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.