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Uffish Thoughts: The Rhetoric is Getting Out of Hand March 12, 2012

Posted by klondykewriter in Uffish Thoughts.
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Uffish Thoughts: The Rhetoric is Getting Out of Hand

By Dan Davidson

February 16, 2012

Star, Feb 23/12

– 784 words –

I can’t actually figure out what is going on in the minds of the members of the federal Conservative Party. In the old days, when policy positions seemed to contradict each other you could always blame it on the composition of the Progressive Conservative Party. I think it was comedian Dave Broadfoot (once a member of the Air Farce) who used to refer to the PCs as the Forward Backward party, a play on words that made a lot of sense.

The Progressives are gone now, so you would think that the actions of the governing party would make a bit more sense – but they don’t.

They got rid of the mandatory long form census last year because it was too intrusive, thus striking a blow for personal liberty and freedom.

This year, however, they want to give law enforcement authorities open access to everything you ever put online anywhere, removing the need for them to have some probable cause to investigate you, or obtain a warrant for the purpose.

This might have the positive effect of making people think twice before pressing the send button on their e-mail messages, or posting some of the absolute drivel that turns up on social network sites, but it’s also an incredible invasion of privacy.

The response to anyone saying that perhaps this policy needs some sober second thought has been to brand anyone who objects as being in league with the child pornographers of the world.

You can’t convince me that this wasn’t trotted out within a week of that major national child porn bust in order to gain maximum public relations traction from the general revulsion that one had to feel after watching those news items.

But it seems to have been a surprise to Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews that people actually stopped to think about his proposal rather than just nodding in assent. That the cyber community responded to his harsh words by immediately digging up and posting every nasty thing they could find out about him should be ample proof that it’s actually not that hard now to pick at the threads of the world wide web without special powers, and how easily that could get out of hand.

Toews’ over the top rhetoric on this matter is easily matched by the overkill in the long gun registry debate. I’ve never been able to understand why people who regularly register their vehicles, their RVs and lots of other personal property balk at registering their guns. It’s not like getting rid of this particular piece of documentation removes all the identification related to possessing firearms.

Oddly, at the same time as they want to supposedly make it easier for people to own guns, they also want to increase the number of people that get put in jail for all sorts of crimes. This is strange because the statistics that we already have indicate that most types of crime are on the decrease.

What seems clear is that some members of the party live in a black and white world. It’s the rhetoric that tells us this.

A few years back, when Mr. Harper nearly lost his minority parliament, we were told that anyone who was in favour of the perfectly legitimate procedure of forming a coalition (something he had once entertained himself) was giving aid and comfort to the separatists in Quebec.

That might be excused as the act of a man having a political near death experience, but it seems that it’s the new reality in Conservative messaging.

The pornographers gaffe is just one in a list of rhetorical overkills that we’ve heard lately.

If you think the new air force jets are a bad buy for the buck then you are dumping on the military. How dare you.

If you worry about pipeline safety then you’re a radical with an environmental agenda.

If you think there are some problems with the omnibus crime legislation, then you are siding with the criminal element.

In other words, if you’re not for us, you’re against us and that means you’re evil, twisted and unpatriotic.

This is not a pleasant state of affairs. It ought to be possible to have a rational debate about the pros and cons of a particular policy or government action without anyone needing to resort to personal attacks.

The present government is going to win all its arguments in both the House and the Senate any way. They have the numbers on their side. I would think that they would like to look good while they’re doing it.

Right now they don’t.







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