I always get these stupid right wing flyers from the Conservative Party of Canada. Most of the time I just throw them out, but this one in particular really pissed me off:
This is my response:
Ed Fast, MP
Room 754, Confederation Bldg.
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Dear Mr. Fast,
I am writing you this letter in response to your recent household pamphlets sent to this address.
Normally when I get adverts from the Conservatives they go straight into the garbage after a quick glance. However, I assume that’s not what you want. They often ask for my opinion as a Canadian. How do I feel on the issues? What kind of leader do I want? And so on.
I will, if I may, provide you with my thoughts on your most recent pamphlet titled “Above the law?”
I feel as though you are appealing to the primal fears and stereotypes in many people. It’s not too hard to get people riled up over “young thugs” who are “committing crimes without fear of consequences”. Playing on stereotypes and fear is a time-honoured way of getting easy votes.
Your pamphlet is light on words and relies heavily on a highly suggestive image of young people “up to no good”.
Are these guys really a threat to our country?
Handing out tougher sentences to these “thugs” and teaching them a “lesson” will definitely satisfy someone’s thirst for vengeance. But in the long run it will just further alienate already marginalised youth from mainstream society.
Now let’s look at these youth who are committing crime. In British Columbia a disproportionate number of youth in the criminal justice system are First Nation and/or from the foster care system. Youth who enter the criminal justice realm often have harrowing life stories. They are often denied any access to anything that resembles social justice.
There must be consequences for breaking the law, but instead of discarding young offenders as “thugs” why don’t’ you sit down and ask the hard questions? Why are these youth so detached from society that they choose to repeatedly offend? What supports and services are in place to ensure they have the option to lead a better life? Every one of us needs help along the way.
There is nothing in that pamphlet but loathing and contempt for these youth.
It is “literature” like this that prevents your government from forming a majority. Many Canadians have a well-founded idea that the Conservatives are this right wing, redneck party that can’t shake off the stench of American fundamentalism.
“Young thugs” don’t scare me, but your vision of Canada sure does.