No surprise in Senator Boisvenu's rhetoric - Macleans.ca
 

No surprise in Senator Boisvenu’s rhetoric


 

In retrospect, it’s really not all that surprising that Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu invited the country’s most heinous murderers to quietly off themselves in their cells. This is the man, after all, who on account of his background as a victims’ rights advocate was recruited by the Conservatives to add a whiff of legitimacy to their law-and-order agenda. With Boisvenu, the Conservatives got two good things rolled into one incredulous package: he’s a warm Conservative body from Quebec, where (for a variety of reasons) Conservative fortunes haven’t been great; and he has a very tragic backstory that could be properly politicized—it’s the second line of his official bio—in pushing through the crime bill.

He had an irrational approach to crime prevention and the like well before he advocated for the self-murder of certain prisoners. Here’s the guy who, when faced with a damning (?) Statistics Canada report documenting how the country is significantly safer than in 1999, had this to say: “Someone, somewhere is manipulating the numbers.” He’s the guy who said he was “going to talk to those [StatsCan] guys” because, well, things can’t possibly be any safer in Canada because rapes, murders and assaults still happen. He’s a guy who in describing himself as “tough on crime” suggests that anyone who doesn’t see things his way is somehow “soft on crime.”

Boisvenu’s sortie today is a reminder why dispassion is crucial when crafting crime legislation—dispassion that the government is sorely lacking.

 


 
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No surprise in Senator Boisvenu’s rhetoric

  1. Heck, one can be passionate, just not utterly blind and disingenuous.

  2. Dear 
    Martin Patriquin, come to live in Winnipeg and I guarantee that you will not believe Statistics Canada numbers either. The REPORTED numbers grow, never mind the all the unreported smaller incidents because the police are overwhelmed and common belief is that they “will not do anything”

    It is ludicrous that Shafia’s will cost us taxpayers $10M over their 25 years in the slammer while they are allowed to keep their property. How much will be the final bill for Paul Bernardo? Are you seriously concerned about his human rights?   

    Make the convicts EARN their keep and don’t tell me about their rights and rehabilitation by boredom behind the bars. 

    • So what in the crime bill will  help what you see are the problems?

    • Yes I agree, crime in Winnipeg is out of control.

      Perhaps however you may wish to consider that this is a regional problem related to the incredible number of disaffected natives and young people in Winnipeg?

      It hardly justifies a stupid on crime agenda for the entire country however.

    • Martin …. Just so you know, Joe means come to Winnipeg and believe whatever you hear on CJOB or read in the Winnipeg Sun.Otherwise you’ll find it’s a very livable city.

  3. It is so disturbing to watch the CBC Evan Solomon and CTV Don Martin to try and turn this sad story of a man speaking from an emotional and terrible family tragedy to try and turn this into re opening the death penalty and the opposition parties instead of showing compassion to this man and his emotions. No wonder Canadians are so fed up with this overpaid politicians.They look so damn small in the eyes of compassionate Canadians. Can you picture any of these a..holes acting had their daughter been violently murdered. SHAME ON THE LOT

    • My condolences to the senator on his loss. However, I don’t want to live in a nation where laws are made by people so blinded by pain and anger that they would make comments as fatuous as these. If he can’t get beyond the emotions of his family’s tragedy to be a parliamentarian, perhaps he should resign. 

    • Whether you like it or not, when a senator says such things it has an impact on the national discussion. People are right to ask whether this has caucus backing.

      People in power should not be acting like this otherwise.

      That said, this man clearly needs counselling for his grief. On that he has my sympathies.

    • Well, sure. Empathy is good. But he is at least nominally in a position of some legislative authority, for whatever that’s worth, so he can and should be rebuked if his grief has (understandably) made him a little out there on the subject that caused it. It would be more disrespectful to pat him on the head and say “Sure, we’ll study it.”
      That said, this idea will not see the light of day, he just seems to have thrown it out there as a thought in an interview, nothing more. The government will not support it, the Senator did not commit a crime by any conceivable definition, so yes certain members of the opposition also made fools of themselves. As for the TV guys, it’s an emotional subject and they’re probably sick to death of talking about OAS. It makes good TV.

