By Aaron Wherry - Friday, January 25, 2013 - 0 Comments
Last Wednesday, Native Protestors blocked the QE II near Gateway Boulevard fully and then partially for a little less than 2 hours. Then during the afternoon commute, the same protestors set up a blockade on St. Albert Trail at Sturgeon Road. As St. Albert is a bedroom community of Edmonton, I represent many commuters. My office has been inundated with e-mails and phone calls asking why the RCMP allowed this admittedly peaceful protest to proceed. According to the St. Albert “Gazette”, the demonstration happened with the cooperation of the RCMP, who had met in advance with the protestors and were on scene to manage traffic. Apparently, the RCMP share Edmonton Police Service’s theory that managing a protest is a better tactic than stopping it.
I am not so sure. In the first place, acquiescing to an illegal activity does nothing to prevent further illegal activities. And make no mistake; the police were enabling an illegal activity. Section 430 of the Criminal Code clearly defines the offence of “Mischief” when one willfully “obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property”. Moreover, you can be charged with “Intimidation” when you compel “another person to abstain from doing anything that he or she has a lawful right to do” including one who “blocks or obstructs a highway”, which is “a road to which the public has the right of access” (Section 2).
A hallmark of a free society is our Charter protected rights of expression and assembly. Accordingly, I defend the rights of peaceful assembly without equivocation. However, one’s freedom to demonstrate cannot break the criminal law; one’s freedom to protest cannot trump another’s right to the lawful use of public property to get home after work. As enlightenment philosopher John Locke so famously declared: “my liberty to swing my fist is limited by the proximity of your chin.”
Blake Richards is similarly concerned.
That being said, some of the militant activists hiding behind the Idle No More banner are doing all they can to threaten the progress being made between our government and First Nations leaders. Canadians are growing increasingly frustrated and disappointed with the actions of those who blockade highways and railways. The blockades must stop. They are counterproductive, and an impediment to progress.
From a philosophical standpoint, violating the law is fairly central to the idea of civil disobedience.
Such protests are, of course, not unique to aboriginal causes. Farmers in British Columbia conducted a blockade of a private property on an entirely unrelated matter this month (the blockade ended Thursday at the RCMP’s behest). Farmers have used convoys in the past that have tied up or otherwise impeded traffic in the process of protesting government policy. (Farmers also protested the coalition in 2008.) And at least one such protest has occurred with support from some of Mr. Richards and Mr. Rathgeber’s colleagues (see story below).
Ultimately, we’re talking about tolerance: what should a democratic society be willing to tolerate and what should law enforcement be willing to tolerate before intervening? (From a policing standpoint, for the sake of maintaining peace and order, where is the line between letting a protest run its course and needing to enforce the law? At what point is it more troublesome to intervene than it would be to work around the situation?) Protesters who break the law probably have to accept the possibility of being arrested, charged or fined—though, with something like a highway blockade, working with law enforcement in advance might allow for reasonable compromises to be found. But protesters also have to keep in mind how the general public will view their actions: a protest might be meant to raise awareness, but it might hurt the larger cause if the action greatly angers and frustrates those directly impacted and is viewed unfavourable by the majority of those who read and hear the news. In that regard, Idle No More protesters might be smart to consider the complaints of Mr. Rathgeber and Mr. Richards, even if they disagree with their conclusions. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, September 21, 2012 at 2:59 PM - 0 Comments
Among the Conservaties who stood in the House this week and criticized the NDP’s stance on cap-and-trade were Kyle Seeback, Peter Van Loan, Gord Brown, Leon Benoit, Shelly Glover, Chris Warkentin, LaVar Payne, Gerry Ritz, Pierre Poilievre, Christian Paradis, Rick Dykstra, Randy Hoback, Pierre Lemieux, Ed Fast, Tony Clement and Andrew Saxton. These individuals—like Phil McColeman, Joe Preston and Ed Holder, who attacked the NDP last week—were all Conservative candidates in 2008 when the Conservative party platform included a commitment to pursue a continental cap-and-trade system.
Here, again, is everything you need to know about the Conservatives’ carbon tax farce.
By Mitchel Raphael - Sunday, August 28, 2011 at 6:14 PM - 2 Comments
Ontario Conservative MP Patrick Brown’s annual Hockey Night in Barrie continues to grow. Each…
Ontario Conservative MP Patrick Brown’s annual Hockey Night in Barrie continues to grow. Each year the charity fundraiser for the Royal Victoria Hospital has MPs and NHL players sharing the ice for a game.
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 9:20 AM - 2 Comments
Handy having an orthopaedic surgeon
Ontario Conservative MP Patrick Brown…’s annual Hockey Night
Handy having an orthopaedic surgeon
Ontario Conservative MP Patrick Brown’s annual Hockey Night in Barrie continues to grow. Each year, the charity fundraiser for the Royal Victoria Hospital has MPs and NHL players sharing the ice for a game. This year (the fourth) raised almost $200,000 for the hospital’s cancer care centre. Current and retired NHL players this time included Ryan O’Reilly of the Colorado Avalanche, Bryan Little of the Winnipeg Jets, Luke Pither of the Philadelphia Flyers and Darcy Tucker. Also attending was Conservative MP Kellie Leitch (who beat Helena Guergis in the last election). The rookie MP would have been handy in an emergency: Leitch is an orthopaedic surgeon who has sports- injuries training going back to the days when she worked with the Toronto Argonauts.
