Interesting reporting today from the CBC’s Neil Morrison and the Citizen’s Dan Gardner. Seems that whatever this past week’s outrage over the decision to pardon Graham James, the government conducted a review of the system three years ago. From Gardner’s version.

The review was conducted. An array of options was put before the minister. As usual, they covered the gamut. At one extreme was “change nothing.” At the other, “forbid sex offenders from ever receiving pardons under any circumstances.”

Day studied the process, the policy, and the facts, and he concluded some changes were warranted. For example, two parole board members, not one, would be involved in applications by sex offenders. And rather than relying on local police to bring forward information related to the applicant’s conduct, the parole board would be required to go and get any information local police may have. But on the fundamental question — should sex offenders continue to be eligible for pardons? — Day decided in the affirmative.

Graham James received his pardon in 2007. It’s not clear if his application was dealt with before or after Day’s revisions to the process but it does seem certain that no change made by Day would have changed the outcome.



  1. There are a number of things very interesting about this beyond just the James reactionary outrage.

    The first is that this is a government of, well, reaction and not pro-action when it comes to significant changes or policies. On their own, they concluded that no significant changes were needed. Only when there is public outrage do they call for major changes.

    You see this in all sorts of areas. They had no economic plan for the recession everyone knew was coming and they said would not come. Only when there was public outrage and their lack of a plan did they come up with anything. You see it in its worst form in the small stuff: the insta-reactions for political potshots like Harper's embarrassment last year at the G8 attacking Ignatieff for something he didn't say.

    And from that, we see quite starkly just how far this party has gone from being a party of principle and policy to a party that chases the latest poll numbers, something they promised they would not do. [cont]

  2. The Conservatives seem to waffle between Knight and Day

  3. [cont]
    You saw that most clearly with their Week of the Flip Flop where they flip flopped on Oh Canada, maternal health and family planning, and about 3 or 4 other not-major-but-not-irrelevant issues.

    You saw it in their early days when they dismissed the environment only to make it a major priority when it became the number one concern of Canadians and then dropped back to doing nothing when Canadians got concerned about other things.

    And so it is no surprise that they have a do-nothing budget and Throne Speech. Facing a deficit, they choose no cuts other than, notably, the military. Facing a competitiveness lag, they offer no solutions. Falling behind in environmental technologies and innovation, they offer no funding or plan or vision.

    If there isn't a clear strong public sentiment for something, then they will do nothing. There is no leadership.

    • Well put. Add to this their relentless, non-stop partisanship, and their consistent use of the "it doesn't need to be true, it only needs to be plausible" maxim, and I think they're summed up.

      Plus, why are they so angry and resentful all the time?

  4. I suspect the "crisis" was triggered in order to change the channel from the latest focus on the Afghan detainees.

  5. What? They're holding blankets prisoner? I'm outraged!

  6. A Canwest reporter working with the CBC!!! I don't believe it.

  7. More reporters need to call them on this crap from the outset. Even without the information that this government passed up a chance to make a change they are now hollering about, it was unbelievable that represenatives of a government that has been in power 4 years think they can just rant on the radio and TV and not take responsibility.

    For instance, Vic Toews a former crown attorney and an MP for several years and a cabinet minister was allowed to bluster away on CBC Radio Manitoba last week about how terrible the system for pardons is.

    Even without knowing the review occurred under this government, the interviewers ought to have asked why didn't he already know about the system for pardons, and since his government has been in charge why it wasn't already fixed.

    I look forward to their follow up interview where they ask him why his government decided it ws okay to give pardons to pedophiles, but I doubt they have the balls to do it.

    • Absolute proof that the Canadian MSM has a Liberal bias.

    • Maybe you could site examples of the opposition criticizing the gov`t in Parliament for not being tough enough on crime. If you think the media should have the balls, then the opp. should as well.

      Don`t bother giving me that narrative about the crime bills being delayed by prorogation, which we all know would have not been necessary if the opp. had not threatened irresponsible coalitions and releasing security documents.

  8. Pesky journalists, digging up inconvenient truths. Now you can see why they are national security risks and desreve to be barred from committee meetings.

    Seriously though, at some stage, one has to believe that even Harper's own base will call them on their incompetence/shenanigans. Or are some types of voters beyond rehabilitation?

    • It will take a lot, I fear. So much of Harper's base is aligned with the Conservatives for regional or cultural (social conservative) reasons.

  9. Or maybe someone in the PMO landed on this this tidbit and "leaked" the information. Results: photo ops galore, the "base" is outraged so they must "act" to "fix" this. This government does not how to govern! It just seeks opportunities so it can react with the maximum amount of spin, Photo Ops, etc… What a way to govern!

  10. Vic Toews, Rob Nicholson, Stephen Harper are three pieces of garbage who stand neither for canadian values nor human rights, and i suggest we start a holiday in their honor where we walk around as grim reapers in prison uniforms wearing crucifixes and bad sweaters. Like halloween but instead of candy we get lame policy!

  11. Are you a bitter man norm ?

    • Nah, he's just a proxy for the sane.

  12. I wonder if harp had deja vu when he announced the review?

  13. It really is disconcerting to see that a government with no idea of what it is doing.

    So what triggered this "crisis"?

    Was it the article that appeared years after the pardon was granted?

    Or was it the fact that Harper read the article and, despite it being Good Friday, apparently jumped on the phone demanding changes to the system that apparently had already been considered and rejected.

    This really smacks of total incompetence.

  14. They blow a lot of steam, but don't know how to make the tea.

  15. The less Harper and Co. do about crime, the more they can talk about it. Not passing crime bills, or making substantive changes, allows them to kick and scream and be outraged over and over again.

    I think the MSM coverage was awful. There are some great quotes from a very concerned Stockwell Day ensuring it would be fixed those years ago. They need to be called on it or we'll continue to have little legislative progress in Ottawa.

    I read the nickname 'Lawless Harper' somewhere and it seems so great (just think of those Stampede photos).

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