Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stockwell Day was Never Pro-life But Always Pro-death

Stockwell Day once said that he believed that even young offenders, who commit violent acts, should be given the death penalty.

And yet he calls himself Pro-life. Hardly.

While he knows that Canadians do not support the death penalty and said so in a referendum, he still really likes the idea and has found an underhanded way to at least get some pleasure out of the power to kill another human being.

By announcing that the government would no longer go to the aid of Canadians sentenced to death in other countries, he has spit in the face of everything that sets Canadians apart from many other nations. Following the commentary by Jonathan Kay of the National Post, are video protests from prominent Canadians.

Day probably plays them when he's feeling sexy and wants to set the mood.

Jonathan Kay on Stockwell Day, the death penalty, and the monster from Red Deer
November 02, 2007,
National Post

Twenty-five years ago, two native Americans from the Blackfeet Nation in northwestern Montana picked up a Red Deer, Alta. hitchhiker named Ronald Smith. When they stopped for a bathroom break, Smith followed the two into the woods and shot them in the back of their heads with a .22 rifle. He later said that he just wanted to experience what it was like to kill someone, and that the act was “no big deal.”

Smith then drove off in the victims’ car, and was later arrested in California. The killer, who is now 50, faces death by lethal injection in Montana for his crimes. This week, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said the Canadian government doesn’t have a problem with that. Most Canadians, I suspect, do.

It goes without saying that Smith is a malignant creature, and deserves no earthly interregnum between incarceration and Hell: By Smith’s own admission, his two murders were motivated by nothing more than a desire to experience the ultimate evil. But it is an inescapable fact that our Parliament long ago rejected the death penalty as immoral. Until this collective national judgment is formally reversed, it is inappropriate for our government to stand mute as a Canadian is subjected to a punishment in the United States that we ourselves would never permit.

In such cases as Smith’s, the usual course has been for Canadian authorities to petition the Americans to spare the death penalty, either by commuting the sentence to life imprisonment or sending the criminal in question back to Canada to serve his time in a local penitentiary. But on Thursday, Mr. Day told the Commons that “We will not actively pursue bringing back to Canada murderers who have been tried in a democratic country that supports the rule of law … It would send a wrong message. We want to preserve public safety here in Canada.”

Both NDP Leader Jack Layton and Liberal leader Stéphane Dion have attacked Mr. Day for, in effect, tacitly condoning capital punishment. And they have a point. Yes, the United States is “a democratic country that supports the rule of law,” but it also one that has come to a different conclusion on the fundamental moral question of whether it is ever permissible for the state to take a human life in the service of criminal justice. With his announcement, Mr. Day is either (1) falsely suggesting that this difference in outlook isn’t worth making a diplomatic fuss about, even though a man’s life is at stake; or (2) indicating that this government truly does support capital punishment, notwithstanding the three-decade old ban on the practice that’s been in place in our own country (not to mention a 2001 Supreme Court of Canada decision that effectively declared the practice unconstitutional).

Both of these implications reflect poorly on the government. If Stephen Harper’s party seeks to overturn our nation’s stance on such an important issue, the proper place to do so is Parliament — not a passing communiqué involving a single Canadian monster awaiting a cocktail of Pancuronium Bromide and Potassium Chloride.

Bob Rae Speaks Out

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Maude Barlow Speaks Out

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