|What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours . . .|
From CBC News online:
“Two convicted criminals, one of them still serving time, have been awarded Queen's Diamond Jubilee medals by a Conservative MP.”
The Conservative MP awarding these medals was my MP, Maurice Vellacott, representing the constituency of Saskatoon-Wanuskewin. The two “criminals” referred to are anti-abortionist activists Mary Wagner and Linda Gibbons, both of whom have been convicted over the years for disobeying restraining orders prohibiting them from demonstrating at and/or interfering with the normal activities at abortion clinics.
I didn't know about these medals, nor that MPs each had the privilege of recommending 30 people to receive them. Vellacott's choice has been questioned by the opposition and others inasmuch as the two recipients have demonstrated contempt for the law which MPs are expected to uphold.
Vellacott's defence was also reported in the article:
“Unlike the justice minister, Vellacott was unable to award these medals to the victims of crime, because these baby victims are dead, so instead the award to those 'heroines of humanity' Mary Wagner and Linda Gibbons who are trying to protect defenceless, voiceless human beings in the womb from butchery and death, and trying to let vulnerable women know that there are other options and support and adoption possibilities,” Vellacott said in his statement: “It's what you would expect in a caring, compassionate society.”
Vellacott continued, “It's a pretty upside down world when we honour abortionists like Henry Morgentaler for killing over 5,000 babies and imprison precious women, like Mary Wagner and Linda Gibbons, who try to save babies from such savagery. They are the real heroes of humanity!”
I'd be the last to condemn the women for exercising civil disobedience in support of their strongly-held beliefs. Their courage, considering the consequences to themselves, seems clear whether you agree with their stand or not.
Vellacott's actions in awarding them the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal, however, shows a lack of judgement many of his constituents recognize as being consistent with a chain of missteps. Vellacott needs to decide whether he represents his constituents or a few ideological hot buttons. I know the distinction isn't clear-cut, but the laws regarding abortion must either be upheld or changed by the orderly processes of parliament and the recent rejection by that body of any revival of debate on “when life begins” seems not to have taught Vellacott anything.
And then there's the language: savagery, killing, butchery in relation to abortion are words that suggest the speaker has lost his objectivity, an objectivity constituents have a right to expect from their representative in Ottawa.
But then, “orderly processes of democracy” is something the current government doesn't seem to be concerned about: omnibus bills, proroguing parliament to avoid difficulties, announcing controversial decisions at two minutes to midnight, the list goes on and on by now. If Vellacott acts without an understanding of how democracy ought to function and what the role of an MP is in a democratic state, he's in good company with Stephen Harper, Vic Toews, Bev Oda, Peter McKay, John Baird and the rest, all of whom have demonstrated their contempt for parliamentary debate at various times.
The awarding of a few Queen's Diamond Jubilee medals is not a big thing, and maybe I'm just piqued because I didn't get one. The behaviour of MPs in a democracy is a big thing, however, and I wish my fellow constituents would hold Maurice Vellacott's feet to the fire more often than they do.
There's no point in my doing so; he won't acknowledge my messages anymore.