Thursday, January 8, 2009

Memo From The Prime Minister's Office: No Principles Allowed!

In a recent interview, Kenneth Whyte of Maclean's Magazine sits Stephen Harper down to ask some questions related to the coalition crisis, the recent auto industry bailout, and even freedom of expression in Canada. Unsurprisingly, answer after answer from the Prime Minister touted the importance of the "pragmatic" approach.

Whyte asks:

We have Stephen Harper now embracing targeted bailouts and large deficits. Is conservativism dead at the federal level in Canada?

A chilling question, and one most Canadian conservatives haven't thought to ask since the right was united. But Harper's slow march to the center and the expansion of value-compromise within the Tory ranks makes it a perfectly pertinent issue.

Harper's response:

No, we’re just dealing with the times and the realities we have.


We have to be pragmatic. We have to handle each problem according to the reality we’re in.

And how about you tell us about the government's inaction on section 13.1 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, a section that has been used by quasi-judicial bodies to restrict the freedom of expression of Canadian citizens?

The government has no plans to do [anything about 13.1] ... And it is a very tricky issue of public policy because obviously, as we’ve seen, some of these powers can be abused. But they do exist for valid reasons, which is obviously to prevent public airwaves from being used to disseminate hate against vulnerable members of our society. That’s a valid objective. It’s probably the case that we haven’t got the balance right, but I’m not sure the government today has any answer on what an appropriate balance would be.

Great. Thanks for nothing, Mr. Prime Minister.

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