  4. If it is the passion of Patriquin to bash a Conservative Senator for saying out loud what the majority of Canadians have said quietly to themselves frequently, then Patriquin should follow his passion.

    However, he should also understand that most folks will have more empathy for a man like Boisvenu trying to change the balance over to those who identify with the victim, rather then the criminal, then to someone like Patriquin who chooses to remind him that the statistics show that crime was going down at the time his daughter was raped and murdered.

    • How do you know what the majority of Canadians say quietly?

    • Change the balance? Man I get tired of the inference that somehow, because crime still happens, and we don’t act like troglodytes in response, people are disrespecting the victums somehow.

      Revenge is not a ideal to aspire to. Neither is lowering ourselves to the level of criminals.

      If it becomes okay to give up on the rehabilitation for the sake of the debatable monetary gain, then we are indeed lowering ourselves and our values.

      Support for capital punishment is just another way of saying that the powerful deserve a monopoly on murder, in direct contradiction to the belief that it is inherently wrong.
       
      This position makes a mockery of our constitution and our laws.

      • “we don’t act like troglodytes in response, people are disrespecting the victims somehow”

        Well, you seem to be acting like a troglodyte now.  The reason criminal law exists is to protect ourselves from each other.  It doesn’t exist so that people like you can call themselves a rehabilitator and an enlightened therapist.  It doesn’t exist so that you can feel so high and mighty about yourself. The whole point of criminal law is that there are victims from certain acts, and we therefore label such acts criminal, and we try to prevent them from happening, and the whole reason for all of this, the whole reason, is the existence of victims. Mentally unstable behaviour is not criminal until there is a victim. Prisons are not hospitals. We don’t put people in prisons to make them better, we put them in there to protect the rest of society.

        “Support for capital punishment is just another way of saying that the powerful deserve a monopoly on murder”

        That is such complete BS. People who advocate for capital punishment would prefer that crime did not exist at all. People like you don’t seem to mind that crimes cause hardship.

        You make a mockery of the constitution! The whole point of the constitution is to protect ourselves from each other, yet you conveniently ignore that obvious fact.

        • Did you miss Vic Toews on Don Martin today?  He was talking about treating mentally ill prisoners while they’re incarcerated.  .  Up until now it’s been, like you, all about the punishment.  This is a big step forward for him, but now he has to realize that if we stepped up the treatment of the mentally ill we might prevent the crime  committed. 

        • You clearly have no idea what I was saying do you?

          I don’t disagree in the least that jail exists to segregate dangerous individuals from society. I mean really, that’s self evident.

          What that has to do with justifying state murder is beyond me.

          And how is it you imagine your comment on the constitution differs from my point? It doesn’t, simple as that.

          When I say “monopoly on murder” I’m pointing out the hypocrisy of saying on one hand that murder is absolutely unacceptable and then on the other hand justifying it for the state, which can’t even seem to tell who is guilty in the first place, making even more ridiculous the notion that we know who can be rehabilitated.

          And on that point, the law exists to serve society as a whole, so the relevant question is: What serves society best? Locking everyone up and treating them like dirt, or doing our best to return those who can be converted to productive citizens back to society where they can be productive rather than a drain?

          The answer is again, self evident. Tossing scary labels around doesn’t change the reality of things.

          Frankly, given the fact that you seem to lack any understanding of what I was saying, and given the fact that you don’t grasp the basic logic of rehabilitation, I find it hard to take your comment seriously.

          And incidentally, the number of mentally ill we have in jails is ridiculous. Many of them should in fact be in psychiatric care, rather than subject to violence in prison.

          Additionally, the fact that we’ve allowed so many disaffected youth to languish and turn to gangs and the like, I’m not prepared to give our state the benefit of the doubt on things like capital punishment.

          Either we have the courage of our convictions or we don’t. Without that, the principles of our constitution are a cruel joke.