Calgary Conservative MP Michelle Rempel (who took former cabinet minister Jim Prentice’s old seat in the last election) arrived at the game to support Brown and her fellow MPs. But when she got drafted as one of the coaches, she quickly rose to the challenge. (Last year, Stephen Harper put in an appearance and coached the same team.) Defence Minister Peter MacKay arrived with all his hockey gear but had to borrow one of Patrick Brown’s sticks. Most of the MPs present agreed that Brown is one the Conservatives’ best players.
By Mitchel Raphael - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 5:24 PM - 0 Comments
Ontario Conservative MP Patrick Brown’s third annual Hockey Night in Barrie charity game was…
Ontario Conservative MP Patrick Brown’s third annual Hockey Night in Barrie charity game was packed with fans and celebrities. For the first time Stephen Harper (below) attended the event. He coached the blue team with Hockey Night in Canada‘s Don Cherry.
Patrick Brown and Don Cherry.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 12:12 PM - 13 Comments
Michael Chong’s motion on Question Period reform is seconded by no less than 20 MPs. Those seconders include 14 Conservatives (Mike Allen, Dona Cadman, Maxime Bernier, Larry Miller, Gord Brown, Nina Grewal, James Rajotte, John Cummins, Peter Braid, Rick Casson, Greg Thompson, Merv Tweed, Brian Storseth and Bruce Stanton), four Liberals (Frank Valeriote, Martha Hall Findlay, Glen Pearson and Siobhan Coady) and two New Democrats (Denise Savoie and Brian Masse).
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 10:20 AM - 18 Comments
Tory MPs are sexiest, Gord Brown still has a job to do in Canada, and Gift certificates for the troops
Tory MPs are sexiest
When the Hill Times came out with its annual “Politically Savvy, Stylish and Sexy Survey,” Montreal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler was disappointed to discover he’s tied for the worst-dressed male MP on the Hill, with Yukon Liberal MP Larry Bagnell. “I know I am not the best-dressed MP,” noted Cotler. “But I don’t think I am one of the worst.” He confessed to Capital Diary, however, that his family agreed with the Hill Times survey. Vancouver Liberal MP Hedy Fry, known for her fashion flair and commitment to ensuring animal prints never become endangered, said that Cotler is clearly “the best-dressed professor” on the Hill. What about Liberal leader and professor Michael Ignatieff? Fry joked, “Well, he has people around him.” And professor Stéphane Dion? “His wife [Janine Krieber] has excellent taste,” she quipped without missing a beat. The survey named Tory Maxime Bernier the best-dressed male MP. Sexiest male MP went to Defence Minister Peter MacKay, leaving Justin Trudeau in second place. Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose was voted sexiest female MP, followed by NDP MP Megan Leslie. Transport Minister John Baird cleaned up in two key categories: “Most Inﬂuence in Cabinet” and “Best Cabinet Minister in Question Period.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 6:15 PM - 61 Comments
The Scene. Having not had the opportunity a day earlier to add his unique voice to the discussion, Conservative Gord Brown stood a few minutes before Question Period with a bulletin.
“Mr. Speaker, throughout my great riding of Leeds-Grenville there are shovels in the ground, there are roads, sewers and other infrastructure works being built and repaired and folks are looking forward to the future. Everywhere I travelled in my riding this summer the people told me they are pleased with the direction our government has taken to help position Canada to face tomorrow,” he reported. “My constituents have one message: ‘Remain focused on the economy and do not have an expensive and unnecessary election.’ ”
No doubt. Our last exercise in electoral representation cost the national treasury some $280 million. Even with a drop in the price of oil, another one might add approximately the same to our already overdrawn account.
Mind you, that surely pales in comparison to the cost of sending several dozen men and women to Ottawa after each election so that they might stand in their places every so often and repeat the rote partisan rhetoric of the day.
Not that one should fuss too much over the numbers. For who among us, really, can put a price on precious democracy?
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 12:20 PM - 0 Comments
And what might anger Kenney
Life after Parliament Hill for Rahim Jaffer
Former Edmonton Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer says he is now enjoying running his own business. Jaffer is part of GPG Corp., a new company specializing in alternative energy sources. The company will be building a solar farm in Bancroft, Ont. Jaffer says Ontario has a great solar subsidy program and pays people for supplying the power grid. GPG is also looking into a “dragon power system,” which consists of plates on the road that capture kinetic energy from moving vehicles and turn it into electricity. The Chinese, notes Jaffer, are very interested in this because of their huge traffic volumes. He is looking to open an office in China, but that may not sit well with his close friend Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who has always taken a tough stand on China. “Jason will be mad,” admits Jaffer. “But our government is getting excited about China. Stockwell Day was there. Jim Flaherty was there.” Jaffer and his wife, Helena Guergis, minister of state for the status of women, are looking to buy a house together in the Ottawa area and hope to have children soon. Jaffer says they need a home with large closets. “After all the years I did politics, I have as many clothes as Helena.”
