politics of fear and anger, rather than substance and action.
So watch my prediction. The circus will start in a few hours. And after its is all as said and done, nothing of substance will become of it all. Another election, another minority, slaking for that knockout punch that gives it the temporary dictatorship called a majority. More squabbling in order to get power for power's sake. On and on, possibly for years.
I wonder what it will take for people to refuse to vote for these politicians? Or to refuse to vote at all when they have no real choice.
Perhaps only time. Sit back and let the fun begin. it is going to be a very long time before there is any civility in parliament again, if indeed there ever was.