Thursday, January 19, 2006

Conspiracy Theory

Two points on the conspiracy theory front:


1. I'm a little uneasy by Harper's implication over the past few days that the judiciary isn't independent. Remember, Harper will have at least one SCC seat to fill during his time as PM and if he's obsessed about partisan judges, I'm a little worried he might appoint a partisan judge.


2. Except For One Thing speculates about bloggers criticizing Martin in order to gather favour with the "incoming regime", as a way of landing plum political jobs. I can't speak for other bloggers, but I know I've been trying to turn this blogging thing into an ambassadorship...

34 Comments:

  • It's not lacking independence. It's called holding certain political leanings.

    Canada's next stage in growing up, is recognizing that Judges are humans with beliefs, not robots progammed to give judgements.

    Every decision, particularily those dealing with social issues, necessarily requires a value judgement. The Libs appoint Liberal judges, its as simple as that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:34 PM  

  • You obviously haven't read Andrew Coyne's blog on this topic.

    http://andrewcoyne.com/2006/01/harper-in-shock-liberal-patronage.php

    Mike Duffy last night on Countdown was pretty much, "Well, duh!" on this topic.

    Anyone who actually thinks Chretien didn't stack the courts with "liberal" judges, please raise your hand.

    I thought so.

    The feigned outrage over what was merely a observation of the obvious is, to put it mildly, bordering on the inane.

    IMHO.

    By Anonymous springer, at 1:50 PM  

  • See any paper besides the Globe as to what Harper was trying to say.

    See Coyne on why Harper wasn't out of line to say what the Globe wants you to think he was saying.

    As to me, I've met a few judges in my day and invariably come away impressed and humbled. But I think any jurist will admit that, for example, it's easy to see that Justices Major and Abella were appointed by different governments, even though each of them were all-star appellate justices.

    For concrete examples that touch judicial philsophy rather than partisanship, consider Justice Major's dissent in Vriend (http://www.canlii.org/ca/cas/scc/1998/1998scc30.html) or Justice Arbour's dissent in Gosselin (http://www.canlii.org/ca/cas/scc/2002/2002scc84.html).

    By Blogger matt, at 1:58 PM  

  • I'd settle for citizenship court judge, but ironically, I really have my eyes on a Senate seat. I'm only 27; a job for the next 48 years? Yes, please!

    By Blogger A BCer in Toronto, at 1:58 PM  

  • CG:

    Go take a look at Blue Grits blog
    on Klander(archive),

    http://bluegrit.blogspot.com/

    Nuff said...

    By Blogger Platty, at 2:01 PM  

  • Hey Calgarygrit,

    You've been fairly moderate and allow comments from both sides.

    I noticed that you had mentioned that Jason Cherniak had voted Conservative in 2000 for Joe Clark.

    I asked him on his blog about the duplicity of voting Conservative in the past and voting Liberal now. Can anyone trust his true political leanings.

    HE KEEPS DELETING THIS COMMENT.

    I'm not anonymous. It's not spam. I'm just making a comment. Is not comments allowed?

    Mike

    By Blogger Fighting for Democracy, at 2:06 PM  

  • Well I don't know if you can be rewarded for supporting the Tories, but it does seem you can certainly be punished for not supporting them:

    "Yesterday, Manitoba Conservative Member of Parliament Inky Mark sent an email to David Chartrand, President of the Manitoba Metis Federation, which said: "I don't need to tell you that taking sides will only hurt you and your organization sooner or later."

    Ahhhh, telling native leaders not to "take sides" in politics, or else. No one's done that in Canada since the War of 1812! How nostalgic.

    By Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own, at 2:08 PM  

  • On the issue of judicial independence, Alan has an excellent post.

    Coyne makes a decent argument that there is partisan politics involved in the *appointment* of judges. He offers nothing to suggest there is partisan politics involved in how judges actually rule, except by playing on the hightened suspicions of conservatives.

