Thursday, October 20, 2011

Harper Stacks Judiciary For American Conservative Movement

Brian Abrams is a former Conservative candidate for Kingston and the Islands.  He had a pretty good showing in 2008, but lost to incumbent Peter Milliken. 

After his defeat, the Conservatives launched an all out attack on this riding.  They saturated it with taxpayer funded ten percenters, warning Kingstonians that if we voted for Michael Ignatieff, he would leave us and join the Samurais.

Yes, apparently Michael Ignatieff had once jokingly claimed that he was a Samurai Warrior and it was of vital importance to our national security, for us to know that.

Abrams took a beating in the local press for this waste of our money and also for not supporting the Prison Farm protests.  Local candidates for the Liberal, Green and NDP parties were at every meeting and most rallies.

When it became clear that he would not be able to win an election, the Conservatives bought him off with an appointment to Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice, to make way for their star candidate, local businesswoman Alicia Gordon.  She lost.

I was concerned with Abram's appointment, not only because he was one of the most partisan creatures on the planet, but because he had been the attorney for the local police department.  I believe that the judiciary and law enforcement should be separate. He was also a former RCMP officer.  Could he rule against the police if there was wrongdoing?  Or against Conservative ideology?  I don't think so.

I remember during the 2008 campaign, on his blog he claimed that he was sitting around worrying about the hardships that the Green Shift/carbon tax plan of Stéphane Dion's would impose on people in this riding.  He knew that the plan was revenue neutral, but if he had to lie to get ahead, he could lie with the best of them.  He should have been sitting around worrying about the devastating affects of Climate Change.

However, this isn't really about Abrams, but rather how Stephen Harper chooses his appointments.

Bruce Ryder had an excellent column in the Star yesterday:  Are we appointing the best judges?  While most of the media and some MPs are chasing shiny things, aka: the announcement that one candidate was not bi-lingual, they are missing the obvious.

The views and qualifications of the appointees.

A former selection, Justice Marshall Rothstein, has already taken a stand against collective bargaining, despite the fact that he promised not to let his personal views affect his decisions.

Ryder raises another issue.  Of the four Harper selections to date, NONE are committed to upholding our Charter rights and freedoms.  This is not an accident.

In 2004 Harper actually ran against the charter, promising to use the Notwithstanding Clause to overturn things like abortion laws, gay rights, women's rights and hate speech laws, (which he likened to totalitarianism).
To the Conservatives, the charter is social engineering, elevating individual rights over personal responsibility and undeserving minorities over the taxpaying majority .... Constitutional experts have warned that the Conservative platform is so anti-charter it is a legal minefield. "A lot of this stuff raises serious constitutional issues." the University of Ottawa's Ed Ratushny told CanWest Global News Service. The experts have identified at least 12 positions that either, violate the charter, are ripe for serious court challenges or would require amendments to the Constitution. (Winnipeg Free Press, June 25, 2004)

In the 2005-6 campaign, some in the Canadian media became alarmed with Harper's ties to the American Religious Right and their Conservative Movement, prompting one of their leaders, Paul Weyrich (above right), to send an email to his flock, warning them not to talk to the Canadian press. At first he denied that the email was his, but later confirmed that he had indeed attempted to hide Harper's close relationship with members of his team.  (Harper's U.S. neocon booster changes his story, By Beth Gorham, Canadian Press, January 27, 2006)

When Harper failed to get a majority, Weyrich told his followers not to worry.  Said he:
"It is not widely known in this country that a Canadian prime minister has more power than a United States president. Harper could appoint 5,000 new officials. (No confirmation is required by the Canadian Parliament.) The prime minister also could appoint every judge from the trial courts, to the courts of appeal to the Canadian Supreme Court, as vacancies occur.

"Harper's partisans believe he could maintain power for four years, during which time Conservatives hopefully would witness many vacancies created by Liberals leaving the courts. (ibid)
In his new book Rogue in Power, Christian Nadeau reminds us that Harper has indeed been doing just that.
And for Harper, the appointment of judges is ... part of a strategy whose objective is to profoundly change the relationship between government and other institutions to one of master and servant.  Placing judges who hold and will support the neoconservative agenda ....  at least three judicial appointments to higher courts were motivated by religious [Right]reasons—Dallas K. Miller in Alberta, Lawrence O'Neil in Nova Scotia, and David Moseley Brown in Ontario. Miller is the founder of an association that advocates home-schooling. O'Neil has told the Commons that pregnant women have no right to control their own bodies. Brown is known for his battles against gay rights. (Rogue in Power: Why Stephen Harper is remaking Canada by Stealth, By Christian Nadeau, Lorimer Press, ISBN: 978-1-55277-730-5, p. 53-54)
Paul Weyrich is also a founding member of the Council for National Policy, the pro-military, religious organization where Stephen Harper gave his "yes I really hate Canadians this much" speech in 1997.  Said Harper:
"The establishment came down with a constitutional package which they put to a national referendum. The package included distinct society status for Quebec and some other changes, including some that would just horrify you, putting universal Medicare in our constitution, and feminist rights, and a whole bunch of other things."
Funny.  None of those things horrified me, but the thought of losing them scares me to death.

1 comment:

  1. "and a whole bunch of other things" — there speaks a true leader, a statesman worthy of the name. "Can't let women have rights, by gum! What if they decide to use them?"