Friday, March 21, 2014

Another rebuke against PMS

0 and 4 so far for Stephen Harper.

First, he lost the InSite decision, which now allows safe injection sites.

Then he lost the prostitution decision, which all but legalizes the sex trade.

Yesterday, he lost a decision which in effect restores accelerated parole for those who have served just 1/6 of their prison sentence.

Today, he got a really big slap in the face, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled 6 to 1 to annul the appointment of his choice to fill one of the vacancies for Québec on the High Court, Marc Nadon.

In laypersons terms, Judge Nadon had been sitting for nearly two decades on the Federal Court of Appeal; but while his legal residence was Québec, he had never sat on one of the courts in the province.   In fact, it wasn't even clear if he was a member of the province's bar.

Today, the court came down hard.   In a joint decision written by all members of the majority, the ruling was that a justice from Québec must have have been seated in a court within that province -- whether the Court of Appeal or an inferior court, and by logic also a member of the bar of the province.   It's not just enough to be a member of any court.   And one also has had to be a member in good standing of the province's bar for at least ten years.

And this goes back to the reason why the province is guaranteed three seats on the High Court -- while the other jurisdictions of Canada base their non-criminal law on common law (i.e. judge-made principles), Québec has a Civil Code, an exhaustive statement of over 3000 rules that guide family and property law as well B2B, B2C and C2C transactions -- and that means everything, even hotel lodging and insurance policies.   (For example, most Canadians usually get a very long auto insurance policy full of gibberish, in Québec reference is made to just eight to ten sections of the Code, in quite plain language, that says pretty much the same thing.)

I find it hard to believe that Harper didn't bother to read the law or the Constitution close enough.   Then again, he's had nothing but contempt for our supreme law from the moment he entered office.   More to the point, he just views the Charter of Rights as a detail.    Human rights are not a detail, they are part of and indeed the heart of the fabric of justice.   Same with the division of powers between the feds and the jurisdictions.    And now, he really got caught red-handed.

The odd thing is that Nadon has recused himself from every case on the docket pending this decision.   And all that time, he's been collecting an annual salary of $351,700.    Now that his appointment has been annulled it's not clear if he has to pay that money back.    I doubt it since he was certain he got his appointment in good faith, but it does send Harper back to the drawing board.

I think Nadon would have made a good justice.   He just didn't qualify.   The Prime Minister had better get the credentials of his nominees straight.   It may reduce the pool from which to select, but there's a better chance of finding a suitable candidate within that pool than spreading oneself thin.

Next shoe to drop?   The Senate Reference.    And I think we know where that's leading when the Supremes rule later this year.

Strike five (we hope).   Unfortunately, this isn't baseball.

2 comments:

Ryan Spinney said...

Actually while I enjoy Harper losing out, in the Senate case especially abolishing it, I hope its a home run so we can easily dump that cesspool of corruption.

Anonymous said...

So much for the "expert" opinion of Ian Binnie re. Nadon's eligibility.

Seems that even Harper's own appointees on the SCC, except for one, overwhelmingly disagreed with Binnie.

Whatever Binnie was paid for that opinion, many would now say it was not worth it, eh?

Even Norman Spector is now mocking that Harper government should ask Binnie to return the money.

Make that taxpayers should ask for the money that Harper spent on Binnie for this worthless consultation/opinion.

When will supposedly learned people like Binnie learn that their reputation is (in this case, "was") worth more than getting themselves entangled in Harper's attempts to make end runs around our Constitution?

To make matters worse, it will not surprise too many people if Harper/PMO now try to blame the legal opinion they obtained, meaning Binnie, for this colossal embarrassment.

As for Nadon, he can always tell the Red Wings that he is now available.