Rona Ambrose coaches hockey
Ontario Tory MP Patrick Brown hosted and played in his second Hockey Night in Barrie charity game at the Barrie Molson Centre. Each team had a mix of players including Conservative MPs such as Gord Brown, Hockey Night in Canada’s Ron MacLean, Olympic medallist goalie Sami Jo Small and former and current NHL players like Brian Little of the Atlanta Thrashers. Also in attendance, but not playing, was former NHLer Eddie Shack. Bringing some comedy to the game with an animal print protective cup was Marc Hickox from the TV show Rent-a-Goalie. Coaches included Labour Minister Rona Ambrose for the white team and Helena Guergis for the blue team. Defence Minister Peter MacKay played for the whites. His arm is still not at 100 per cent after being broken in a rugby match on Parliament Hill. Ambrose told the medic on site to make sure MacKay wasn’t in pain and to get him off the ice if he was. The medic said, “He won’t let me pull him.” Ambrose’s firm response: “I’ll pull him if I have to.” She also asked MacKay’s team members Aaron Johnson of the Chicago Blackhawks and his brother Cory Johnson to keep an eye on their fellow Nova Scotian. The event raised $121,000 for Barrie’s Royal Victoria Hospital. Team Blue won 15-13. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Sunday, June 21, 2009 at 11:23 AM - 3 Comments
The lineup for Ontario Tory MP Scott Reid’s sixth annual Ontario microbrewery beer tasting/Quebec…
The lineup for Ontario Tory MP Scott Reid’s sixth annual Ontario microbrewery beer tasting/Quebec cheese reception was huge. Reid hold two beers below.
By Mitchel Raphael - Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 10:01 AM - 0 Comments
The Canadian Vintners Association held a special wine tasting reception on the Hill. There…
The Canadian Vintners Association held a special wine tasting reception on the Hill. There were spitting buckets, but most MPs did not bother using them between “tastes.”
Diane Ablonczy, secretary of state for small business and tourism.
Ontario NDP MP Irene Mathyssen.
By Mitchel Raphael - Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 12:50 PM - 4 Comments
The Canadian Pork Council held a Hill BBQ to show the safety of Canada’s…
The Canadian Pork Council held a Hill BBQ to show the safety of Canada’s white meat in the midst of the panic over the H1N1 swine flu.
Labour Minister Rona Ambrose serves up the pork.
Iggy chows down.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, April 27, 2009 at 12:21 PM - 30 Comments
The most entertaining parts of Sheeple, Garth Turner’s awkwardly titled account of his most recent time in politics, are almost definitely the previously undisclosed bits of private conversation and internal discussion Turner claims to have been party to. If only because truly candid, available-for-public-consumption comment from a politician is otherwise so rare.
Herein, a brief collection of Sheeple’s highlights in this regard. Note: some adult language follows. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, February 16, 2009 at 1:17 PM - 9 Comments
The Ottawa Food Bank had a reception on the Hill marking its 25th anniversary….
The Ottawa Food Bank had a reception on the Hill marking its 25th anniversary. In 1984, Gerard Kennedy, now a Toronto Liberal MP, was executive director of the food bank in Edmonton. He came to Ottawa to help them set up their food bank.
Tim Powers of Summa Strategies, who helped organize the event, gets some Liberal love.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 24, 2008 at 6:14 PM - 20 Comments
The Scene. John McCallum was up first, sneering as only he can about the government’s plan to run a deficit.
“Our election platform is not full of grandiose, costly promises,” the Prime Minister thundered back across the aisle. “It’s a prudent approach. We can afford it. We’ll never go back into deficit!”
Actually, sorry, that’s what Mr. Harper said in October.
Anyway. Back up came McCallum, now wanting to know about this recession the analysts keep warning us about in altogether insistent tones. The Prime Minister sought immediately to reassure his honourable critic.
“My own belief is if we were going to have some sort of big crash or recession, we probably would have had it by now,” he said with all the calm and foresight of a man with an advanced degree in economics.
Actually, sorry again, that’s what the Prime Minister said in September.
Anyway. In truth, the Prime Minister wasn’t in the House this day. Which is probably just as well, he having only demonstrated with his public comments so far the value of keeping quiet. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, August 1, 2008 at 1:43 AM - 0 Comments
From Friday’s Globe story on the bus beheading.
“Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day called Thursday’s incident horrific and said his heart goes to the family of the victim. However, he played down the possibility of enacting tough security measures in Canada’s bus terminals, similar to what exists in airports…
“He also dismissed talk by some opposition MPs of a ‘knife registry,’ saying that millions of them are bought each year simply for kitchen use. He added that there are already provisions in the Criminal Code against crimes and assaults.”
As a Liberal blogger asks, who are these unnamed opposition MPs lobbying for a knife registry? Let them present themselves so that they may be good and truly mocked.
A Google search finds nothing. But a quick look through Parliamentary records shows two uses of the phrase “knife registry.” Continue…