Here I sit, in the middle of the great Christian Empire, in the southern USA. The land where if it has anything to do with a woman's body or two guys kissing, the men will set it all straight. Being Canadian, I have always felt a little smug when I visited the Empire. Generally Canada seemed to be more progressive, we didn't like to get into shooting wars and respected human rights. Of course measuring our efforts up against the Empire did set a pretty low bar to leap over. The smugness is gone. I never had a right to it in the first place.
We did recognize queer rights way before the Empire. We did leave abortion to women. We treated most cases of pot possession as minor, you certainly didn't go to jail. Our health care was universal. We said the right things about the environment and we banned land mines and the death penalty is long gone. And banning assault weapons and creating a national long gun registry was pretty good.
The list above is good. Banning land mines was easy. Generally we're never in a position to use them anyway. Health care access use to be good, then we slayed the deficit by cutting health, then forgot we did it so we could spend more on health care. Signing the Kyoto Agreement was awesome, doing nothing is priceless as the ad says. Six plants or a single marijuana cookie now means jail time. The Long gun registry is gone now.
It had only be a matter of time before abortion reared its head. Mainstream Canada has long accepted the current state of affairs. Prime Minister Harper being shrewd as he is, knows this. To ensure his chance at majority government, he said gay marriage and abortion were not on the agenda, and in any case the Supreme Court was a check on his abilities to change these things.
It was truly astounding that he had to say these things. Yet it was enough for him to get some extra votes, now he has a majority and as many of us suspected, he is acting as if he has absolute power. They limit debate on legislation. They vote down every opposition amendment. They reallocate government money without parliamentary approval. They have ignored a court decision that said they broke the Rule of Law.
What's next? That question was answered yesterday by Conservative MP, Stephen Woodworth. Woodworth says he simply wants to look at the law and determine when a fetus becomes a human being. Here we go folks. Harper will have a tough time keeping back bench MPs in line here. Expect a vote on a motion and or a private members bill in the next year.
Right after that issue is debated, we will likely get a chance to re-visit capital punishment.
I don't expect that a Harper Government would support a private members bill, that is in fact a back door to limiting abortion access. At least not in this term of government. He has much more important things to do like ripping more holes in the already badly torn social safety net.
Our rights are only as good as the next election and or the next appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Want to learn more, check out these articles at Dammit Janet and the Unrepentant Old Hippie