Who cares about the presumption of innocence? Citizens, yes; Dexter government, not so much

Everyone knew the NDP, once in power, would have to put some water in its red wine. In fact, Darrell Dexter began the process long before winning the 2009 election, and most voters approve the moderating effect of incumbency.

But there’s a difference between moderating extreme views and abandoning core democratic principles as the Dexter Government has done in its embrace of the Civil Forfeiture Act.

The act gives police and prosecutors a way around the presumption of innocence that has guided civilized countries for centuries. Simply put, it lets police set aside the bother of building a criminal case and proceed, Queen of Hearts-like, directly to punishment. Along the way, the hard won safeguards to protect the innocent fall by the wayside.

In Cape Breton, where police have used the act to punish entire families — poor families — because they lacked the evidence to prosecute one suspect in a household, listeners have bombarded the CBC station with messages of outrage. The Dexter government may have swallowed Stephen Harper’s tough-on-crime agenda, but Cape Bretoners still hold dear the democratic principles Canadian soldiers fought and died for in two world wars.

Ross Landry was on CBC Cape Breton’s Information Morning program a few minutes ago, reading empty talking points to defend this disgraceful abuse of power.

Consider this post a placeholder until the interview goes up on the station’s website and I can find time to dissect in in greater detail.