I am getting really tired of people telling me there is nothing they can do about the current attacks on our democracy when the topic of politics comes up. What they don’t seem to realize is that by taking that attitude they are contributing to the stripping away of the Canadian democracy. And one of Canada’s shining lights has been the level of democracy that we have enjoyed and I use the word “have” as a verb indicating past. It is now slowly being eroded by a government who uses lies and misdirection to erode our freedoms.
This latest attack on the Supreme Court of Canada has really crossed the line and it appears Canadians are sucking it up hook, line and sinker. Hook, line and sinker is just my way of paying a little homage to the distinguished Farley Mowat, Canadian author and defender of the environment as well as democracy. May he rest in peace because I doubt that he would find much peace in what the Harper government is doing to Canada.
There is a lot of misinformation being thrown around by this government in their attack on the Supreme Court of Canada’s Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. This government and, in particular, Prime Minister Harper present like petulant children when someone says no to them. They strike out, often in unreasonable and sometimes vicious ways. So lets separate fact from fiction and look at the reality of what is going on with the SCOC.
First and foremost the SCOC didn’t rule against the Conservatives, they ruled in support of our Constitution. This was not an issue that the SCOC brought on themselves but were ruling on a challenge brought forward by a third party, Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati. The Supreme Court was simply doing their job which is to interpret cases before them as they stack up against the Constitution. We are a constitutional democracy and our constitution is basically sacred. The Constitution is the standard by which any law or policy in our democracy has to be measured. The body that does that, when all else fails, is the Supreme Court of Canada. Political parties come and go but the SCOC is the stable component of our democracy. With that said six of these judges have been appointed by Prime Minister Harper so I think it is a little late to be calling the SCOC liberally biased.
It was never a secret that the appointment of Justice Nadon could be challenged in the courts. The Chief Justice did make an attempt to alert this government that a challenge could come forward if the appointment was not done with the proper process. By all reports, and contrary to what the Harper government appears to be presenting to Canadians, Justice McLachlin never even mentioned Nadon. She simply pointed out that a member of the Quebec legal system was required, not a judge of the Canadian federal court system. To imply that she was referring to Nadon is nothing short of misdirection.
This government already has a history of seeing many of their ideology driven policies and legislative items being challenged on a Constitutional basis. Challenges they are losing which is bound to be frustrating but lawful. The Chief Justice was only trying to avoid any further embarrassment to this government by offering her legitimate advice. Upsetting to Harper undoubtedly but even more upsetting is that tax payer dollars are being used to pay for the defence of indefensible policies.
Secondly it would appear that Parliamentary protection offered in the House of Commons and the Senate requires more investigation than the SCOC. It is becoming almost common now for MP’s to “misrepresent” the facts while under protection of the House. The off handed remark yesterday about the Liberals having used the “not with standing” clause contained in the constitution was an outright lie but you can’t use that word due to Parliamentary privilege.
This was the same issue when MP Brad Butt made the comment about witnessing voter fraud, later stating he “misspoke” or when Senator Thomas McInnis reported seeing “thousands and thousands” of cases of voter fraud in the Halifax/Dartmouth region which he later pulled back from. Unfortunately the general public sees the message regarding the alleged abuse of the voting system but much of the public appear to miss the retractions. This is governing by sound byte and is a great tactic to create that believe in the general public that “we can’t do anything about it anyway”.
Back to the Supreme Court and my third point, which seems to be something either deliberate or an oversight, is the way Nadon is being presented by this government. Contrary to the way Prime Minister Harper has presented this is the real issue. Mr. Nadon, who has really become an innocent pawn in this game being played by the Prime Minister, was simply not eligible. Not because he was a sitting semi-retired judge and member of the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal but because he WASN’T a sitting QUEBEC judge. Maybe a minor distinction to some but a very important distinction to this case! Again this is a Constitutional issue.
Constitutionally Quebec is guaranteed three seats on the SCOC because Quebec adheres to the Napoleonic Code of law while the rest of Canada used the Westminster Code. It is important to have a few judges on the SCOC who understand the Napoleonic Code. It wasn’t Nadon’s affiliation with the federal appeal court that made him ineligible, he was never eligible in the first place because of his lack of attachment to the Quebec legal system. And that is an important distinction in this campaign of misdirection.
So with my opinion out there which contradicts this governments point of view I am confident I have made their list of whatever. Now that they are using illegal spying of social networks I am confident I have made it to that list. And to go back to the beginning, you can do something about this. You can take 30 seconds and send your MP an e-mail to make them aware you are paying attention. You can also spend five minutes a day looking past the spin and sorting the facts from the fiction of what is being spoon fed to you. The old sales adage that if it sounds to good to be true it is probably false rings true here. Don’t just be part of the apathy, make your MP aware while you still have an MP!
Just one man’s opinion!