Stephen Harper announces that farmers who protested the Canadian Wheat Board will be pardoned.
“Their acts were purely symbolic of course,” Harper told a gathered crowd. Sometimes “just a few loads of grain were driven across the border. Sometimes, just a token shaft of wheat in the back of a pick-up truck.”
Harper said he was granting the pardon under a rarely invoked power. “To the authority of the Crown falls an ancient power; the Royal Prerogative of Mercy,” Harper said. “It is a rare and significant thing for this power to be exercised. But ladies and gentlemen, today I am pleased to announce it will be exercised. The group of farmers convicted under the old unjust legislation of the Wheat Board monopoly will be pardoned by the government.”
Update 5:34pm. Here is a rough guide to the Royal Prerogative of Mercy. The Harper government changed what was known as the “pardon” system into a “record suspension” system with its omnibus crime bill. The CBC explained the difference between a “pardon” and a pardon in this backgrounder. According to the CBC, four requests for the Royal Prerogative of Mercy were granted in 2008-2009.
Update 5:54pm. Bob Rae is unimpressed.
Harper doesn’t personally grant pardons. Nor is the decision about a pardon supposed to be partisan. They’re corrupting the process