The Conservatives are chiding the New Democrats for voting against legislation that would set minimum consequences for individuals that vandalize Canada's war memorials.
On Wednesday, the Conservatives and Liberals joined forces to pass a private members' bill — Bill C-217 — which would impose a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first-time person convicted of "mischief against a war memorial, cenotaph or other structure honouring or remembering those who have died as a consequence of war."
Second-time and third-time offenders would be faced with prison terms of 14 days and 30 days, respectively.
[ Related: Mulcair vows to reverse the course of history ]
The NDP's refusal to vote in favour of the Bill has made them an easy target for the Tories. The CPC communications team sent out this email to insiders and supporters on Wednesday evening:
"NDP Vote against Protection for War Memorials
In the weeks leading up to Remembrance Day, Canadians across the country will take time to remember the sacrifices made by those who selflessly served our country in defence of our core values and freedoms.
Canadians from coast to coast to coast will visit war memorials on November 11th and pay their respects. We believe these war memorials are sacred ground and that they should be treated with the utmost respect. That is why our Government supported Bill C-217 an Act that would protect war memorials and cenotaphs in Canada.
Unfortunately, Thomas Mulcair's NDP stood and voted against this piece of legislation.
They voted against consequences for individuals that desecrate Canada's monuments commemorating our veterans.
They voted against tough penalties for those who intentionally defile permanent tributes to Canada's fallen heroes.
It is simply disgraceful that Mr. Mulcair's NDP would vote against this meaningful and important piece of legislation."
For their part, the NDP insist that they condemn any vandalism toward war memorials and monuments — of course they do.
In Parliament, last week, the NDP said they wouldn't support the bill because the criminal code already has penalties for mischief and they'd like to preserve judicial discretion.
"We do not agree with minimum sentences, because they eliminate any latitude the judge may have to determine the appropriate sentence based on his or her own judgment, and they preclude an assessment of the situation and the reason for the mischief," NDP Christine Moore said in Parliament last week.
"When there is mischief against a war memorial, it is important to determine whether the deed was done intentionally and allow the judge the latitude to rule accordingly. It is important to know whether a person committed mischief in the knowledge that it was a war memorial or not. That is an important distinction to make. To make an informed judgment, one must be aware of the intentions underlying people's actions."
What do you think of the NDP's position on C-217? "Disgraceful" or principled?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Are you a political junkie? Follow @politicalpoints on Twitter!