Saturday, 17 December 2011

Romeo Saganash in the 'Peg Part II: Stopping the Dumb on Crime agenda

Note: This is the second installment in a series of posts on Romeo Saganash's visit to Winnipeg. To learn some background, see this post on his vision speech

After receiving a standing ovation from the audience, Saganash opened the floor to questions from audience members. The first questioner - a New Democrat and Mulcair supporter -  started off by courteously welcoming the MP to Winnipeg. He then added what a relief it was to have a candidate come to Winnipeg who was use to our cold winters (Romeo Saganash represents the most Northern Quebec riding). The leadership hopeful wittily replied that he felt "right at home".

After the pleasantries came a very tough question relating to Sagnash's opposition to dumb on crime policies. Noting that Manitoba NDP justice minister Andrew Swan supports dumb on crime policies,  how are provincial Dippers to push the party back onto the straight and narrow path? The questioner also noted that a disproportionate amount of people incarcerated by the imprisonment-happy NDP government of this province were aboriginal.

The Quebec MP's answer to the problem of convincing wayward provincial governments was patience - as was his answer for working in a House full of Conservatives. Saganash shared an anecdote from the Charlottetown Accord negotiation process - when it seemed like it'd be impossible to get Joe Clark support an aboriginal rights package. Yet persistent negotiation succeeded at getting the package tacked on.

To thunderous applause, Saganash reiterated why Harper's crime policy was bad, how it didn't effectively reduce crime, and how Texas conservatives were backing away from it.

The audience member wanted more specific strategies for pressuring the provincial NDP away from dumb on crime politics, to which Saganash simply reiterated persistence and negotiation.

The next audience member to ask a question began so by stating that it was Manitoba New Democrats' responsibility to talk to party officials and minsters about how unhappy they were with the government's stance. Then he proceeded to ask a question about climate change, which will be dealt with in the next installment.

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