Precisely what does Anne Cools think she needs to "think about"?
With the Conservative Party on the verge of a Senate majority -- following the upcoming retirement of a number of Senators, and the inevitable appointment of Conservatives to take their place -- Canadians should be asking them if such a Senate majority is necessary, or even desirable.
The truth is that, based on how the current Liberal majority tends to act, a Conservative majority is both necessary and desirable.
The recent ongoing episode regarding the Senate and Conservative MP Joy Smith's anti-human trafficking bill is a splendid example of this.
The bill is currently being held up in the Senate. The culprit seems to be independent Senator Anne Cools, backed by the Liberal caucus.
The bill, which seeks to set a five year mandatory minimum sentence for cases of human trafficking involving children, will be proclaimed before the Olympics, when human trafficking in Vancouver is expected to spike considerably.
"We have to protect our children," Smith insisted. "These people in the Senate think they are the fountain of knowledge against all the experts."
But Senator Cools seems to think that there's actually something to think about regarding this bill.
"It's such an infantile statement it needs no answer." Cools retorted. "It stands on its own ignorance."
The truth of the matter is that the very notion that an anti-human trafficking bill needs to be subject to any amount of "investigation and thought" is itself infantile. It sends the message that Cools either doesn't understand how dangerous and immoral a crime like human trafficking is, or that she simply lacks the moral and ethical maturity to act against it.
As it turns out, Cools' objection to the bill is the same as that offered by NDP MP Libby Davies -- an ideological opposition to mandatory minimum sentences.
"I do not believe that mandatory minimum sentences will cure either the problems of the criminal justice system or the social problems that cause these offences," Cools insisted. "This is a deep matter, and these are deep questions that need serious attention from government and I would admit, deep study in this place."
It apparently just doesn't occur to Anne Cools that those who traffick other human beings simply belong in jail, for as long as it's possible to keep them there.
If Joy Smith's bill has any deficiency at all, it's that the mandatory minimum sentence is too lenient. The mandatory minimum should be life in prison.
It seems that the Conservative Party understands this, and that the current crop of Liberals in the Senate simply doesn't. The retirement of each and every one of them -- and a Conservative majority in that chamber, to be followed by reform -- cannot come soon enough.
Other bloggers writing about this topic:
Maria S Nunes - "Senator Anne Cools Needs to Know How a Connection is Made"