"The Harper government scrambled yesterday to clarify its position on capital punishment amid opposition accusations that the Tories are harbouring a hidden agenda to bring back the death penalty in Canada.
The accusations followed Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day's surprise announcement Thursday that Canada will no longer seek clemency for Canadian murderers sentenced to death in other democratic countries after a fair trial.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper insisted the new policy is not a prelude to bringing back the death penalty in Canada. "We have no desire to open the debate on capital punishment here in Canada," he told reporters in Halifax."
Well of course they deny it; it wouldn't be a very "hidden" agenda if they fessed up to it, would it now? But seriously... one couldn't be blamed for wondering what's up with the sudden reversal in what's become standard procedure for such cases. Opposition to the death penalty being a Canadian principle, when a citizen -- no matter how much of a douchebag he may be -- is so sentenced in another jurisdiction, our government seeks clemency. This isn't interference in another country's due process, it's standing up for a Canadian principle.
I wondered if this was a way of gauging public opinion of capital punishment, especially when Stockie, in that sly, stupid way of his, insinuated that asking for clemency wouldn't send a good law and order message. Red herring alert!!! -- capital punishment has nothing to do with Canadian law and order. But it's hard to believe that even this current crop of Yeehaw Conservatives would consider a move as negative and controversial as bringing back capital punishment. It has little support even among Conservatives... or does it?
There's no better place to get a reading on the pulse of wingnut opinion than the good old Western Standard. If the Standard isn't grunting out its unequivocal support for capital punishment, it's safe to say none exists. Over at the Shitgun, I mean Snotgun, I mean Shotgun Blog, they're talking about it. But as I read through the comments I was surprised to find that although most felt the convict "had it coming to him", there was little enthusiasm for reviving capital punishment here. ("Little" meaning there was some -- "The death penalty saves lives!" squealed one character -- and Irony is alive and well at the Shotgun.)
So. Breathe a cautious sigh of relief. Judging by response at the Shotgun, it's unlikely that there's any hidden agenda to reintroduce the death penalty -- support for it would certainly be strongest in that rabid venue.
But it doesn't hurt to keep an eye on things!
UPDATE: On the other hand...