Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Musing on Van Loan's honour killing musings

When I read Peter Van Loan's musings this morning that maybe, but maybe not, that he'd consider, but he's not sure it's necessary but maybe, there should be harsher sentances for so-called honour killings...

Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan opened the door to tougher penalties for honour killings yesterday, saying it is a crime Canadian society cannot accept.

“This notion that it is appropriate to kill a family member because of your disapproval of their lifestyle or choices like that is simply unacceptable in our society. I have a very serious problem with that.”

... I can't help but think of the arguments that his conservative brethren use to argue against hate crime legislation: murder is murder, period. They tend to argue strongly that crimes based on race, ethnicity or sexual orientation should be treated any differently than any other murder.

So I find Van Loan's musings on "honour killings" to be interesting. I'll refrain from speculating on the reasons for his public musings, although I certainly have my suspicions. I'll be interested though to see the reaction of the conservative blogsphere.

Why own feelings on this? While I do agree generally that a murder is a murder, there are cases where hate crimes legislation should clearly be applied. But is should be used sparingly, because it is a difficult thing to prove, what was in a killer's mind.

Should we extend the hate crimes concept to include honour killings? I do find them abhorrent; although, of course, all murder os abhorent. I think the challenge would be in defining the term, and when and how it would be applied. I'd want to consider the legislation and its implementation before coming down either way.

Without ruling it out though, and while I'm not convinved this is a burning crisis in Canada, I think there may be other, non-judicial ways of preventing this kind of cultural violence before it occurs. Perhaps we should be exploring them too.

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4 comments:

Lord of Wealth said...

"This notion that it is appropriate to kill a family member because of your disapproval of their lifestyle or choices like that is simply unacceptable in our society."

Would he feel the same way if we were talking about an anti abortion zealot killing his daughter who worked as a nurse in a family planing center?

And if not him many others in caucus would see the cases as very different.

Ti-Guy said...

This is just pandering to the frightened, paranoid and ignorant Conservative base. I honestly wouldn't care if sentencing were more punitive for honour killings (if it isn't already) but Van Loan is only highlighting a rather minor issue for political gain.

There's nothing else but that worth discussing.

I'm starting to become a little envious of how the basest wingnut's views have official representation in our government, whereas my basest views (re-education camps for wingnuts) aren't given any kind of public hearing at all. It's so unfair.

ZoƩ said...

If Van Loan really wanted to address "honour killings", he would address all domestic violence. Whether the violence is done by "brown immigrants/muslims" or whether it is done by some "bible-thumping redneck from Alberta"...

Of course, this has nothing to do with doing something about violence done to women and children. It has only to do with making sure, we stereotype more immigrants.

Mtn Goat said...

Hmmm - so some "reasons" for killing another person can be OK, especially if we can point to "family values", "religious" or "cultural" justifications? Then we have to tread carefully because we might offend someone???? C'mon folks. Murder is murder and a wingnut is a wingnut. Some of us live in hope that our societal values can moderate and become more tolerant, not regress to the Dark Ages. There is NO justification for any of this crap no matter what hairs you care to split and it's about time we stood up and said so. Make the wingnuts stand up and be counted so we can relegate them to the dustbin of obscurity where they deserve to be.