Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Tale of Two Laws

It's been a justice-y sort of day.

First off, Canada's New Government is finally getting tough on repeat violent offenders. The howls of protest are predictable, but the new so-called 'three strikes' law seems to be to be just calling a spade a spade. If someone is convicted of violent and/or sexual offences on three seperate occasions, which means they have been through at least two complete cycles of sentencing, incarceration, probation, counselling, education, support, etc. and are still offending... aren't they dangerous by definition?

Most ironic of all I find, is that the opposition to this new law comes mainly from many of the same groups that are howling about violence against women. I'm willing to bet that most of the offenders who would be caught up in the new law and swept off the streets would be men, and most of their victims would be women. So, what do you want, people? You can't complain that nothing's being done about VAW and then complain when someone is actually going to do something concrete about it.

On the other hand, we have the Bush administration's new anti-terror law. This is a case of baby having been thrown out with bathwater in my opinion. I just can't see the justification for the suspension of habeas corpus, or for the legalization of torture and the exemption of CIA operatives from normal laws. I'm all for the war on terror, and all for defending our way of life and our values, but this law goes too far for me. It places the US on a similar level to many of the regimes they profess to despise in terms of human rights. It has overtones of dictatorship, in the concentration of near absolute power in the hands of the president to deal with these cases.

In the end, I think this law is neither necessary or productive. We seem to have foiled many terror plots and evaded any more attacks without it thus far.