In February 2012, federal Justice Minister Vic Toews managed to do a remarkable thing; he made a statement so offensive in defense of his flawed legislation that he managed to unite the left and the right in opposition to him. The bill was C-30 which would have given sweeping powers to authorities to snoop upon people’s private internet communications purportedly to help reduce child porn trade.
As opposition to this bill grew, an agitated Vic Toews stood up in the House of Commons to state to a Liberal critic: “He (Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.)) can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”
In one statement Toews managed to outrage political watchers across the entire spectrum as he ridiculously and offensively tried to imply that anybody who opposed his legislation is a supporter of child pornography. Bill C-30 was eventually withdrawn due to mass public opposition to it. That does not happen often with a majority government.
That sort of vapid debate tactic is unfortunately in common use when people are discussing issues that get emotional. Most recently I saw this as I wrote upon the folly of Calgary’s city hall trying to legislate a ban on sharkfin soup. My entire point was that it simply is not within a municipal government’s jurisdiction to legislate what kind of food we can eat no matter how horribly the food was harvested. This brought about all sorts of responses about how terrible shark finning is to the point where one hammerhead said my article was essentially saying I condoned people going to the SPCA to pick up a puppy to eat.
No matter how many horrors are brought up, it does not change the reality that it simply is not the role of our city council to legislate on this. It does not matter if the sharks were subjected to electroshock torture while being repeatedly sodomized by the fisherman while watching Lindsay Lohan trying to act before their fins were cut from them and they were tossed back into the sea, it is not relevant to the discussion of municipal jurisdiction. This is not simply my opinion, this is how courts have ruled in Canada thus it is silly and wasteful to direct civic resources towards this issue.
To claim that pointing these jurisdictional realities out is being supportive of animal abuse is simply shallow and foolish and does nothing to address real issues.
I figure I may as well list a few other areas where this baseless type of debate is often used and will likely be used again so I may link people here when they try it.
I can oppose legislation relating to natives as well as the activists and proponents of those legislations without being a racist. This applies to pretty much any legislation that effects or is being promoted by any person of an identifiable group.
I can support changing Canada’s failing healthcare system without wanting to change it to the American system. There are hundreds of systems and dozens that surpass Canada’s in terms of both cost and outcomes. I really don’t care what happens in the USA in that regard. It is irrelevant and acting as if there are only two healthcare systems on the planet is simply stupid and is hindering real reforms.
I can oppose having Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan without being supportive of the Taliban. How many more good Canadians need to die in that stone age state with no visible signs of them growing out of being a vicious theocracy?
I can oppose bicycle infrastructure being constructed at the expense of existing automotive infrastructure without being “anti-bicycle”. I can take issue with the exaggeration of demand for these bike lanes and prove the lack of use of them without being anti-bike too. I find this one ironic as one of the more prolific bicycle zealots in the social media world loves to send expletive laden rants at me accusing me of being anti-bike. Meanwhile his handle is @carfreeyyc and he personifies the anti-car movement quite well to the point of wearing it on his figurative internet sleeve. Most bicycle aficionados are not anti-automobile but their activist element certainly is as can be seen in the crazy ImagineCalgary city plans.
I can oppose many of the flawed animal rights legislations that have been tabled without supporting animal abuse. I want to see stronger penalties for cruelty to animals but activists have to stop inserting clauses trying to take away the property status of animals if they want these legislations to pass.
I can oppose capital punishment without being supportive of <insert crime here>.
The examples are endless but I have covered the main ones that I see directed at me anyway. Many things are debatable and all legislation should be. Opposing a piece of legislation does not mean that one condones the act that the legislation is supposed to address. We can never let people try to stifle rationed debate by implying such.