I am not fond of the “no confidence” vote, the mechanism in parliamentary politics by which members of parliament can vote out the current government by expressing that they do not have confidence in those MPs who are currently running the country. While some votes are natural confidence motions, as their passage is necessary for governing the country — budgets are a good example — confidence motions outside these key votes are mere politicking.
Years of minority rule in Canada have soured me on these motions. On one hand, we have a government which routinely declares a controversial vote to be a “matter of confidence” in order to push through legislation disliked by the opposition, who are not prepared to force an election over the issue. The opposition, meanwhile, watches the polls and gathers funds into their war chest, and will miraculously “lose confidence” in the government when they believe they have an opportunity to form the government themselves.
All of which is politics at its worst.
However yesterday I came across this story in the Globe and Mail, which details Canada’s Conservative government’s attempts to avoid an inquiry into police behaviour, tactics and strategy during the G20 meetings in Toronto, all of which was criticized a couple of weeks ago here on the Big Bad Blog.
If there ever was a reason to suddenly “lose” confidence, Liberals, this is it. When all reports suggest that the forces you use to “keep the peace” instead waged war on the liberties of your citizens, the government has a duty to conduct an investigation.
Instead, the government is accusing the opposition of supporting “thugs and hooligans”, and siding with “anarchist groups” for daring to suggest an investigation should take place. While nobody has ever accused a politician of being honest, the dishonesty is overwhelming in these statements as the concerns expressed by the opposition are not in regards to the arrest of those who actually committed criminal acts, but threats and arrests of those who did nothing wrong.
For instance, here is a photo of National Post photographer Brett Grundlock being arrested by five police officers in riot gear, who appear to be using force that one would think would be unnecessary in order to subdue a lone photographer:
This photograph is from the National Post article regarding his arrest. The National Post is one of two national newspapers in Canada, and is known for its right-wing editorial stance. Does that sound like an anarchist group? Does “photographer” or “newspaper reporter” sound like “thug” or “hooligan”?
Click on that link to Canada’s right-wing newspaper, and read about the treatment of their reporters. This is from a newspaper which posts editorials like this one, claiming civil liberties advocates ought to be ignored, and containing gems like this:
of course it was wrong and unfortunate that police seemed to believe secret laws had been passed giving them the right to violate civil rights. It should be remembered that this was a delicate time, and it’s unlikely to happen again.
Yep. It was a delicate time. It was unfortunate. But no need for consequences — it won’t happen again. Honest.
Finally, we would like to present to you another one of those arrested protesters. As much a thug and hooligan as a four-year-old at a picnic. Perhaps an anarchist? Do we arrest people for thoughtcrime now?