So much for that summer makeover

Well, the summer break is nearly over; Parliament resumes in only a couple of days; and what do the parties have to show for it? According to a recent poll, the Liberals have a great deal to show for it, while the other parties have, well… not so much. The popular support survey put the Liberals far on top of the polls with 40%, with the Conservatives down at 24%, NDP at 15%, and the Bloc in last position at 13%.

I remember, just before the summer break, hearing something about a big Conservative/Harper summer makeover. It is kind of strange, however, as I haven’t really heard or seen anything substantial from Harper and the Conservatives all summer long. It’s not like it has been a short summer either, as I have seen Paul Martin everywhere ( the softwood issue, the new Governor General, Alberta/Saskatchewan centennial, Hurricane Katrina, Chinese presidential visit, the UN, etc). Now, I may not have been paying enough attention to the news to notice (although I did notice the PM a lot), but I don’t remember anything significant coming from the Conservative Party on any of these summer issues. In fact, the most memorable comments from the Conservatives were those from disgruntled members, not very happy with Harpers leadership.

If the Conservative Party, and especially Stephen Harper, wants to get some recognition, that they sorely need, they have to be in the spotlight. I would have to say that over the summer, the spotlight is one place they certainly have not been.

How do you solve a problem like sharia?

“All justice comes from God; he alone is its source. But if we knew how to receive it from so exalted a source, we would have no need for government or laws.” – Jean Jacques McGuinty

Premier McGuinty’s decision to not sanction Sharia-based tribunals as a form of arbitration, and ban other religious-based arbitration sanctioned in Ontario since 1991 is likely the best decision he will ever allow himself to make as Premier.

Doubtless, McGuinty considered the potential disadvantage for vulnerable members of Ontario’s Muslim communities under religious based arbitration. Surely he considered how a decision to not sanction religious arbitration for Ontario’s Muslim communities, while continuing to sanction other religious tribunals, would appear as a condemnation of Islam.

I think McGuinty also considered the social contract and determined that Sharia, and any other religious based law, is fundamentally incompatible with a society structured around sovereign created law. Perhaps McGuinty would agree with Rousseau that, in our society, “it is no longer necessary to ask who is to make the laws, since they are the acts of the general will; nor whether the prince is above the laws, since he is a member of the state; nor whether the law can be unjust, since no one is unjust to himself; nor how one is both free and subject to the laws, since they are merely the record of our own wills.” Private religious law is simply not in our contract.