          • “When I say “monopoly on murder” I’m pointing out the hypocrisy of saying on one hand that murder is absolutely unacceptable and then on the other hand justifying it for the state”

            What a bizarre thing to say. Incarceration is also unacceptable but the state does it. Kidnapping is also unacceptable but the state does it. That’s what prison is! Prison is kidnapping followed by incarceration. There’s no hypocrisy there, that’s the whole point of having a justice system! Everything about the justice system is about allowing the state to do things that the rest of us cannot. That’s the whole point!

            Holding someone at gunpoint is also unacceptable, but the state does it (with the police). Confiscating other peoples’ money is also unacceptable but the state does it (taxes). The state does a whole lot of things that are unacceptable for individuals.

            “I find it hard to take your comment seriously.”

            You say something so ridiculously bizarre and then you say that? What a laugh.

            Once again, you’ve just reinforced the point that your stance is nothing more than a podium for yourself to feel high and mighty. There is no logic to it.

  5. I have the utmost sympathy for Senator Boisvenu.

    However, laws exist for a reason….and should not be decided on by people who are enraged/anguished by personal tragedy. Because then it becomes revenge.

    • OE1, Is this an original conclusion of yours, or is it an opinion of seasoned jurisprudence? This is a genuine question by one who knows not the answer.  A subsidiary comment is that one is not very certain that revenge is aways a bad thing.  

      • ‘You can’t take the law into your own hands’ is a very old saying….you can’t write the law either.

        Revenge is a basic human urge…which is exactly why we have police and laws and courts….to prevent revenge.

        • Thank you.   An equally old saying is, “The law is an ass.”
          Re revenge, you generalise, of course.   One can also observe that revenge is for the taking, otherwise, one gets taken.   

          • Oh quit it. You sound like a refugee from a comic book.

          • What on earth is that supposed to mean – people taking the law into their hands? 

  6. Given the propaganda that could choke a seal these days, i wonder why this wasn’t spun with the “toxic sugar” story that is sliming its way through the social psyche… Instead of ropes, we should gives these convicted killers unrestricted free access to the white stuff, that is, sugar. Given the propaganda, these lost souls will die protracted and painful, entirely avoidable deaths… seems like good enough punishment, if you’re a propaganda cow, chewing on your propaganda cud.

    What is ACTUALLY happening is a series of unannounced and clandestine public polls most of which are probably commissioned in boiler rooms by our leaders-that-ought-to-actually-be.

    I’m sorry for your loss Boisvenu, truly sad… however, when a professional such as him can’t separate emotion from logic and work from home, i question his fitness to do his job, irregardless of apologies or cognizance of his mistake. He is emotionally compromised and lacks the integrity (no fault of his own) to carry out the requirements of his position and he should be relieved of his duty and replaced by someone with integrity intact.

    To Harper and our other leaders-asleep-on-the-pot, DO YOUR JOBS AS PROFESSIONALS, NOT SCOUNDRELS. If you want to know how Canadians feel ask us, don’t manipulate us and marginalize us. A time is FAST APPROACHING where Canadians will unite and tell their ‘leaders’ the quality of life and ethical standards in this country will not fall any lower, will not sink to new depths. We will collectively draw a line in the sand, and we will expect our leadership to listen…. OR…. we will rewrite THEIR laws to incarcerate THEM.

    LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE; don’t manipulate and hurt, or your actions will come home to roost.

    • Oh, right, and multiposting in ALLCAPS just screams mental health.  And the lack of empathy in your comment borders on sociopathy.

      • Like in NOT-A-LEADER?  I agree with you on this:  it screams meantal health problems.

        •  Still fighting that battle, are we?

  7. We wanted MP’s, MLA’s, MLA’s, Councillors and/or Senators to start having more of a voice for original thought.
    I won’t fault him for suggesting something without it being popular. It is an idea that raises an eye brow but at least it isn’t another stale backroom approved message.

    • At least it’s more relevant than replacing the beaver with the polar bear.

    • You can never be sure with Harper – could be his twisted way of floating the death penalty return. 

  8.  The senator’s remarks were just one more of the trial balloons harper is currently launching.

    It’s inconceivable that harper would be unaware of the senators’s views before appointing him to the Senate, and would not have told him that he (harper) would prefer that he not express those views in public.

