Okay, so the week of meetings has begun... I went to a morning ATIP session instead of the afternoon one, so I got to leave after an hour and go to my staff meeting... which was itself an hour and a half long. Hooray for my morning. :P :) (As a later edit, I just double-checked the time of the session I'd signed up for, and not only was it in the afternoon, but it was actually for tomorrow. That gives me only a really short meeting tomorrow morning that can often be kinda fun).

Anyhow, I was checking out Bourque.org, and I found this story on the ctv.ca website.

Here's some of it:

Martin slams Harper over MP's abortion comment
Prime Minister Paul Martin is criticizing Conservative Leader Stephen Harper for failing to speak out against remarks from one of his MPs comparing abortions to the beheading of an American contractor by Iraqi terrorists. Speaking to reporters en route to the G-8 summit in Sea Island, Georgia Tuesday, Martin said if a member of the Liberal Party had come out with such an "extreme statement," he would have spoken out immediately. But Martin wouldn't say whether he would expel an MP from caucus over such a remark.

Okay, first of all we have the typical MP crap posturing. "Oh look, your guy said something awful, so I'm going to jump on it and be all affronted and act as if I would have had one of my guys tarred and feathered if they said something half as bad!" It's bullshit, but it's politics. Guess why so many people are disillusioned with politics, eh? Bah.

Gallant's comment appeared in an article about an anti-abortion rally on Parliament Hill that appeared in The Western Catholic Reporter last month. "She compared the killing (of American Nick Berg) to the abortions performed in Canada over 35 years and said it is 'absolutely no different'," the article said. Stephen Harper responded immediately from Calgary Monday, but he refused to condemn his MP's remarks. "Cheryl Gallant is a very strong pro-life MP, and this is the rhetoric that the pro-life movement often uses," Harper told reporters in Calgary. "It's their business. I don't think it's particularly effective in changing public opinion."

Okay, so beheading a fully-grown adult man (against his choice, one assumes) is the same thing as removing a fetus (at the mother and/or father's request)? O-kay...

Now, sure, Harper didn't condemn Gallant, but well, as much as I disagree with her statements, I will also acknowledge, just like Harper did, that peoples' minds are made up on the abortion issue and will not be easily changed. That's why I typically refuse to discuss abortion with people, it's a subject that I am invested in and I don't want to debate it with people (abortion and hunting are about the only two subjects I won't discuss with people if at all possible).

He added he recognizes that abortion is here to stay in Canada. "Abortion is going to go on one way or the other, and I think it's part of life, rightly or wrongly," he said. "I wouldn't say I like abortion, but I think abortion is a reality that is with us."

I'm going to go out on a limb and deduce from this that while Harper isn't personally in favour of abortion, I don't think he'd be striving to have it removed as a law. Which, in a sense, is good -- I can handle having a candidate I didn't vote for in charge (which has been the case in every major election I've voted in), so long as he isn't looking to turn back the clock on our rights and freedoms. Whereas Stockwell Day gave off the impression that he would've liked to have repealed the laws (if memory serves) and he also struck me as a man who touched children in their private places... but that's another story. He always struck me as creepy. :P

The part that *really* got me about this article follows:

Gallant has already caused her party leader trouble this election campaign.

On Saturday, the Ottawa-area MP said she thinks Canada's newly amended hate law -- which added "sexual orientation" to the list of groups protected from hate propaganda -- should be changed back. "The danger in having sexual orientation just listed, that encompasses, for example, pedophiles," Gallant said. "I believe that the caucus as a whole would like to see it repealed."

Apparently, according to Gallant, there exists now an additional sexual orientation to the (arguably) three that are already in existence: We now have "pedophile" in addition to "heterosexual", "homosexual," and "bisexual" (for simplicity's sake I'm just using the three most common ones, forgive me for excluding anyone).

I would just like to take a moment to point out to Cheryl Gallant, who I am quite certain reads my site avidly, that "pedophile" is not a sexual orientation. It is, a fetish or a perversion, but it is not an orientation.

Harper tried to defuse that comment as well, saying that while he would like to see some amendments, he doesn't plan to change the law. "I don't intend to repeal this legislation," he said. "I think it's perfectly reasonable to have these protections in law."

Good, glad to have a political leader who recognizes that people are, unfortunately, persecuted as a result of who they choose to sleep with, and that's something against which they should be protected by law. Good for you, Stephen Harper. Between you and the Conservative candidate that was really engaging on the show a few weeks' back (although he wasn't the candidate for my riding), I'd almost be tempted to vote for your party. :)

These are not first controversial remarks from Gallant. In April, 2002, she was forced to apologize for a comment she made in the House of Commons, telling Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham to "Ask your boyfriend" about Mideast policy. The line was picked up by Commons microphones. After a firestorm of criticism, Gallant released a statement saying it "was inappropriate."

That isn't so much "inappropriate" as it is childish. Remember being in elementary school and accusing one another of having boyfriends and girlfriends? Okay, so we typically did it in a heterosexual context (at least in my childhood), but really, it's just plain immature.

The next year, in June 2003, she apologized to the Commons after TV cameras caught her mouthing an obscenity at Graham during question period.

Another immature one.

The latest gaffe comes as the Conservatives face criticism after a number of MPs expressed contentious opinions on topics such as abortion, bilingualism, and the death penalty.

Well, what can I say? I'm not about to vote for a party that's against abortion or in favour of the death penalty. *shrug* I give people credit that they're each entitled to their own opinions and so on, but when you're a politician, anything you utter is considered to be part of the party line. It's tough, and I have a lot of respect for the MPs that defect from their own parties to sit as independents or move to another party because their views contrast with those of the party... at the same time, it's somewhat unfair to the constituents who elected you. Presumably some of them voted you in based on the fact that you were a member of the party they wanted in power, so if you remove yourself from that party, you're doing your constituents a disservice.

So this seems to lend itself nicely to a question -- if you wanted to vote for a particular party because you believed in its platform and planks (a nice buzzword for you) and so on, but you despised the candidate in your riding for one reason or another (be it personal, political or business-related on some level), what would you do? Would you still elect him oir her, or would you vote for a candidate who you liked, but whose party you didn't necessarily support?

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