By Mark Steyn
From the Court of Queen’s Bench (the appellate court) in Alberta:
The Wetaskiwin, Alta., woman convicted of infanticide for killing her newborn son, was given a three-year suspended sentence Friday by an Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench judge.
Katrina Effert was 19 on April 13, 2005, when she secretly gave birth in her parents’ home, strangled the baby boy with her underwear and threw the body over a fence into a neighbour’s yard…
Effert will have to abide by conditions for the next three years but she won’t spend time behind bars for strangling her newborn son.
Indeed. As Judge Joanne Veit puts it:
“While many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy, they generally understand, accept and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support,” she writes… “Naturally, Canadians are grieved by an infant’s death, especially at the hands of the infant’s mother, but Canadians also grieve for the mother.”
Gotcha. So a superior court judge in a relatively civilized jurisdiction is happy to extend the principles underlying legalized abortion in order to mitigate the killing of a legal person — that’s to say, someone who has managed to make it to the post-fetus stage. How long do those mitigating factors apply? I mean, “onerous demands”-wise, the first month of a newborn’s life is no picnic for the mother. How about six months in? The terrible twos?
Speaking of “onerous demands,” suppose you’re a “mother without support” who’s also got an elderly relative around with an “onerous” chronic condition also making inroads into your time?
And in what sense was Miss Effert a “mother without support”? She lived at home with her parents, who provided her with food and shelter. How smoothly the slick euphemisms — “accept and sympathize . . . onerous demands” — lubricate the slippery slope.
British Conservatives scrap Labour Party plan to force boards to appoint more women
Plans to force companies to publish the pay of their women workers and move towards compulsory gender quotas in the boardroom were ditched yesterday.
Theresa May abandoned the proposal, introduced by Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman during her time as women’s minister, saying forced equality laws ‘frighten the horses’.
Instead the Home Secretary told business leaders they should voluntarily go public with pay and promotion comparisons between men and women, saying it made ‘good business sense’.
Her decision frees companies already struggling in the economic downturn from the threat of yet more burdensome regulation.
The move brought condemnation from Labour and the unions. But it won backing from business lobby group the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which said: ‘The last thing that anybody would want at this time is more equality red tape.’
Mrs May, who is also Minister for Women and Equalities, spoke as she launched a programme to persuade companies to ‘Think, Act, Report’ in order to improve pay and promotion for women workers.
In October 2009 Miss Harman left open the prospect of new laws to force companies to promote more women, saying: ‘If you want to make sure you don’t have the nightmare of men-only boards, you have got to change the terms on which men and women participate.’
And a report for the Coalition by former Labour Minister Lord Davies of Abersoch said in February that FTSE 100 companies should double the proportion of women in their boardrooms to 25 per cent by 2015, or face laws to enforce quotas.
But Mrs May told business chiefs yesterday: ‘Go out and spread the message, not that it is an equality thing to do, because that tends to frighten the horses.
‘But actually go out there and give the message that we have heard directly from companies and from the Confederation of British Industry that this makes good business sense.
‘In a difficult economic climate, everybody is looking for what is going to make a difference; in a difficult economic climate you want to be attracting the talents of the best people – and this can be a tool in doing that.’
Labour’s equality spokesman Fiona Mactaggart said Mrs May had ‘set back progress towards equal pay even further’.
Miss Mactaggart added: ‘We share the hope that voluntary measures might speed up progress towards equal pay, which was estimated recently by the Chartered Institute of Management to be 98 years away at the present rate of progress, but without the power to enforce pay audits on reluctant employers, women who face pay discrimination will not have the information they need to get justice.’
Fierce debate about the gender pay gap continues, with one side insisting women need laws to overcome discrimination blocking equal pay, and the other pointing out that women under 30 now earn more than men of the same age.
A spokesman for the state-run Equality and Human Rights Commission said: ‘Britain needs a better gender balance in its boardrooms and in politics. 'Without positive action it could be another 70 years before there are an equal number of men and women directors of FTSE 100 companies.’
Welcoming Mrs May’s decision, Katja Hall of the CBI said: ‘We are very pleased that the framework is voluntary. 'We think that is important, because this will help ensure that businesses have actually bought into the process and that they do not feel that this is something that is being dumped on them.’
'Box-ticking care home watchdog put elderly at risk': MPs say commission is more interested in paperwork than safety
The elderly are being put at risk because the Government’s watchdog is too busy ‘box-ticking’ to inspect care homes, MPs warn today. They accuse the Care Quality Commission of putting form-filling ahead of ensuring vulnerable residents are safe.
