Minister makes political hay over death of mentally ill teen.
by Ish Theilheimer and Samantha Bayard
OTTAWA, Straight Goods News, November 6, 2012: Justice minister Vic Toews used the in-prison suicide of mentally-ill teenager Ashley Smith to score partisan points in House debate today.
When questioned by NDP MP Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, NDP) about the correctional investigator's recommendations to prevent such tragedies, Toews lashed out. "I wish New Democrats would take a more balanced view about what it means to have a safe society, not simply the individuals in the prisons but those who are abused outside of the prisons."
NDP leader Tom Mulcair responded with shock. "Mr. Speaker, is that minister capable of understanding that she was the victim here?"
Again, Toews hit back, "Why is it that he is always silent when it comes to victims outside of our prisons?"
Later, NDP leader Tom Mulcair told reporters that what Toews said "shows a cold-heartedness and a partisan streak that simply fails to recognize that we’re dealing with a human being who was abominably treated by the system and who wound up dying and instead of showing compassion and care and responsibility for that, he turned it into his typical partisan rant and it’s beneath contempt the way the minister answered this afternoon."
Liberal leader Bob Rae told SGNews Toews' comments were "Completely unacceptable. I think he’s lowered the tone. I think by choosing to turn it into some kind of a partisan issue he shows that, frankly, he just doesn’t get it. And it shows that he doesn’t really understand to what extent Ms. Smith really in this particular case is clearly the victim."
Bob Rae and Tom Mulcair say Toews doesn't understand that Ashley Smith was a victim.StraightGoods.ca