The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small: “Off with his head!” she said, without even looking round.
–– Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
At last night’s debate, all three party leaders offered ringing endorsements of the Queen’s punish-first, trial-later approach to law enforcement. All three tossed the presumption of innocence on the scrap heap in response to a question from Ian McNeil of East Lake Ainslie:
How comfortable are you with a Safer Communities and Neighborhoods Act, which allows people to be evicted from their homes without being charged, or convicted of a criminal offence, or having an opportunity to face their peers?
Darrell Dexter, who purports to be a New Democrat, led the charge:
Well there are always concerns, civil liberties concerns, around whether of not people are able to get a fair hearing with respect to these kinds of matters. But what the Safer Neighborhoods and Communities Act [sic] actually does, there is an evidentiary base for decisions that are made, and there are investigations that take place, and they are designed to protect neighborhoods from disruptive activity.
It is a tool that is in the toolbox of the authorities and I have faith not only in the authorities but in the courts of this province that they administer that law appropriately, and they will protect the civil liberties of the people of this province.
Overriding all of this, of course, are the rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that is the overall safeguard for those mechanisms that exist in the Safer Communities and Neighborhoods Act [sic].
You have to wonder, is this guy inspired by the likes of Tommy Douglas and Stanley Knowles, or by Stephen Harper and Stockwell Day? The premier, too, stood squarely in the Harper-Day, law-and-order camp.
03 June, 2009