Politics on TV: Reacting to Rehtaeh Parsons - Macleans.ca

Politics on TV: Reacting to Rehtaeh Parsons

The three things you need to see


Here are the three things you should not have missed:

  1. The Rehtaeh Parsons case
  2. The “Titanic” blunder of Arctic Patrol ships
  3. Peter Penashue

Rehtaeh Parsons:

With the suicide of teen Rehtaeh Parsons grabbing international headlines, Power Play spoke with Nova Scotia premier Darrell Dexter, who said that as they get more information about what happened, they are trying to design a response that looks across the lines of individual departmental responsibilities. Dexter said that this was another case where there were many opportunities to provide support and assistance, and it begged the question of where the gaps were, and pointed to the province’s bullying task force. On Power & Politics, Dexter called Anonymous a cowardly group that makes claims with little or no basis, and said that vigilante action is not appropriate in a civilized society. At a press conference in Calgary, Stephen Harper said that he wants people to stop calling it “bullying,” which has the connotation of kids misbehaving when this is youth criminal activity. Evan Solomon then spoke with Wayne McKay, who wrote the provincial task force report on cyberbullying. McKay said that the province wasn’t moving fast enough on his recommendations, especially when it comes to clarifying questions of jurisdiction, implementing courses on digital citizenship, or hiring more guidance counsellors in schools. Solomon also had an MP panel of Kellie Leitch, Hoang Mai and Hedy Fry, where Leitch touted the action the government had already taken to combat bullying, Mai decried that his party’s national strategy to combat bullying was voted down by the government, and Fry said that there is fuzziness in the Criminal Code around how digital technology plays into critical harassment, libel and spreading false messages, but her own bill to address that was voted down by both the Conservatives and NDP.

Arctic patrol ships:

Don Martin spoke with Michael Byers from UBC about the Rideau Institute’s new report that calls the planned Arctic patrol ships a “titanic mistake.” Byers said that the ships would be required to patrol both the Arctic and the east and west coasts, but in order to be able to both break ice and travel great distances, they would be too slow to act as coastal patrol ships. Byers said the Royal Canadian Navy was responding to political directions and were stuck with hybrid vessels that would do neither job well, and wouldn’t have a deep sea port in the Arctic to service them. In response, the parliamentary secretary, Chris Alexander, called the report nonsense and said that the Rideau Institute has long advocated for smaller defence budgets. Alexander said the ships are still in the design phase, and that it was a new capability for them to establish a persistent, long-term presence in the both the high and low Arctic, and which can share responsibility for patrolling the coasts with the Coast Guard.

Peter Penashue:

Evan Solomon spoke with CBC reporter David Cochrane, who interviewed premier Kathy Dunderdale about Penashue’s comments about withholding authorization for a project until he got funding for the Labrador highway. Dunderdale said those kinds of comments are unacceptable and politically dumb, and that it’s bad policy to pit one region of the province against the other as leverage. Dunderdale added that she would dismiss a cabinet minister in her government that did that, and that there is a higher responsibility for a federal regional minister. Dunderdale also has no idea what project Penashue was talking about, and Penashue’s campaign said they wouldn’t reveal which project it was either. On the Power Panel, former cabinet minister Stockwell Day said Penashue’s description was nothing like his experience of how ministers behave, and that Penashue should say which project he referred to.

Worth Noting:

  • After having Calgary’s Child Advocacy Centre named after him, Sheldon Kennedy spoke about the need for a centre like that to be a one-stop-shop so that abused children aren’t caught in the system and re-victimized.