Toronto Centre offers an interesting preview of what each party’s plans are for the next federal election. This is more true of the Conservatives than anyone else because, as we now know thanks to the firing of the previous Conservative candidate Mark Warner, they are running a “cookie cutter” campaign that is to be deployed identically into every riding across the country. One particular aspect of this campaign is a series of flyers that portray all issues as being black and white—or, rather, red and blue—with the Conservatives on one side and the Liberals on another. They are extremely simplistic, and feed my previously stated theory that Stephen Harper thinks you’re stupid. For example, their flyer on taxes simply says “higher / lower” (applied to the Liberals and Conservatives respectively), and their flyer on crime simply says “tough / soft.”
Watch the following video, recorded during last Thursday’s debate at Rosedale United Church, to see how that’s working out for them. This is Bob Rae at his best, Don Meredith close to his worst, and me somewhere in the middle.
Further, here’s my opening statement from the same debate.
I continue to be humbled by all the great people who are endorsing my campaign, often without even being asked. If you’ve been following this site or received a letter from us, you know that they include prominent people from all of the old-line parties, as well as a diverse group of community leaders from across the riding. Along that line, I received the below letter from author and crime journalist James Dubro, who, as you’ll see, has an impressive CV. James, thank you for your confidence and your support.
The Green Party programs to address crime are the most progressive and sensible one of all the parties. The legalization of pot is an important step to taking some of the fuel out of the enormous growth and power of gangs and organized crime in our society. The war on drugs failed a long time ago, and making criminals out of users is a mistake and only helps the criminal mobs in Canada, not society.
Moreover the Green Party overall program on the environment is by far the most sensible and coherent. We need elected Green Party Members of Parliament to help improve our quality of life. Most of the other parties are tired, cynical, and not credible (some are even corrupt!). They have had their chance and failed. Now is the time to give some Greens like Chris Tindal and Elizabeth May a chance to bring some rational alternatives in Parliament.
Chris, we need idealistic, rational, intelligent, dedicated people like you in Parliament to make this country work better. The Green Party is for a progressive 21st-century-Canada while the older parties—especially the Liberals and the Conservatives—are stuck in the 20th and 19th centuries.
Former President of the Crime Writers of Canada
Former Chair of the Church Wellesley Neighbourhood Police Advisory Committee
Former Chair of the 52 Division Community Police Liaison Committee
Former Director of the Canadian National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association
As a disclaimer, I happen to think that the oft-repeated phrases “tough on crime” and “soft on crime” are near meaningless. Too often, the stuff we’re told is “tough” is either ineffective or damaging (see mandatory minimums and the presumption of guilt), while the stuff we’re told is “soft” would actually lessen the incidence of crime (see the legalization of marijuana).
That being said, the Harper Conservatives want to get “tough,” so let’s get tough. And if we’re going to start somewhere, we might as well start with our own government.
Stephen Harper’s government is breaking international law. By failing to even try to meet our Kyoto targets, we have turned our back on the world and become an international embarrassment.
The federal Conservatives are accused of breaking election spending limits by $1.2 million during the last federal election campaign, which they only narrowly won. The scheme involved circumventing legal spending limits by funneling money through local campaigns in order to pay for national advertising. Elections Canada is of the opinion that this is not legal. But, just when it was starting to become news, Harper attacked Elections Canada over the almost-non-issue of whether or not Muslim women can be forced to show their faces before voting. The distraction worked (with the added bonus that it made Elections Canada look like the bad guys) and the Conservative AdScam disappeared from public view, just in time for the conservatives to attempt to block a house committee investigation into the potentially illegal spending (which they eventually succeeded in doing by proroguing Parliament.)
The federal Conservatives are accused of breaking the law with regards to how they collect and use private information about citizens, triggered by the discovery that they had created a list of Jewish Canadians. Their defence has ranged from “we didn’t do it” to “sure we did it but so did those other guys.”
I don’t know how Harper can afford the constant repairs to his glass house. He must have a great arrangement with a window contractor. Regardless, if Harper wants to get tough on crime, he needs to start with himself. Then, once he’s removed the plank from his own eye, we can talk.