  9. Given the propaganda that could choke a seal these days, i wonder why this wasn’t spun with the “toxic sugar” story that is sliming its way through the social psyche… Instead of ropes, we should gives these convicted killers unrestricted free access to the white stuff, that is, sugar. Given the propaganda, these lost souls will die protracted and painful, entirely avoidable deaths… seems like good enough punishment, if you’re a propaganda cow, chewing on your propaganda cud.
    What is ACTUALLY happening is a series of unannounced and clandestine public polls most of which are probably commissioned in boiler rooms by our leaders-that-ought-to-actually-be.

    I’m sorry for your loss Boisvenu, truly sad… however, when a professional such as him can’t separate emotion from logic and work from home, i question his fitness to do his job, irregardless of apologies or cognizance of his mistake. He is emotionally compromised and lacks the integrity (no fault of his own) to carry out the requirements of his position and he should be relieved of his duty and replaced by someone with integrity intact.

    To Harper and our other leaders-asleep-on-the-pot, DO YOUR JOBS AS PROFESSIONALS, NOT SCOUNDRELS. If you want to know how Canadians feel ask us, don’t manipulate us and marginalize us. A time is FAST APPROACHING where Canadians will unite and tell their ‘leaders’ the quality of life and ethical standards in this country will not fall any lower, will not sink to new depths. We will collectively draw a line in the sand, and we will expect our leadership to listen…. OR…. we will rewrite THEIR laws to incarcerate
    THEM.

    LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE; don’t manipulate and hurt, or your actions will come home to roost.

  10. Given the propaganda that could choke a seal these days, i wonder why this wasn’t spun with the “toxic sugar” story that is sliming its way through the social psyche… Instead of ropes, we should gives these convicted killers unrestricted free access to the white stuff, that is, sugar. Given the propaganda, these lost souls will die protracted and painful, entirely avoidable deaths… seems like good enough punishment, if you’re a propaganda cow, chewing on your propaganda cud.

    What is ACTUALLY happening is a series of unannounced and clandestine public polls most of which are probably commissioned in boiler rooms by our leaders-that-ought-to-actually-be.

    I’m sorry for your loss Boisvenu, truly sad… however, when a professional such as him can’t separate emotion from logic and work from home, i question his fitness to do his job, irregardless of apologies or cognizance of his mistake. He is emotionally compromised and lacks the integrity (no fault of his own) to carry out the requirements of his position and he should be relieved of his duty and replaced by someone with integrity intact.

    To Harper and our other leaders-asleep-on-the-pot, DO YOUR JOBS AS PROFESSIONALS, NOT SCOUNDRELS. If you want to know how Canadians feel ask us, don’t manipulate us and marginalize us. A time is FAST APPROACHING where Canadians will unite and tell their ‘leaders’ the quality of life and ethical standards in this country will not fall any lower, will not sink to new depths. We will collectively draw a line in the sand, and we will expect our leadership to listen…. OR…. we will rewrite THEIR laws to incarcerate THEM.

    LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE; don’t manipulate and hurt, or your actions will come home to roost.

  11. My impression is that given the choice, Paul Bernardo would not use the rope. 

    I had a smile when I learned that Olson had died of cancer.  I was content; he lived for decades deprived of freedom, what I cherish most in life.  If I knew what death felt like maybe I would have to reconsider my position on the death penalty but til then I am satisfied to know that criminals are deprived of freedom.

    • For me, I’m simply happy that they are segregated from society and that we have stood by our decision that murder is wrong, by letting them languish instead.

      We should keep in mind that in some cases, the fact that some murderers are still around has proven useful to existing court cases.

      For example, I believe that Bernardo was able to provide conclusive evidence that he had murdered a woman for which another man was currently on trial for.

      So an innocent man went free as a result.

      We should be careful what we do, not just because of our principals, but because of the ramifications that come along with our actions.

    • “I had a smile when I learned that Olson had died of cancer.”

      You seem to believe it’s all about revenge with comments like that. The only thing I want is for people like him to be put away from the rest of society.

  12. Glad we can agree on something about this topic.

    Guys like Olson should be kept segregated indefinitely, and perhaps studied by science.

    At least we can try to learn something from these people.