    By Blogger Matthew, at 2:56 PM  

  • This is just off a Reuters story titled:


    Martin admits he's in election trouble

    "Martin, trying to persuade voters that Harper is an extremist who would clamp down on personal freedoms such as gay marriage and abortion, has been by hit the inability of his own legislators and allies to stay on message.

    Minutes after he spoke in Oshawa, local Liberal candidate Judi Longfield told reporters she would vote against gay marriage if Parliament decided to reconsider the matter.

    She also said she disagreed with Martin's promise to alter the constitution to make it impossible for Parliament to overturn decisions by the Supreme Court on freedoms such as gay marriage and abortion."

    If that's not enough to bugger his day, Andrew Coyne has posted regarding the Axworthy bit in Sask this morning when someone from the Liberal campaign office called in and falsing accused him of being a sexual predator.

    Too much... I'm actually starting to feel sorry for Martin.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 3:07 PM  

  • Sorry... that was supposed to be referring to the conservative guy, who was doing a live talk show this morning and is running against Axworthy.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 3:08 PM  

  • CG

    This is not a matter of conspiracy per se or a lack of independance. The fact is that bias and prejudice are a natural product of being human. The judiciary is made up of people with basic human characteristics that are no more unique than a plumber or an accountant. All people are shaped by their personal experiences and the cultures in which they live.

    The culture within the judiciary is no more exempt from bias than the culture within a corporation, a community or a family.

    If members of the judiciary were in fact omnicscient and free of all bias then there would exist empirical evidence at the highest levels to support this assumption.

    If we can agree that the SCoC represents the best of the best that the judicial community has to offer than it would follow that in the SCoC's search for unbiased interpretation of the law would always result in unanimous decisions. This of course is not the case. Dissenting opinions are a reflection of the inherent biases we all naturally hold.

    Harper's assertation that there is a decided liberal bias in the judiciary is a realistic and logical conclusion. This in no way impunes the independance of judges, rather it points out the obvious.

    Systemic bias and prejudice need not represent a conspiracy or even a conscious effort of those involved.

    When unvetted apointments are the order of the day it only stands to reason that those making the appointments will seek out canidates which reflect their own views. The judiciary that we have today is largely liberal appointed it only stands to reason that the current flavor of the courts will be liberal in nature.

    Will Harper likely appoint a right leaning judge? Of course he will!! He will be doing nothing different than his predecessors.

    What we need in our judiciary is a vetting process to establish some balance. Our goal should be a judiciary that reflects many points on the political spectrum.

    To suggest or even hope that a judiciary that largely consists of individuals from one end of the spectrum will arrive at fairly balanced opinions is unrealistic and unfair to the jurists themselves.

    These are people like you and me, not gods.

    A balanced judiciary should lead to a more vigorous discourse and ultimately more thoughtfull opinions.

    Syncro

    By Blogger Syncrodox, at 3:09 PM  

  • LKO, why not put the context back into Inky Marks' comment? Hmmm?

    http://dustmybroom.com/?p=2723

    Cheers,
    lance

    By Blogger lance, at 3:21 PM  

  • springer: my hand is raised. To cite one recent example, the only two dissenting judges in the recent 'swingers clubs' decision were both Chretien appointees. The decision was written by one of the Conservative appointees and concurred to by the other. The recent Imperial Tobacco ruling was also written by a Conservative appointee and concurred to by the other. The answer to the same-sex reference was unanimous. There may be rulings that back up your paranoid conspiracy theory, so why don't you try citing some examples instead of throwing around empty rhetoric.

    One thing is certain: Stephen Harper has made it clear that his appointments will be political.

    By Anonymous Ed King, at 3:25 PM  

  • ED, or is the Special Ed,

    Prove to everyone that Stephen Harper actually said his appointments would be political.

    I'm pretty sure any appointments would go through a committee. Paul Martin, the dictator of Canada, single-handled picked his own appointments including the Governor General.

    By Blogger Fighting for Democracy, at 3:45 PM  

  • Breaking...

    http://liberal.ca/bio_e.aspx?id=24026&type=can

    Apparently this Liberal candidate in Quebec just closed down his office and told everyone to vote Conservative.

