Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Tuesday Morning Links

- The Straight's Charlie Smith points out one important difference between the current political landscape and the one in which the Libs had their success in the mid-90s: rather than being able to rely on the pattern of opposite votes provincially and federally, they're stuck with tired provincial governments in Canada's three largest provinces.

Of course, one can fairly say that the provincial Libs in both Quebec and B.C. are somewhat less than fully identified with the federal party. But that only figures to create more problems: after all, lower-information voters may be less likely to note the difference, while those with greater involvement are split between multiple federal parties among already-shrinking pools of provincial support.

- Juxtaposition for the day: Vic Toews' statement on why he wants rape to be separated from other sexual assaults in criminal law:
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said earlier this year that the 1983 replacement of ‘rape' in the code with the broader term ‘sexual assault' created a “general basket description that causes all kinds of problems.”

Mr. Toews told a Senate committee that the change was “perhaps the biggest mistake in criminal law that the Parliament of Canada has ever made.”
And to see what Toews considers to be a serious mistake, the reason why the division was eliminated in the first place:
Ms. Kane, senior general counsel, co-authored briefing material for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson two days later that referred derisively to the “old, antiquated and narrow offence of rape.”

“The replacement of the antiquated rape offence by the current sexual assault offences reflects the reality that the sexual integrity of any and every victim can be violated by any form of non-consensual sexual activity.”
“The repeal of the rape offence was also accompanied by significant criminal law reforms to do away with outdated rules, myths and stereotypes,” Ms. Kane wrote in her advice to the justice minister.
But don't worry: the Cons are surely looking for other outdated rules, myths and stereotypes to entrench in law instead.

- Armine Yalnizyan frames this week's meeting of the Council of the Federation as a chance for premiers to step up to save Canada's census:
Now we need more than a hero, more than someone who says no. We need leaders. Elected officials who will capture in clear and resonant language what is at stake for Canadians everywhere, and define what we are saying yes to.

That voice could come from any point of the compass in this land of sensible counters and take-no-guff pragmatists.

Can the provincial leaders fix the census mess? Perhaps. If so, it will be because statesmanship eclipsed brinksmanship. And that's the type of leadership all Canadians want.
- And finally, Postmedia's Andrew Mayeda reports on the dangers of Arctic oil development, featuring both a 3-year time frame to drill a relief well in the event of a spill, and a complete lack of equipment available to do the job. But don't worry: the Cons' constant bleating that any criticism of their offshore drilling policy is anti-Canadian will surely prevent any harm.

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