Red meat! Get your red meat here! -

Red meat! Get your red meat here!


A couple of days’ worth of headlines…

Tories ‘prepared to defend’ polygamy ban

Toews supports new crime rate measure

Tories want to kill ‘two-for-one’ prison-time credit

Spike in refugee claims shows ‘abuse’ of system, Kenney says

There you go, Tory base. We may be spending at all-time record levels. We may be running $40-billion deficits, and bailing out auto companies, and ditching across-the-board tax cuts in favour of dozens of little social-engineering tax credits. We may have abandoned everything we ever stood for on Afghanistan, on Quebec, on corporate welfare, on foreign investment. We may have set up a regional development agency for southern Ontario.

But we’ll still protect you from a lot of imaginary threats like polygamy. We’ll still beat up on refugees, and prisoners. We’ll still whip up hysteria over crime. Because sometimes you just have to do the unassailably popular thing, when it’s the unassailably popular thing to do.


Red meat! Get your red meat here!

  1. At your earliest opportunity, could one of your journalist types ask the government if it is willing to use the notwithstanding provisions of the Charter in order to send polygamists to jail?

    • I’m pretty sure the answer from the government would be “no”.

    • I never could understand the policy regarding giving people a two for one deal on time served in jail. They should get credit for time sitting in the can awaiting trial. But not two for one. Shut that sale down already.

  2. I thought the ultimate red meat story of the past few days is CBC laying people off but I guess that is indirect Tory policy.

    But I do with agree with overall gist of this post – Cons appear to be playing three card monte with base and are hoping we aren’t noticing.

  3. Chantal Hébert once wrote that while a lot of Canadians identify as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, the Harper Conservatives have it the other way around.

    • I always thought that that was what made the Canadian centre ‘the centre’ – left on social matters (slightly) and right on fiscal matters (slightly)

    • Paul, maybe with the crowd that you and Chantal hang out with but Canada is more diverse than your and Chantal’s social circles.

    • I do not understand how one can be fiscally conservative and socially liberal. The two are contradictory. If you are socially liberal you have to burn tax money to support the multitude of causes and programs deemed to be progressive. A fiscal conservative would not do this.

      I think Hebert is wrong.Harper’s original approach to the financial crisis was much more wait and see and much more cautious. But the Libs, NDP and Bloc demanded that the fed govt open the spending spigots. The Conservatives, being in a minority situation, knew that if they didn’t do it the Libs and their cohorts would.


      • Cracy, but it’s Just the way most of us are, must be in our dna or something.

    • Yup, pretty much. Harper has lost the next election.

      He now is sticking like glue to the Liberals on fiscal matters. So what differentiates them is the Neanderthal stuff. It may make some happy, but certainly not the majority. The next election is lost. Guaranteed.

      *sigh* and they showed so much promise.
      Ah well, Iggy can’t win a majority, so we can try this all again in 2011 or 2012 or so, and hopefully get it RIGHT this time.

  4. To paraphrase Bart Simpson: “Going after polygamists? Man, they don’t care *whose* toes they step on!”

    CPoC True Believers will take this as evidence of Harper’s “toughness”.

    • Lets not cherry pick statistics here: red meat also has a 100% chance of being delicious.

      • You haven’t tasted my barbecued steak.

        • Mmm steak!

          • Oh, the study, which lumps pasta and all fatty foods in as “red meat” is silly. I just thought the theme was on target.

  5. I suppose these are “dog-whistle” policies to some extent because they are fairly benign, and the majority of socially liberal Canadians aren’t paying attention to them… only the target audience notices.

    • It’s true. Man, I’d hate to be a Haitian polygamist on trial right now!

      • Worse if you’ve been sitting in jail for a while before being convicted!

    • That does not mean that they aren’t destructive or harmful. I’m thinking of the veiled voting controversy that Harper invented a couple of years ago to pander to his base elements.
      That was horribly destructive politics; and all for short term political gain.

  6. I think it would an error to assume that the polygamy issue appeals only to the conservative base, I haven’t seen any opinion numbers but I’d be willing to bet that the majority of Canadians (read more than just the red meat base) have a problem with it. That’s not to say it can be stopped or should be, insofar as it enables the abuse of women it should be dealt with using existing criminal laws, assuming the various law enforcement officials around the country have the nerve to pursue it into places like Bountiful or in the face of other cultural considerations.

