While watching the leader?s debate I couldn?t but help recall a scene from the remake of The Mummy, released a few years back. It was somewhere near the beginning of the movie and one of the diggers had come across an ancient and secretive text full of hieroglyphics. The digger started interpreting these and began to read aloud in a long, forgotten language. Immediately the other diggers went berserk and warned that these words must never be spoken, lest an evil of unimaginable proportions be unleashed to destroy all mankind.
The scene came to me as, once again, Paul Martin feigned horror and outrage that Stephen Harper would even consider using the so called ?notwithstanding clause? in the Constitution (even though Martin has gone on record indicating circumstances where he would use it lickety split).
The clause, which allows Parliament to pass legislation that would in all likelihood be otherwise struck down by the courts for denying a right specified in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, was deliberately put in the Constitution to be used sparingly in extraordinary circumstances.
The scenario Harper used to illustrate how he might be tempted to use the clause was brilliant and for the umpteenth time in the campaign, a stunned and confused Paul Martin, looking like the proverbial deer in the headlights, was left weak and helpless.
Harper explained that in light of recent court rulings allowing the possession of child pornography based on ?artistic merit?, it may be necessary to invoke Section 33, the ?notwithstanding clause? to pass legislation to protect children.
Mr. Harper was referring to the high profile case involving John Sharpe who successfully argued that his ?kiddie porn? was protected under the freedom of expression provision of the Charter due to its artistic content.
So how was it determined that the material was artistically relevant? We?ll get back to that in a moment.
You may recall a story a while back when it was announced that a self-proclaimed performance artist, Istvan Kantor, was awarded the Governor-General?s Award for visual art. The award came with a $15,000 check, the second such check the government has cut for Kantor.
So what does Kantor exactly do that is worthy of such praise and recognition (and $15,000 of taxpayer money)? Well, his most famous ?performance? consisted of visiting art galleries in Ottawa and New York and throwing viles of his own blood on displays. He even managed to cause thousands of dollars in damage by throwing blood on a Picasso.
And what does this have to do with the artistic merit of child pornography? Plenty. The enlightened and elite connoisseurs of fine art that us mortals are too backward to comprehend, who selected Kantor and his blood-throwing exhibition for the Governor-General?s Award, are the same expert witnesses who were called upon, and will be again, to judge the artistic merit of child pornography.
In this instance, and Harper is 100% correct, it?s clear the courts have decided that protecting outlandish and twisted behaviour, which passes for art in some wing-nut circles, is more important than protecting children. Invoking the notwithstanding clause to prohibit the production, distribution and possession of child pornography, and to Hell with any notion of artistic merit, would be the responsible thing to do. Even though it may be seen as an outrage to desperate Liberals, who like the builders of the Titanic thought Paul Martin was indestructible, fringe dwelling ?artists? and other like-minded loonies.
It would not roll back the clock or return us to an age of oppression where minority rights no longer exist. It would merely protect children ? something Paul Martin and his crew conveniently neglect when they go into their doomsday routine that the notwithstanding clause must never be spoken of.