One of its jobs is to register every care home, hospital, GP surgery and dentist in England and Wales and in doing so make sure each meets safety standards.
In a scathing report, the health select committee said there was a ‘significant distortion of priorities’ at the commission, which meant it was too busy compiling this register to inspect more care homes. Chairman Stephen Dorrell said this had led to ‘increased risk to patients’.
Rosie Cooper, a Labour MP who also sits on the committee said it was 'totally unacceptable' that the CQC had allowed itself to get so bogged down in bureaucracy. 'It has left elderly people and the disabled who rely on these services at risk,' she added.
The report describes how the watchdog’s officials often carry out ‘desktop’ inspections from the office rather than visiting homes to check them.
The report comes months after the commission was accused of repeatedly ignoring warnings about Winterbourne View, a residential home in Bristol where adults with learning difficulties were ‘barbarically’ abused.
An investigation by BBC’s Panorama uncovered how vulnerable residents at the home were routinely trapped under their chairs, slapped and dragged across the room by their supposed carers.
The report describes the CQC’s actions in this case as 'woefully inadequate', pointing out that it did not bother sending inspectors round despite repeated warnings from a whistleblower nurse.
The report shows the number of homes inspected by the watchdog has slumped in the last 12 months, from 10,856 to 3,805. The commission said it is now carrying out more inspections and that numbers have doubled in the past six months.
A CQC spokesman added: ' We welcome the committee’s recommendations on the need to further incorporate the concerns of sector professionals, and those who use services, into the information we use to make.'
Obama Justice Department's Double Standard on Hate Crimes
The Obama administration has a double standard on hate crimes. When the victim is black or Hispanic, they prosecute. When the victim is white, they don’t. This violates constitutional equal-protection guarantees, which forbid discrimination against whites, except for certain bona fide affirmative action programs in employment, education, or contracting.
As a former Justice Department civil-rights lawyer notes, the Criminal Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division does nothing when the victim of a hate crime is white:
when the victims of racial violence are white, nothing happens.
When a mob of blacks savagely attacked random whites at the Wisconsin State Fair earlier this summer, the Section did nothing. When a similar riot occurred at the Iowa State Fair in August 2010 — where bands of black teens organized a “beat whitey night” — the Section once again did nothing. Last month, still another flash mob of blacks beating whites took place in Philadelphia, yet the Section did nothing. The same is true near Pittsburgh and in Ohio.
Just like the outrageous dismissal of the New Black Panther Party case, there is a pervasive hostility in this administration to bringing cases on behalf of white victims.
By contrast, if the victim is non-white — like an undocumented immigrant from Mexico attacked in Pennsylvania — the Justice Department prosecutes; in the Pennsylvania case it obtained guilty verdicts in federal court against two white teenagers who had previously been found not guilty of hate crimes and most other charges in Pennsylvania state court.
(We previously discussed the danger that the recently-broadened federal hate-crimes law will be used to prosecute people who have previously been found not guilty, resulting in potentially unfair convictions, and circumventing constitutional safeguards against double jeopardy, at this link. Depending on how broadly it is construed, the federal hate-crimes law could also end up restricting free speech in cases of alleged incitement.)
The double standard is itself the product of an increasingly politicized Justice Department, whose ideologically-driven hiring patterns (and discrimination against moderate and conservative applicants in hiring) under the Obama administration dwarf any partisan hiring in the past.
It has been more than 30 years since a unanimous Supreme Court ruled in McDonald v. Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company (1976) that all races — including whites – are covered by the civil-rights laws and constitutional guarantees of equal protection. That ruling, which allowed white employees to challenge their race-based firing, was authored by the Supreme Court’s first black justice, Thurgood Marshall, who had earlier successfully argued the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education, which struck down school segregation in 1954. While there is a limited exception to equal protection for “affirmative action” that meets a “strict scrutiny” test, the courts have declined to recognize such an exception outside contexts like employment, education, and contracting, as the Supreme Court illustrated in rejecting affirmative-action in voting in Rice v. Cayetano (2000). The Obama Justice Department seems to be displeased by the fact that white voters have voting rights under Supreme Court precedent. Civil rights laws forbid racial harassment and violence aimed at whites, even in areas where affirmative action is sometimes permitted, like the workplace.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.