June 10, 2015

C-24 and citizenship fraud: Just what are Harper's Tories trying to accomplish?

Joshua LiebleinRebel Blogger

I’ve been pretty favourable to the CPC over the last little while, but again: That’s because their critics are frequently so cartoonishly over the top in criticizing the government that they offend the Canadian sense of fairness.

So if you thought I’m going to be quiet when the Conservatives get careless and then blow it massively, think again.

Usually, my main beef with the CPC is the out-of-right-field bills they introduce and the way they roll them out.  Our example today will be Bill C-24- the one that’s supposed to crack down on citizenship fraud and Canadians of Convenience.

First of all this bill takes the familiar route of expanding the state’s powers to deal with a problem, which starts things off on an awkward note for small government conservatives such as our (best?) selves.

Still, I don’t like the notion of Canadians of Convenience, so I would like to believe that this bill solves a problem that needs solving. For some reason though, when I gaze into the wide world of the commentariat, I don’t see many voices cheering the government on here.

If the government is going to propose or amend legislation, they darn well better have a) the weight of evidence and/or b) public opinion on their side. I prefer the first, but I can understand the second. I can’t respect the absence of both.

Oh yes, we all know about the “silent majority of Canadians” who accept this bill. You would think, after coming up with enough bills that get blasted from all sides, they would start working on a vocal majority of people coming out in support. Of course, that would involve some effort.

I know the CPC can do better than this. When they put their minds to killing the gun registry, they made use of a vocal and active bunch of pissed-off gun owners who didn’t like being criminalized. The issue came up frequently in the 2011 election and Liberal MP’s felt the heat.

Chris Alexander, the guy carrying the ball for C-24, understands this because his election bid benefited handsomely from those gun owners, who wanted to make an example out of proudly anti-gun Liberal MP Mark Holland and did so.

So how come there aren’t as many voices in support of what Minister Alexander is trying to do here?  How come we have to fall back to “Our critics are a bunch of nobodies”? 

Well, if those critics are a bunch of nobodies whom nobody agrees with, someone forgot to tell the do-gooding lawyers who are intent on appealing it all the way to the top, which means it’s good as dead seeing as how the Harper government is 2 for 9 when it comes to SCC challenges.

Is the CPC going into this thinking, “Tenth time’s the charm?”

Actually, I take that back. It’s far more likely that they’re thinking how they’re going to spin getting their noses bloodied by the Supreme Court into another fundraising email and more defensive griping about activist judges.

Of course, if this whole sideshow is just meant to be a fundraising exercise, and if the conservative base is going to reward the party for this performance, then who am I to complain?

Obviously, then, both groups are happy with the arrangement as it is, and nobody really wants this to go any further than it will. 

I will admit one thing, though. The government’s clumsiness on C-24 is pretty strong evidence against the left-wing complaint that an unholy alliance of moneyed interests control our discourse.

If that were true, someone would be loudly asking for a refund. 


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commented 2015-06-12 08:23:21 -0400
" I’m open to being told off, Rebel readers."

I not sure “telling you off” is exactly what I would do, since I believe everyone is allowed their opinion. I don’t know enough about the bill to make an informed rebuttal. I might have time over the weekend to read it and then “tell you off”. :)
commented 2015-06-11 15:05:29 -0400
My problem with the bill is simple, and I thought the title encapsulated it clearly: I don’t understand what the point of it is. I don’t know why the government decided to do this now. I don’t know who was calling for it or whether the problem it purports to solve needs solving or is big enough to justify the expense, the expansion of the state’s powers, etc. Maybe it’s obvious to everyone else, but it simply isn’t to me.

So I look for clarification, and one side I have a massive backlash against this bill, and on the other side I have government talking points, which as a rule I don’t trust. Whatever this bill could accomplish could get negated if the SCC throws it out. Usually I can figure out what Harper’s trying to do and what advantage he’s trying to gain. Here, I can’t.

When I wrote this, I was expecting to be attacked and told how wrong I was and how there were actually all these reasons why I should support it. I’m open to being told off, Rebel readers. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings.
commented 2015-06-11 11:26:13 -0400
Peter, you said what I’m sure a lot of us here were thinking. Joshua, perhaps you would care to clarify your reasons for opposition to C24? Seriously, I am sure we here at the comment forum would all love to read them. Thanks in advance.
commented 2015-06-10 19:51:27 -0400
" this bill takes the familiar route of expanding the state’s powers to deal with a problem"

“when I gaze into the wide world of the commentariat, I don’t see many voices cheering the government on here.”

“a) the weight of evidence and/or b) public opinion on their side.”

“would start working on a vocal majority of people coming out in support. "

Okay, so let me see if I have this straight. You oppose bill C24 because:
1) the bill expands the states’ power,
2) other commentators are not cheering the bill,
3) there is not evidence on their side (of which you provide none either way),
4) the public does not appear to be (in your opinion) on their side,
5) the CPC is not targeting their bill to address the concerns of the “vocal” majority.

I was hoping you would actually take parts of bill C24 and refute them instead of saying something to the effect of (and I loosely paraphrase), “nobody seems to like it, so I don’t.”
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