"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Friday, January 13, 2012

Another day, another trial balloon

Fresh from launching a trial balloon on reopening the abortion debate that he swears he has no interest in reopening (mainly because it is too handy a chunk of raw meat to dangle in front of the base at fundraising time) Steven Harper sends his legal beagles forth to reopen the debate over same sex marriage that he swears he has no interest in reopening. Amid the screeching, outrage in response to their clumsy er, backdoor effort to test the waters the Justice Minister is backpeddling at light speed.
The whole foray was ill advised to start with and as transparent a bit of wind testing as has ever been seen.
The lawyers for the feds, who would not be responding to this case in the way they did without checking with the boss first, argued neither woman was legally able to marry a person of the same sex under the laws of Florida or the United Kingdom, where they reside. "As a result, their marriage is not legally valid under Canadian law."
The whole thing could have and should have been avoided by citing the fact that Ontario divorce law has a residency requirement. That makes some sense, since if you don't live here, things like orders to divide property or share custody become much more difficult for Canadian courts to enforce.But no, Harper decided this would be a good time to mess around and provoke a freakout, thus giving him a chance to a) burnish his "see, I'm not really a bigot" credentials by tut-tutting about this "misunderstanding" b) blame the Liberals for not creating perfect legislation (that his party opposed) and c)reopen the legislation to 'fix' it.
These trial balloons, along with the earlier push to villify the CBC, are great tools for Harper because they allow him to rile up the base and squeeze them for cash to fight "those lousy socialists and liberals who are obstructing the grand conservative agenda to remake Canada" and lay the groundwork for changing things without having to do any actual remaking until he's damn good and ready to do it.
Well played, you baby-noshing, dead-eyed low-rent Machiavelli



Beijing York said...

If their genuine about fixing the problem, they should amend the Divorce Act. Harper touching the SSM legislation gives me the willies.

sunsin said...

But don't things like this fire up Harper's enemies too? And a guy who's never been able to break 40% should really avoid doing that.

I wonder if it isn't the basest part of Harper's base trying to force his hand? He used to keep these people in line by citing his minority status, but they're getting restless now. I'm also certain that from a purely political standpoint, Harper would much rather not have had this fight. The upsides for him that you cited seem pretty lame.