Are You a Conservative?

In his Sun column the other day, right-wing radio windbag Charles Adler asked readers to take “a quiz of sorts” to “decide whether you’re a Canadian conservative or something else”… What followed was part of the transcript from a controversial radio interview with former Alberta judge, now Liberal candidate, John Reilly:

Rutherford: You shouldn’t go to jail for a sex assault?

Reilly: Well, you know, there are sexual assaults and there are sexual assaults.

Rutherford: Sure?

Reilly: And I had another young man, not a young offender, but a 19, 20-year-old. He’s at a party, there’s a lot of sexual innuendo, one of these women is being very aggressive with her boyfriend and they’re drinking a lot, the boyfriend passes out, she goes, gets into bed naked, he goes up, he’s thinking he’s going to be able to, that she’ll probably agree to have sex with him, he fondles her privates, and she wakes up and tells him to go away, and he goes away.

They report it, he’s charged with sexual offence, he has digitally penetrated her, the Crown prosecutor says this is a digital penetration of a woman’s vagina, he should go to jail for three years, that’s the starting point for this sexual offence.

And I’m looking at this 20-year-old, socially inept young man, and his offence is a sexual assault and it’s one that they consider a major sexual assault because it involves digital penetration. I don’t think in those circumstances that what happened there should put that young man in a penitentiary for three years.

Rutherford: Unless it’s your daughter, and then maybe you’ve got a whole other perspective! You haven’t mentioned the word “victim” once yet!

Reilly: You know, I am concerned about victims, but what I’m concerned about is our society as a whole.

I see absolutely nothing wrong in what former Justice Reilly said, so I guess by the terms of Addled Chuck’s little quiz, I must be a Liberal (or worse!). The example he provided illustrated his point quite well, I thought. While the young man’s behaviour in this case was totally inappropriate, it most certainly didn’t warrant a 3-year jail sentence. As Reilly quite correctly said, “there are sexual assaults and there are sexual assaults.”

Is this really what it means to be a “conservative” to people like Adler and his ilk? And is this typical of their “tough on crime” mentality in action? What conceivable purpose would be served by incarcerating a teenager for 3-years in a penitentiary at a cost to the taxpayer of $150,000 — for fingering his drunken girlfriend at a party? No wonder they want to build more jails if they’re going to start throwing people in the slammer for offences like that.