"Andrew Swan is a gutsy guy. I'm glad he's around to do the job. He's doing exactly what his job description says he should be doing- protecting the public interest. His actions are not about the unfair treatment of the mentally ill; his actions are all about protecting the public and health care workers. We are not an ignorant public as you would suggest. Securing the public, including health care workers does not invalidate the mentally ill or stigmatize them, nor does it suggest that we are back in the dark ages. There is nothing in Mr. Swan's actions that refutes the Canadian Psychiatric Association's mandate that the mentally ill need better care, that mental illness should be de-stigmatized."
Apparently you don't. Part of their mandate is to weigh public safety along with the patients' interests. By delaying the implementation of their recommendations you (and Hugh McFadyen, who supported this) are essentially saying that you don't trust that the board gave due consideration to public safety.
Worst of all, the Criminal Code of Canada states that board decisions can only be appealed through provincial courts yet you've bypassed that process and imposed your will when you had no legal right to do so. If anyone is seriously undermining public confidence in the Canadian justice system, it's you, Mr. Swan. Pandering is bad enough but having a Justice Minister take the law into his own hands without even knowing the reasons for the board decision is appalling.
Andrew Swan did exactly what he said it was wrong to do: interfere in a decision made by an impartial panel of experts who know much more about the risks and benefits than he does. We keep hearing from him and the Tory leader but where is DOCTOR Jon Gerrard, for crying out loud? Talk about a golden opportunity for the Liberals to slam the NDP for circumventing the law and the Tories for goading him into it.
so you're saying the feelings of many should trump the human rights of an individual? Let's lobotomize all NCR patients so we can feel safe! Seriously, I do sympathize with everyone personally affected by this. I'd be surprised if none of them ended up suffering from PTSD as a result. As a witness, how can you get those images out of your head? However, I don't believe the answer is to deny Vince Li the opportunity to enjoy some fresh air to help in his recovery simply because the media are going to publicize it and upset the victims. Is he supposed to remain locked up forever (in contravention of the law) to spare people's feelings? Where does it end? Should we start convicting people based on victim impact statements or public opinion polls? The latter option is awfully close to what actually happened in this instance and it's quite frightening.
Sure I can! He's supposed to function impartially, not act in response to the hysteria of the masses.
I didn't read the story about Selinger's comment about the Guimond case. I just saw the headline and rolled my eyes.
"Ultimately, if they want to change something, they can do it."
If Swan had limited himself to protesting to his federal counterpart, as well as filing an appeal, that would have been quite appropriate. Those are the only things he's empowered to do to bring about a change in the decision.
I wouldn't waste my time contacting Swan. I read an article in an Edmonton paper online and his press secretary claimed that he wasn't overturning the decision, he was ONLY delaying it. So that's going to be the party line. A law professor weighed in and said that was a bogus excuse and there's nothing in the statutes that give Swan the right to do what he did. He said if Swan wants to build a fence, that's okay but he'd better do it quickly! LOL Swan will hear from more influential people than me, namely the hospital and the federal Justice Minister, who he contacted. It won't go unchallenged, I'm sure.
Swan doesn't know what the majority wants! He's basing this on what's being said in the media and from people contacting his office. Or maybe he let the Tories sway him. Whatever, unless he took a referendum on the issue without my knowledge, he has no clue what the majority really wants. Likewise, you have no idea whether the majority wants tighter security.
The government should NEVER be able to step in. If a judge made a ruling that the government disagreed with, would you approve of the government stepping in to overrule the decision? It's the same thing here. We can't arbitrarily decide that a legal decision is wrong and overturn it. There is an appeals process and the law has the final say. Politicians have no right to interfere in the judicial process. EVER!
"This only affects a small group and like I said, I really don't think it's going to affect them negatively."
It certainly will affect Vince Li negatively. He's already been told of the board's decision and now they're going to tell him...what? "The government shot down the decision for now because they don't trust you not to escape and kill again"? That'll be just great for his mental well-being no matter how they word it.
What's really farcical about this is that Swan said that he'd leave it up to the hospital to determine an appropriate level of security. Since Li's own doctor is a member of that board, why would the hospital recommend anything different than what the board did??
I hope they tell Swan to stuff it and I really hope he pushes this into court and ends up with egg all over his face.
I understand your point of view but I can't agree because 1) Swan overstepped his authority and interfered in a legal process he had no right to, 2) it does a disservice to the mentally ill because it validates all the misinformed outrage over this, and 3) that slippery slope I mentioned before.
A democratic process has already decided that independent review boards should not be swayed by politicians for a reason. Flouting this law is spitting in the eye of democracy. This isn't "working together", "negotiation" or "compromise" because the psychiatric profession is outraged over this. This is an example of fear and ignorance denying someone their human rights. It doesn't matter if it's "just" deferred to a later date. It should never have happened at all.
There's a concept of the democratic system that seeks to prevent "tyranny of the majority". This means that even if the majority call for a certain action, if that action causes an individual or a minority group to be discriminated against, it musn't be allowed. Using the U.S. as an example, the majority have so far succeeded in many states to deny same-sex marriage. The majority should never impose their beliefs on a minority group. The line has to be drawn somewhere. If we let Swan move that line just a little, where does it end?
Earlier in the week, Swan himself said he can't dictate to the board. "An attorney general, he said, should not demand that a judge or tribunal or independent party come to a particular decision. '(That) is simply wrong and, more than that, it strikes at the very heart of the democratic system that we enjoy in this province and this country.'" I don't see any difference between influencing a decision and overruling a decision. Either way, it's out of line.
These boards are independent for a reason: they are composed of experts who weigh the benefits and the risks in an objective manner. It is not acceptable for the government to bow to public pressure and override their decision. Not only is it arrogant for Swan to presume that he knows better than they do, he's interfered with due process. It can be a very slippery slope when politicians ignore the law and bow to a public outcry.
This wasn't a compromise because Swan didn't negotiate with anyone. He rejected the board's decision that it was safe to allow Vince Li to venture onto the grounds under the amount of security they recommended.
Today's editorial is excellent and explains it far better than I did.
I couldn't agree more. Isn't it interesting how almost no one is commenting on the questionable legality of Swan's actions? Let's say the situation was reversed and the review board had refused to allow Li out for fresh air. Then Swan overruled their decision and called it inhumane. Boy, would the mob be screaming about the law and calling for Swan's resignation then!
You people can't cherry-pick the laws you think should be enforced just to suit your own feelings on the matter. You also lose all credibility when you insist Vince Li should be put to death, deported, thrown in a dark hole, sent to jail, etc. None of those options are legal and it's pretty hypocritical to be criticizing someone for a crime and then calling for illegal punishments.
Most of the knuckle-draggers can't get past their own emotions regarding a psychotic episode involving brutal murder and cannibalism. The reaction is mostly fear, bolstered by anger and a sense of helplessness.
Being able to separate emotion from thoughts and choice requires an awareness that you just aren't going to see represented here, on a web-based, anonymous comment section.
The truth is, this man poses little or no threat (on medication) while walking outside for 15 minutes twice a day. There's even less of a threat while accompanied by armed guard.
Andrew Swan continues to show his inexperience, and was prematurely appointed to the Attorney General position. He will continue to show his shortcomings in that position as time goes on.
All in all, an embarrassing situation that fans the flames of fear and confusion in the community. Hence the revealing comments here, which show the majority to be unenlightened and ignorant...but still, remarkably predictable.