17 October 2006

Robbing Peter & robbing Paul

It called on the federal government to not only increase funding, but also to ensure the program’s long-term financial stability.
CONTACT: Hannah Bernstein, Canadian Bar Association, Tel: (613) 237-2925, ext. 146

The Harper Conservatives have announced their intent to stop pouring taxpayer dollars down the black hole that is the Court Challenge Program. Libs, Dippers and now the Canadian Bar Association are in a sort of frothing frenzy, attempting to portray this action as the Canadian equivalent of tearing up the Magna Carta.

So what's really happening here?

On a Liberal website, they trumpet the triumph of using taxpayer dollars to finance the decision that now allows Sikh students to wear kirpans to school. A kirpan is a knife that has some religious significance to devout Sikhs. You should note that this decision applies only to Sikhs. If your little Bobby is caught with the jackknife that Grampa gave him for his birthday, he's still going down the river.

I've just been waiting for the Rastafarians to use the argument that marijuana is their sacred religious artifact, and under this program, I can't see any way to reasonably refuse them the money to have their day in court.

And that way, my friend, lies madness.

Now, I’m no expert on political legislation, so I had to draw myself a simpler analogy.

I figured I could use my own experience, in this case my formative years, to try to better understand the situation. I tried to remember how the “law of the land”, or in this case, "the house"... used to work I was younger.

When I was a kid my father virtually ruled our lives. He had rules about eating, washing, bedtimes and going to church, as well as all the other mundane, day to day stuff. He didn’t just make rules up out of thin air, there was usually some sort of plan, vetted by his deputy leader, my mother, based on what they imagined was the common good.

You know the sort of thing I mean... staying fairly clean, neither impregnating nor being impregnated outside of holy matrimony, not being a serial killer. And dad, being the stern, unbending old sod that he was, enforced those rules variously with his belt, withholding allowances and what Steve McQueen would know as being sent to "the cooler".

Now after making up all these rules, there was a certain expectation on his part that we would toe the line. After dad came home from a brutal day at the anvil factory, he expected to have a shower, eat dinner without listening to too many stupid-ass arguments from his beloved family and maybe fall asleep watching the Leafs, with a half empty tumbler of Captain Morgan clutched in his fist.

What he for sure did not expect, was that my mother, who may or may not have felt dad was a bit of a hardass, would sneak money out of his wallet while he was in the shower, so me or my brothers could go grab a sixpack, or my sisters could buy makeup, or a subscription to teen magazines. Not that we didn't do stuff like that, there just wasn't any expectation that dumb ole dad would have to cough up for our expectations. And the system worked out pretty well as I remember. If we wanted to do something that cost money, we found ourselves part-time jobs. If we didn't like the house rules, we could always pony up for a seedy basement apartment somewhere else.

Now it may just be me, but it just doesn’t seem to make sense to obscenely overpay our elected members of Parliament, who take years to propose and pass the laws that keep society from tearing out each other's throats... which then face another level of approbation in the Nursing Home for Political Cronies & Bagmen (aka the Senate), and than hand out money to people who still aren’t happy with the situation, to challenge these very same laws.

If you have a beef with the law of the land and it's important enough to you, by all means raise some money with the help of like-minded individuals and go to court and challenge the law.

Just don't expect me to pay for it.

LAST WORD: Please contact your Member of Parliament and the Prime Minister to let them know you support this action.

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