    • I agree that more than just the base care about polygamy, however it’s the base that gets rabid over it — mostly because the rabid “Traditional Definition of Marriage” crew tend to all be right-leaning.

    • Well they are the ones most likely to think that such obscure issues are the ones that government really ought to concern itself with.

      • It is not a vote mover though.

        • True. All it does ensure that those voters stay in place and don’t sit on their hands at election time. Waste of everyone’s time.

  7. Andrew C Did you read what Czech PM, acting EU President, said about Obama’s stimulus plans? He said they were the “way to hell”. Now that’s proper red meat talk, not like the thin gruel Cons are providing.

    • Good point, jwl. I don’t know if this really counts as “red meat for the base.” I’d say it’s candy for the Average Conservative Voter — who responds to freebie social issues but isn’t all that fiscally conservative.

      • I would argue a couple of those policies are for the Average Canadian Voter. How many people are pro-polygamy or for 2 for 1 prison time credit? I would argue not many people are going to be outraged by Con policies on those two issues at least.

        • Quite right, but not many Average Canadian Voters (as opposed to Avg. Tory Voters) are going to notice or care. I foresee that the debate (if any) on these measures will feature all parties strengthening their image but will leave the centre cold.

    • Did he say it before or after he was bopped out of office ?

  8. Quite O/T, but I thought Mr. Coyne would enjoy watching this:

    ‘Tis a fiscally conservative Member of the European Parliament attacking Gordon Brown to his face on the economy. The fiscally conservative will relish its forthrightness; me, I’m just pleased to see intense political discourse that doesn’t involve screaming.

    • I want to have Daniel Hannan’s babies.

    • Great link.

    • What was this about rigging the caulking and clearing the deck? Or was that rigging the hulls and decking the caulkers? And all without a teleprompter.

      • That’s what impressed me, the sans teleprompter thing. Goes to show how much cleaner the effect is when the brain isn’t doing two things at once.

        As to the metaphor, it lasted a bit too long, I thought! “And you, Captain Brown, having navigated us into the canals of fiscal imprudence, a veritable Amsterdam of libidinous budgetary shore leave, now seek to summon us back to the high seas of rectitude, ignoring every barometer, every low-flying bird of the market indicators . . .”

        And “Ship of State” isn’t the most original figure, eh? But maybe if we’re getting back to basics . . .

    • Proving once again, if further proof was ever needed, what a load of serial mediocrities our politicians truly are.

  9. I’m glad the Harper Conservatives are going after polygamists, this has got to be on a lot of people’s minds at the moment with the economy tanking and all. On the other hand, trying to staunch the flow of refugees makes total sense when viewed in combination with the environmental policies of ‘les Cons’ – we have to do something to stop the estimated 150 million refugees due to global warming. I think policy wonks call that ‘mitigation’.

    • yeah those environmental refugees should be here any minute……..

      Environmental refugees to top 50 million in 5 years — UN
      United Nations University news release
      October 11, 2005

      • I’m an environmental refugee! Global warming caused my fridge to break in my Jamaican home. I came to Canada to find ice but it’s all gone now that the arctic has melted.

        • I knew youse would like that one.

  10. Anyone with some criminal law experience around here?
    The proposal to go to yrly anecdotal crime reporting, frankly stinks. It’ll be that much easier to come to conclusions that support yr ideaology, and stir folks up with emotionlly torqued dramas.
    The proposal to do a way with the two for one needs clarifying, just what does it mean? Is it a reduction in sentence due to time served in detention, or is it really a two for one reduction – i’m puzzled? Traditionally sentences are reduced for time served in order to take account of the lengthy delays in sentencing – justice delayed, is justice denied.
    If the this is what the opposition is gutlessly supporting, than i’m disgusted. Perhaps experienced criminals who’ve been through the system before are gaming it , but hardly accounts for everyone – beside wouldnt it be possible to crack down on the lawyers who may be encouraging this sort of thing. Is this what we can expect from Ignatieff, painting himself con/lite, instead of standing in defence of progressive ideals and long fought for equity in our criminal justice system? I’m not arguing for a slap on the wrist for offenders, but neither do i wish to see bone-head policies being adopted, merely to appease the Harpy carnivores.