    There must be people in the Liberal war room in convulsions right about now.

    By Anonymous springer, at 4:05 PM  

  • If every judge could be relied upon to weigh all evidence in perfect harmony without any reference to personal opinion, human error, or beliefs based upon life experience, then it would be unnecessary to have any more than one Supreme Court judge hear a case. After all, they’d be able to render a decision without fear of error or bias.

    However, the Supreme Court of Canada FAQ above points out that often seven or nine judges hear a case. Seven or Nine!!

    (More posted at my blog)

    By Anonymous Johnny Pockets, at 4:17 PM  

  • Fighting,

    Harper, and everyone in the thread here save a few is implying just that. Ed King and Matthew are making very good points.

    Remember Harper said that the Liberal SCoC would prevent him from exercising power in a majority. Ergo, they would have to rule against the government in a partisan manner. Both Ed and Matthew point out that apart from the appointment process, the SCoC usually do not rule along partisan lines. Thus, Harper is wrong to imply otherwise.

    My concern is that if Harper genuinely thinks that SCoC judges are ruling in a partisan manner (which they are not) then he will place a partisan on the SCoC, in turn creating a race to the bottom. Soon we have the fiasco that we see in the US.

    No matter how they appear to be appointed, our judiciary is quie independant, as evidenced by the rulings. There is no evidence that they RULE in any other way.

    Only if that kind of proof is brought up do we have an issue. No matter who they donate to and who appoints them, our SCoC has ruled quite well on the isses before it.

    By Blogger Mike, at 4:18 PM  

  • Allegations of sexual assault leveled at Conservative candidate -- from Liberal campaign HQ! [Updates]
    Steve Janke at 12:20 PM
    Related articles: Technorati Cosmos :: CanConv :: Blogging Tories
    Liberal candidate Chris Axworthy

    Officially Screwed has lead on this story.

    "Officially screwed" might also be the term for Liberal candidate Chris Axworthy if this turns out to be malicious slander:

    I just heard on CFRA that a huge breaking story is hitting the wires about a televised debate on the Shaw Cable network for the riding of Saskatoon-Wanuskewin.

    During the debate, a caller called in and accused Conservative Candidate Maurice Vellacott of sexual assault on a church secretary.

    When they tracked the number back, they came up with the Liberal campaign headquarters of Chris Axworthy.

    So a Conservative candidate is being interviewed live, no delay, and someone from within the Liberal campaign headquarters for the riding calls in to accuse that candidate of sexual assault?

    We'll see how far this develops. On the lookout for confirmation.

    Update: An official press release

    OTTAWA - Tuesday night on Shaw Cable, a caller phoned in falsely accusing front-runner Conservative incumbent MP Maurice Vellacott of sexually assaulting his church secretary at North Park Church. The technicians who have no 7 second delay cut the call off. Vellacott responded quickly by looking directly into the camera, stating to the technicians that he needed to get the name and phone number of that caller for defamation proceedings.

    After the cable show ended, Vellacott was handed the requested phone number by Shaw Cable producer Gracie Field. Upon arrival back at his campaign office he was told that a person had reported in and was 100% confident that it was the voice of George Laliberte. The caller maliciously and falsely accused Vellacott of being "removed from North Park Church because you were charged with sexual assault" on his church secretary. Laliberte is a friend of Chris Axworthy's and apparently owes Axworthy some favours. When the 1-306-956-2570 number provided by the Shaw Cable staff member was dialed, it was found to be Chris Axworthy's campaign office phone number. At that time Laliberte could not be reached at his home number of 1-306-683-3650.

    Vellacott has never been accused by any woman of sexual assault and was never a Pastor at North Park Church or ever in attendance there. Bishop Jerold Gliege former long-term Pastor of North Park Church and now of Holy Covenant Orthodox Church, confirms that Vellacott never served there (home 306-664-2808; Church 652-3339). Gliege says, "Vellacott is an upstanding, honourable man who has served this Saskatoon-Wanuskewin constituency very diligently. He is a courageous person and has been an effective representative for this riding on a whole range of issues. He has a big heart for people and stands up for seniors, the vulnerable and the underdog. Because he is an articulate defender of life, marriage and family, he is the target of attacks by those who have differing views."

