Since last June, the Liberals have been lamenting the penal pork barreling
of the minority Conservative Government of Canada.
By the time Ignatieff's bus tour-de-force across the
country was coming to a close, the Liberal leader proclaimed that his
party was opposed to Harper's plans for "prisons and planes"
instead government support for "child care, retirement security,
post-secondary education..., economic security and defence of our
public health care system".
Some Canadians may have been encouraged by the Liberal rhetoric against
a prison plan likely to prove itself costly to taxpayers. Based on the knowledge accumulated from past punishment binges elsewhere in the world, the Harper prison plan
won't prevent the complex harms and conflicts in our
communities that we call 'crime' in the long-term, nor will it meet the
needs of the victimized and criminalized.
But while some of us might be cheered by Liberal politicking, it's likely we won't be happy
to hear that, under a Liberal government, our hard-earned tax dollars
will fund "public space that can serve the cultural and economic
interests of a whole region" such as a new sports arena in Québec City
this pronouncement, it appears as though the two main competitors in
the looming federal election have both decided to pay lip service to
the need to trim the deficit and debt, while also peddling their own
brands of pork they've stuffed up their noses and infused with a gravy
so thick that they cannot smell their own warped priorities.
the context of a fiscal crisis where Canadians are looking for
leadership and for the priorities traditionally met by governments to
be addressed, Harper and Ignatieff portray themselves as having
competing visions for the future of Canada.
But all I see is an empty
cupboard that I'll still be paying for because these two financial
wizards are more interested in convincing voters that we can have it
all instead of making the choices needed to ensure younger generations
will receive value, or anything at all, for what they've paid for.
will only tell if the NDP offers their competing brand of electoral
pork. Should this happen, future generations of Canadians can look
forward to their own version of the Three Little Pigs to call their
Unfortunately for them, in this tale, they will have nothing more
than a house made of borrowed money to protect them from the big bad
wolf who will leave them with nothing. Not even the hair on their
chiny chin chins. (X)
Justin Piché is a PhD
Candidate in Sociology at Carleton University, and Co-managing Editor of the Journal of Prisoners on Prisons. Justin’s blog, Tracking the Politics of ‘Crime’ and Punishment in Canada, is a must-read for anyone
interested in prison justice in Canada.