    • Under 2 for one for every day you spend in day counts for two days towards your final sentence if you are convicted. I suppose delay in sentencing is part is tangentially involved, but the rationale is that you are keeping innocent people incarcerated, and the (limited) facilities available to inmates for rehabilitation aren’t available in a provincial jail while you await trial. (it would go a long way towards making these measures palatable if they sought to introduce these measures for people awaiting trial – don’t hold your breath). So a four year sentence with six months in jail before trial generally means you will serve three more years (you’ve served six months, you get six credit and three more to go). There are other reasons why it’s good policy – jail is expensive and longer sentences actually solve very very little.

      • But building new prisons stimulates the economy in swing ridings and creates jobs for law abiding Conservatives in the suburbs.

      • Thanks Mike. But now i’m even more puzzled – just not bright i guess. Two for one as you describe and i understand [not necessarily the same thing] seems a little rich. Does the proposed change mean there will be no allowance for time served? Not even one for one, which would seem to be simple equity to me. And what of those who are held for six months, or so, who are eventually found not guilty – where the hell’s the equity there? – Or have i just misunderstood again.
        My pt about Ignatieff holds true, if all time served is abolished. Even poor old ineffectuall Dion would have stood up like a man against that. Just what will Ignatieff stand for, is my question? Or is he contend to let Harper reset the agenda, until the electorate are offered a choice between two dishonest conservative parties?

        • Ok, after exhaustive research on my part i’ve concluded that 2 fo 1 is in fact, 2 for 1. Vindication!
          Well it looks like i might have to cut Iggy some slack, unless that is, he intends to support measures to completely abolish time served sentences, which would be a disgrace. Perhaps someone could still answer my earlier question: what about those who are eventually found innocent after being held and confined, do they receive no justice?

      • 2 for 1 sounds like an incentive to make court cases drag on forever.

  11. And lets not forget the $25 million for snowmobile trails. I can see the slogans now, just say no to pologamy, yes on snowmobiling

  12. Ask any feminist whether they support polygamy.

    I’m old enough (51) to remember Leave it to Beaver days of white picket fences when mom stayed home and dad had a blue collar job that supported a family of four.

    In those bygone days nobody bothered to lock the doors. We weren’t dodging bullets on the way to school. People were decent.

    But now people are nasty. Criminals are running rampant. Canada isn’t Canada anymore.

    • Yup those were the days. When women didn’t have a choice whether they could get a career and wait to start a family. Where if you weren’t white, you were lesser. If you were native, you weren’t even a citizen and the constant threat of Nuclear war.

      Ah good times.

  13. Here is an interesting idea. Don’t ban Polygamy, let people do what they please. Just enforce the law as it is for individual rights. It is illegal to force someone into marriage. It is illegal to marry someone underage. An individual has the right to a divorce. No religion or spiritual affiliation (or none affiliation) has the right around those laws.

    There is no issue in which 3 consenting adults should be allowed to “marry”

    • AA,
      Saskatchewan Canada has already forced two non-consenting men to be legal sametime spouses of 2 women.…Saskatchewan…polygamy.
      The men thought they could just allow a woman to live in their homes, the judges made them legal spouses even while the women remained married to other men!
      Go communist Saskatchewan! ( ps.. what”s a little matter like the Federal criminal code matter in big ole Saskatchewan)

  14. Andrew, I really enjoyed your comments on At Issue tonight – about the GST cuts and the loss of revenue meaning we don’t have income tax cuts… dead on, dead on and very well spoken.

  15. I think we are about to see more insignificant policies for the base, Andrew, to offset latest Con looniness. Clement is saying today that government will guarantee Detroit 3 warranties if they go into Chapter 11 which means the Feds are going to be in charge of oil changes and the like.

    What can possibly go wrong?

  16. Heh all,
    In Saskatchewan Canada Polygamists don't need to be "consenting adults" to be "as married".
    They can already be married to another Canadian under Ontario law for example and move to saskatchewan and live with another person for 2 years.. and presto.. they are married again under Saskatchewan Family property Act. The Saskatchewan partner gets nada from theOntario persons property because Ontario only allows one spouse at a time. Saskatchewan allows any number of spouses at a time under Section 51 of their Family Property Act ( formerly marriage act)
    Dig it.. polygamy is legal in Saskatchewan Canada!