The inevitable politicization of Guy Turcotte


There’s something off putting, even gross, about politicians using a heinous crime as a soapbox. That is exactly what James Moore did yesterday afternoon, mere hours after the release of Guy Turcotte, the Quebec doctor who in 2009 stabbed his two children to death. Moore couldn’t find a microphone fast enough to denounce Turcotte’s release, evoking the kind of maudlin language usually reserved for circus callers and comic strip vigilantes. (An aside: why did the Conservatives trot out Canada’s Heritage Minister to talk about a matter of criminal justice? Isn’t that why Rob Nicholson exists?)

Calling the release of  Turcotte akin to “freeing a criminal” (take that, Quebec justice system!), Moore politicized the pain of Isabelle Gaston, Turcotte’s former wife. “Isabelle Gaston does not deserve to live in fear of her children’s killer and neither do other victims of similar crimes across Canada,”  Moore said. “Isabelle Gaston deserves better than this. The system has failed her.”

At his side was Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, who remained uncharacteristically  demure during the press conference. A pity, really, because Sen. Boisvenu can usually be counted on for a boffo sound bite. Like the time when, faced with Statistics Canada data that inconveniently pointed out an overall decrease in violent  crime, the good Senator said, ““Someone, somewhere, is manipulating the numbers” and that he was “going to talk to those [Statscan] guys.” Really, it’s a surprise Boisvenu didn’t invite Turcotte to kill himself. It’s not like he hasn’t done that sort of thing before.

Moore then brought up two other murders (totally unrelated, save for the gory circumstances) to suggest that Canadian justice system was somehow failing its citizens, thereby taking a very natural sense of outrage and disgust for what Turcotte did and suggesting this outrage necessarily means we need change in the country—that we are somehow “soft on crime.”

We aren’t. Canadians were tough on crime long before Harper darkened Parliament’s door—so tough, as I once noted, that it’s diminished by nearly 20 per cent since 2000.  And where are violent crime rates among the lowest in the country? Why, it’s in namby-pamby, soft-on-crime Quebec. As Statistics Canada shows, it’s lower here (1,045 per 100,000 population) than in Alberta (1,405) and James Moore’s home province of British Columbia (1,460). Overall, our homicide rate is less than a third of the United States’.

Most people with a conscience and a heartbeat would like to see a guy like Turcotte suffer as his victims did. This urge is as guttural as it is natural—but it isn’t the kind of thing on which you base policy. But don’t tell that to our governing party.

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The inevitable politicization of Guy Turcotte

  1. Most people with a conscience and a heartbeat would like to see a guy
    like Turcotte suffer as his victims did. This urge is as guttural as it
    is natural—


    My conscious and heartbeat make me feel sadness for the victims. Never been a fan of puffing myself up with “punishment porn.”

  2. The crime rate has nothing to do with whether freeing this man was the right thing to do and is besides the point.
    Whatever your opinion on politicizing crime, the true question is:
    Has the justice system failed in this specific case, or has it not?

    I personally have a hard time believing that he blacked out as he repeatedly stabbed his children. I believe his heart is black and simply saying it was temporary insanity doesn’t do anything to convince that this man should not be punished for his crime, and that he is not still a danger.

    • People like Turcotte that are declared not guilty of a crime are NOT in the statistics.
      No wonder crime appears to be declining.

  3. Cons have minds that fit in perfectly with the ‘mob mentality’. They always want to ‘get a rope.’

    Whether this man has been ‘cured’ or not, we don’t know and will have to trust the psychiatrists. But it’s hardly fair to attack our justice system.

  4. We have the right to choose in Canada, I don’t understand why Turcotte was institutionalized in first place. Murdering your children is popular activity in Canada, not sure why Turcotte is being punished for his behaviour.

    Moore and his colleagues use my tax $$$ to murder other people’s babies so he’s just being his normal blowhard self when he whinges about justice system being lenient.

    TorStar ~ Apr 2012:
    Abortion will never be eliminated and anti-abortion activists should stop trying to impose their will on others by trying to make it illegal, a senior Conservative MP says.
    Government whip Gordon O’Connor delivered a stridently pro-choice message Thursday night in response to a private member’s bill from a Tory MP ….

    • Really, guy, if you are going to do that at all you should wait a couple of days at least.

      • For the anti-choice, it’s always five-o’clock somewhere.

  5. “Most people with a conscience and a heartbeat would like to see a guy like Turcotte suffer as his victims did ….. but it isn’t the kind of thing on which you base policy.”

    Jonathan Haidt:
    So, Hindus traditionally believed it’s, that the universe will balance itself, right itself. It’s like gravity. If I am lazy, good-for-nothing lying scoundrel, the universe will right that and I will suffer. But then along comes liberal do-gooders and the federal government to bail them out.

    So I think the conservative view, for social conservatives this is, is that basically liberals are trying to revoke the law of karma. Almost as though, imagine somebody trying to revoke the law of gravity, and everything’s going to float away into chaos.


  6. Difficult problems need simple answers, yes …

  7. I am not sure that you can accuse politicians of politicizing Isabelle Gaston’s (Turcotte’s ex-wife’s) pain when according to some new’s accounts she has asked Canadians to send pictures of their own children to the Prime Minister’s office and ask him to change the system that allowed her husband to be released from custody less than four years after stabbing their children to death. It seems to me that Dr. Gaston herself is very dissatisfied with the Canadian system and she herself is crusading to get it changed.
    I would like to point out that Guy Turcotte is not fully free. He does have to see a psychologist on a regular basis. He has to keep the review board appraised of where he is living and IF he shows signs of illness, he can be returned to the forensic institution. What I find a little worrisome is what was reported in a recent newspaper article…that being his plan to marry again and have more children. I would say his insight isn’t great.

  8. Hell! How do Friday events in Connecticut temper your rhetoric?

  9. Justice system is what really “off putting, even gross,”. If this kind of shit keeps happening people will take matters in their own hands. I will for sure.

  10. From my father point of view. Any mechanician knows that you can’t die by drinking windshield washer fluid. You get sick a lot but you stay alive. So the question is… how come a specialist doctor knows a thousand and one ways to kill himself decicide to use windshield washer fluid instead.

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