    It appears that Axworthy endorses spreading lies and attempted character assassination. Vellacott says this is typical of nation-wide sleazy Liberal tactics in the dying days of their desperate campaign. After this kind of evil tactic, Vellacott predicts that Axworthy will be damaged irreparably and unable to pursue public office again in this province.

    Vellacott challenges Paul Martin to distance himself from Axworthy and such sleazy, corrupt, dishonest actions so typical of the Liberal Party across the country over the last number of years.

    Furthermore, Vellacott says Ralph Goodale has now shown himself not only to be less than forthcoming on the income trust scandal but also a poor judge of character when he recently made a spurious reference to Vellacott when he spoke of Saskatoon-Wanuskewin needing representation "by a person of class and quality like Chris Axworthy (Saskatoon StarPhoenix, January 10, 2006, page A4)." Some class and some quality! Vellacott says that in view of these sleazy tactics those individuals who signed Axworthy's nomination papers should disassociate from Axworthy. The names of Axworthy's nominators for this election are on record at the Saskatoon-Wanuskewin Electoral Office at 275 First Avenue North and can be scrutinized by any member of the public between the hours of 9 am and 9 pm.

    Previously Axworthy's campaign was exposed as being associated with a website that misleads, perverts and maliciously rips things out of context. Eric Hovius the originator of the website at first denied being at Axworthy's office, but when caught in a lie by StarPhoenix reporter Darren Bernhardt, he acknowledged that he knows Axworthy and has spent time at Axworthy's office. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Jan. 14, 2006)

    Vellacott is expecting election day to be a vindication of his hard work on behalf of his constituents in Saskatoon-Wanuskewin.

    tsk,tsk,tsk, no shame at all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:24 PM  

  • Allegations of sexual assault leveled at Conservative candidate -- from Liberal campaign HQ! [Updates]
    Steve Janke at 12:20 PM
    Related articles: Technorati Cosmos :: CanConv :: Blogging Tories
    Liberal candidate Chris Axworthy

    Officially Screwed has lead on this story.

    "Officially screwed" might also be the term for Liberal candidate Chris Axworthy if this turns out to be malicious slander:

    I just heard on CFRA that a huge breaking story is hitting the wires about a televised debate on the Shaw Cable network for the riding of Saskatoon-Wanuskewin.

    During the debate, a caller called in and accused Conservative Candidate Maurice Vellacott of sexual assault on a church secretary.

    When they tracked the number back, they came up with the Liberal campaign headquarters of Chris Axworthy.

    So a Conservative candidate is being interviewed live, no delay, and someone from within the Liberal campaign headquarters for the riding calls in to accuse that candidate of sexual assault?

    We'll see how far this develops. On the lookout for confirmation.

    Update: An official press release

    OTTAWA - Tuesday night on Shaw Cable, a caller phoned in falsely accusing front-runner Conservative incumbent MP Maurice Vellacott of sexually assaulting his church secretary at North Park Church. The technicians who have no 7 second delay cut the call off. Vellacott responded quickly by looking directly into the camera, stating to the technicians that he needed to get the name and phone number of that caller for defamation proceedings.

    After the cable show ended, Vellacott was handed the requested phone number by Shaw Cable producer Gracie Field. Upon arrival back at his campaign office he was told that a person had reported in and was 100% confident that it was the voice of George Laliberte. The caller maliciously and falsely accused Vellacott of being "removed from North Park Church because you were charged with sexual assault" on his church secretary. Laliberte is a friend of Chris Axworthy's and apparently owes Axworthy some favours. When the 1-306-956-2570 number provided by the Shaw Cable staff member was dialed, it was found to be Chris Axworthy's campaign office phone number. At that time Laliberte could not be reached at his home number of 1-306-683-3650.

