Wednesday, March 10, 2010

 

ONLY IN CANADA? YOU SAY...

The Prime Minister has no choice but to demonstrate immediate leadership and clearly distance himself and his government from the outrage over this Rahim Jaffer business.

Yesterday's verdict and sentence in Ontario Provincial Court risks permanently derailing Mr. Harper and the Conservatives' "get tough on crime agenda"...a cornerstone of the party's national platform. Lest he forget: Just before the Vancouver Olympics, Harper used the aggressive passage of his crime bill as justification for packing the Canadian Senate with Conservative faithful and neo-con supporters.

Rahim Jaffer, a former Alberta Tory Member of Parliament, and his wife, Status of Women Minister, Helena Guergis; once a young Ottawa sweetheart power couple, have become an albatross chained to the Prime-Minister's neck. And...unless dealt with post haste...risk becoming a lightening rod for the public venom which Harper must avoid before the G8 and G20 leaders descend on southern Ontario this spring.

Ms Guergis herself still has not really explained her tirade and tantrum at Charlottetown Airport just a couple of weeks back. Her husband's slap on the wrist $500 fine after charges of driving drunk and possession of cocaine were dropped mock "zero-tolerance" Justice Minister Rob Nicholson's own agenda. They are of significant embarrassment to Stephen Harper himself.

As a political pundit observed yesterday of the Helena Guergis tantrum at the Charlottetown Air Canada gate in late January: Had any other Canadian thrown their boots at security agents, and banged on a locked ramp door to try and break-in...they would have been..."Tasered and immediately arrested."

Since Nancy Reagan's "say no to drugs campaign" of the 1980's; experience in the United-States has pretty well demonstrated that get tough on crime agendas and zero-tolerance programs really don't work all that well. They cause a backlog in courtrooms and costly over-crowded jail cells but not much else. However, since Mr. Harper's Conservative Party has anchored the government's own agenda on this premise; the Prime-Minister is now compelled to confront this travesty and deal with it expeditiously, or expect fall-out from the perception his "power-couple" creates of a two-tiered Canadian justice system.

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