column was published in the North
Shore News on
Nov. 22, 2000)
Liberal justice reform promises not met
By Leo Knight
Monday morning a 17-year-old boy was stabbed several times in
the neck while on his way into his high school in Calgary.
offence? It seems he owed the grand sum of $30 to another youth.
to pay the debt with cash, he paid with his life.
Canadian Alliance has tried to make justice issues a primary
focus in this campaign. The Chrétien-led Liberals are quick to
downplay any attempt to do this by saying, "What's the
problem? The crime rates are dropping." The Liberal's own
Web site even trumpets a lower national homicide rate as
evidence they are providing good government.
what this or any government can do to affect the homicide rate
is totally beyond any logical thought process. Yet, if it's
positive, they did it. Just ask them.
seven years, we have been waiting for a new Young Offenders Act.
For seven years the Liberals have been promising to bring in new
legislation to address youthful crime. They are still promising.
And promising. And promising.
of the planks of the Alliance platform is the mandated provision
of DNA samples for people charged with a serious criminal
offence. On the same day as the boy was killed in Calgary, I
listened to Liberal MP Raymond Chan on the Bill Good Show
talking about this specific issue.
actually said that he disagreed with this proposal because it
took away the presumption of innocence. Huh? Now I realize Chan
is a political lightweight, but to say something like that means
he is either incredibly stupid or incredibly ill-informed.
have, in this country, a piece of federal legislation called the
Identification of Criminals Act.
almost a century, police have been finger-printing criminals at
the time of arrest in what is called the "booking"
process. Is Chan saying the taking of a DNA sample is somehow
depriving an accused criminal of the presumption of innocence,
but the taking of fingerprints and photographs is not?
I'm on this topic, a Toronto newspaper interviewed another
particularly forgettable Liberal MP on the same question. That
bright light said he was against it because taking a forced
blood sample would violate the person's right to privacy.
pay attention closely. A DNA sample is obtained by taking a swab
of the inside of a person's cheek. That's it. It is no more
intrusive than sticking your tongue out for the doctor. In fact,
it's probably a hell of a lot less intrusive than fingerprinting
a particularly uncooperative subject.
tends to involve of lot of screaming, usually in pain, on the
part of the person being printed.
why try and argue facts with the Liberals? If facts were an
issue, they wouldn't even be in the race, let alone leading in
the national polls.
the prime minister just can't help himself. He gets caught with
his hand in the cookie jar, lobbying a man he appointed and
could dismiss, to obtain a loan from the government-owned
development bank, for a buddy of his and a former business
fact his pal is a convicted criminal with a dubious financial
track history that the bank didn't want to touch with a 10-foot
pole seems not to have bothered the ethically challenged prime
says the ethics commissioner has already cleared him of any
wrongdoing. He shrugs and says anyway it's "normal
operations" for him.
the first place, the ethics commissioner never looked into
anything done by the PM in this case. That inquiry was aimed at
a constituency aide for Chrétien. At the time that was done,
PMO spokesman, Peter Donolo, stated the PM had not taken an
active hand in the loan process. Another lie.
Stockwell Day and Joe Clark have called for an independent
investigation into the mess. Chrétien, for his part, describes
the calls from both leaders as "desperate" and
"hitting below the belt."
from a man who has conducted an incredibly effective character
assassination since day one in the campaign on Stockwell Day,
the only serious challenger for his job.
teenager died violently this week. What used to be settled with
fists in the schoolyard now is taken care of with a knife or
gun. Chrétien keeps promising to do something about it. But,
what he has actually done is use the power of his office to help
Are Canadians so foolish to give him another term?