Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Election Canada 2006: Green party accuses Conservatives of NRA help

Is the NRA really helping the Conservative party in Canada? That is the question that the Green Party answers: yes.
This week Canadians learned that the U.S.-based National Rifle Association (NRA) would not only be supporting the Conservative party's campaign, but also providing it with strategic advice. "It's regrettable that Mr. Harper did not immediately reject these offers and send a strong signal to all Canadians that the NRA's mandate is not a sub-section of the Conservative platform," said [leader Jim] Harris.

This would be pretty big news, if it were as true as it sounds. The real story goes something like this: a person in the NRA is speaking at a session with the Canadian Shooting Sports Association. The CSSA is, in turn, looking to get more politically active. Some of their members are going to be supporting the Conservative party in certain Ontario ridings. This is a far cry from the NRA, in any official capacity, supporting the Conservative party. Further, the NRA isn't even providing the Conservatives with "strategic advice", which is clear from that Globe and Mail story.

THE GREEN PARTY may have some demons in its closet, too. Most notably is the fact that the Green Party of Canada has been active in other countries' politics. This seems to be the only reason why the Green Party objects to NRA support of a Canadian party. Green Party Review says this:
"just off the top of my head I can say Canadian Greens helped the Green Party of the United States with logistical support (the lapel pin that Ralph Nader wore during his last two presidential campaigns came from a GPC project, "Goods for Greens"), and, the leader of the Australian Green Party did a tour of British Columbia to help in their last provincial election."

So, must the Conservatives "renounce NRA support"? To recap, they don't really have their support anyway. And even if they did, would they renounce their foreign support?


Anonymous said...

First off, the Green Party *should* help other countries' Green Parties. This just makes sense, it's a political group, and a third party political group in most cases. Ever hear of Clinton going overseas to help the UK Labor party? It happens. Secondly, the NRA is an advocacy group for one purpose... it helping the Conservative Party *would* be suspect.

Anonymous said...

It is illegal for non-Canadian citizens to help campaign in Cdn elections.

The NRA is a civil rights organization, like the ACLU, not an advocacy group. This is by definition as they support one of the constitutional rights.

Jonathan said...

1) Why would it be suspect? Why should it matter?

2) Canadians have an unwritten constitutional right to owning guns. You won't find it in the text. But you will find it in one of those "unwritten principles of the constitution" that McLachlin talks about. It is essentially an import from Britain, where people are/were allowed to hunt foxes.

Interestingly enough, first drafts of our original 1867 constitution had a right to bear arms.