RCMP had no idea about barbaric cultural practices snitch line pitched by Conservatives

No excuse for former Ministers Leitch and Alexander for going along with this. It would be nice to hear some sober second thought reflections from each of them:

CBC News has learned the RCMP had no idea a Conservative government would have tasked it with establishing a controversial “barbaric cultural practices” tipline.

Two former Conservative cabinet ministers held a news conference mid-campaign to tell reporters that if their party formed the next government, it would order Mounties to set up the snitch line.

Chris Alexander and Kellie Leitch said it would allow citizens to “report incidents of barbaric cultural practices here in Canada or to notify authorities that a child or woman is at risk of being victimized.”

The idea was criticized by some who pointed out such a tip line already exists — 911. Others jokingly predicted the Mounties could have found themselves investigating tips from the public that baby boys were being circumcised or that parents were getting their kids’ ears pierced.

CBC News asked the RCMP for all correspondence or other documentation related to such a proposal in an access to information request. The police force responded Wednesday.

The Mounties say they searched records in federal policing, specialized policing services, contract and aboriginal policing and the strategic policy and planning directory.

“Unfortunately, we were unable to locate records which respond to your request,” Supt. David Vautour, an officer with the access to information and privacy branch of the RCMP, wrote in a letter to CBC News.

This backs up what sources have recently told CBC News — that the idea for such a tip line was cooked up at the last minute by a small circle of people close to former prime minister and Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper with no consultation with anyone else.

Today, the Conservative Party’s Interim Leader Rona Ambrose told reporters, “I was not part of that decision, nor do I support it.”

Source: RCMP had no idea about barbaric cultural practices snitch line pitched by Conservatives – Politics – CBC News

Robyn Urback and Barbara Kay on the backfiring of wedge politics

Two contrasting views in the details (niqab or snitch line), starting with Robyn Urback on the niqab):

And there, in the 905, was where the second profound impact of the niqab debate seemed to reverberate Monday night. The region, which was Conservative blue in 2011, switched to almost entirely red, except for the ridings of Vaughan and Markham-Unionville. The 905 had been, at one time, a symbol of Conservatives’ immigrant-outreach success, led by one-time minister of immigration, citizenship and multiculturalism Jason Kenney. When the Conservatives swept the region in 2011, taking almost all of the Liberals’ seats in York region, Kenney attributed his success to support from new Canadians. “Our appeal to them has been honest,” he said. “New Canadians increasingly realize that their values are Conservative values.”

Whereas in 2011 the Tories were talking to immigrant communities, in 2015 they were talking about them

Four years later, the Tories were singing a different tune, making a point of listing the ways in which immigrant values are incompatible with Canadian values. While the Liberals spoke about removing unnecessary barriers to immigration and accelerating family reunification, the Tories attacked the niqab, defended bottlenecks in Syrian refugee process and mused about launching a hotline to report “barbaric cultural practices.” Whereas in 2011 the Tories were talking to immigrant communities, in 2015 they were talking about them.

The 905 responded on Monday by giving the boot to many of its once-prominent Tories, including citizenship and immigration minister Chris Alexander, who lost by more than 10,000 votes. It became clear that while the Conservatives may have been correct in pegging the niqab as a wedge issue, they left themselves on the wrong side of it.

Certainly there were other factors at play in the last 78 days: the trial of Senator Mike Duffy, Mulcair’s flip-flopping on pipelines and free trade, Trudeau’s personal gregariousness and aspirational vision for the country. But in Quebec and the 905, two regions that arguably mattered most this election, the niqab — and discussions thereof — appeared to be the foremost factor to tip support away from the Tories, either directly, or by extension. It seems one or two people — specifically, two veiled women — really can make a difference.

Barbara Kay states it was the snitch line:

I think Harper’s big mistake was in taking discontent with the niqab for permission to go big on all culturally-rooted misogynist practices. His proposal for a tip line to report “barbaric cultural practices” like forced marriages to the RCMP was overkill, and struck a sour note, even amongst those Canadians – like me – who were his staunchest supporters for a face-cover ban.

No policy is more likely to make entire communities feel singled out as inherently suspicious than a snitch line

Face cover is a very specific, very public practice that is quite separate from “barbaric” cultural customs carried out in private. Face cover is more than the sum of its single part. As I have argued in many columns over the past few years, face cover is charged with so much negative political, ideological and cultural baggage, it does indeed cause “harm” to the social fabric. I firmly believe Quebec is abiding by a precautionary principle that is wise. Endorsing face cover in situations where the public has no option, and must deal with a covered representative of the government – nurse, policewoman, teacher, passport control officer – is to endorse a barbaric custom entirely at odds with the principles of openness and social reciprocity we take for granted as a social right, but which need protection. Harper recognized this wisdom, and that is where he should have stopped.

Don’t get me wrong. I am very troubled by practices like forced marriage, which is a retrograde, tribal custom that should have no place in our society. We know it is happening in certain cultural communities in Canada, and I applaud any government that tackles the problem.

But there was no pressing need to bring it up at this time, and no public incident that facilitated its organic emergence into public debate. Unlike the niqab, nobody from South Asia was demanding that the government recognize forced marriage as commensurate with Canadian values. And the “tip line” has odious Orwellian connotations to it. It had a seriously chilling effect, and did indeed seem to cast Harper’s “popular” niqab stance in the light of “populism,” even “ugly populism.”

The result was that people who quite defensibly resist face cover in the citizenship ceremony – or in the giving and getting of pubic services – now found themselves in the highly uncomfortable position of seeming to endorse Stasi-era tactics of social control. No strategy is more calculated to bring out racist mischief-makers and vengeful false allegers than a snitch line. No policy is more likely to make entire communities feel singled out as inherently suspicious than a snitch line. And no policy is more likely to make the party that proposes it look imperious, bullying and nativist.

The Conservatives blew it. They occupied what was perceived as the moral high ground by most Canadians, and then, thinking that was base camp rather than a distinctive summit, kept climbing into thin air. They ran out of oxygen, and deserved to.

Barbara Kay: It was the snitch line, not the niqab stance, that hurt Harper