    Vellacott has never been accused by any woman of sexual assault and was never a Pastor at North Park Church or ever in attendance there. Bishop Jerold Gliege former long-term Pastor of North Park Church and now of Holy Covenant Orthodox Church, confirms that Vellacott never served there (home 306-664-2808; Church 652-3339). Gliege says, "Vellacott is an upstanding, honourable man who has served this Saskatoon-Wanuskewin constituency very diligently. He is a courageous person and has been an effective representative for this riding on a whole range of issues. He has a big heart for people and stands up for seniors, the vulnerable and the underdog. Because he is an articulate defender of life, marriage and family, he is the target of attacks by those who have differing views."

    It appears that Axworthy endorses spreading lies and attempted character assassination. Vellacott says this is typical of nation-wide sleazy Liberal tactics in the dying days of their desperate campaign. After this kind of evil tactic, Vellacott predicts that Axworthy will be damaged irreparably and unable to pursue public office again in this province.

    Vellacott challenges Paul Martin to distance himself from Axworthy and such sleazy, corrupt, dishonest actions so typical of the Liberal Party across the country over the last number of years.

    Furthermore, Vellacott says Ralph Goodale has now shown himself not only to be less than forthcoming on the income trust scandal but also a poor judge of character when he recently made a spurious reference to Vellacott when he spoke of Saskatoon-Wanuskewin needing representation "by a person of class and quality like Chris Axworthy (Saskatoon StarPhoenix, January 10, 2006, page A4)." Some class and some quality! Vellacott says that in view of these sleazy tactics those individuals who signed Axworthy's nomination papers should disassociate from Axworthy. The names of Axworthy's nominators for this election are on record at the Saskatoon-Wanuskewin Electoral Office at 275 First Avenue North and can be scrutinized by any member of the public between the hours of 9 am and 9 pm.

    Previously Axworthy's campaign was exposed as being associated with a website that misleads, perverts and maliciously rips things out of context. Eric Hovius the originator of the website at first denied being at Axworthy's office, but when caught in a lie by StarPhoenix reporter Darren Bernhardt, he acknowledged that he knows Axworthy and has spent time at Axworthy's office. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Jan. 14, 2006)

    Vellacott is expecting election day to be a vindication of his hard work on behalf of his constituents in Saskatoon-Wanuskewin.

    Tsk, tsk, tsk - deperados mui amigos. You have no shame at all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:25 PM  

  • FFD,

    The Conservative platform talks about a new appointment process for officers of Parliament and other agencies and Crown corps but says nothing about the SCC. I don't know if Harper has said that his government would change the appointment process. I haven't heard him say so.

    Harper said he would appoint judges who agree with his interpretation of the constitution during the 2004 english-language leadership debate. If transcripts are available, you can look it up. As far as I know, he has not said anything since to indicate that he has changed his mind. Mike also makes a good point above.

    By Anonymous Ed King, at 5:24 PM  

  • Bart, it seems the Toronto Star disagrees with the prevailing Liberal and liberal outrage over judicial independence:

    But a more conservative Supreme Court could be one way to enact such changes while elected politicians avoid the debate. It would be the exact opposite of socially liberal court appointments and rulings in the last 20 years that paved the way to today’s status quo on abortion and gay rights. (my emphasis)

    By Blogger Babbling Brooks, at 5:39 PM  

  • Aim for the top CG. Join the Senate and organize the Blogging Dodderers.

    By Blogger Simon Pole, at 6:21 PM  

  • http://www.digitalbanff.com/banff/news/2006/01/21147.html


    Myron Thompson, conservative candidate, bigot, and more than willing to put abortion back on the agenda - despite Harper's intransigence on the issue. His mouth is saying "no" but his party is saying "yes"

    By Anonymous Alberta Report, at 7:06 PM  

  • nope, not going to reverse abortion eh stephen?


    Myron Thompson, conservative candidate, bigot, and more than willing to put abortion back on the agenda - despite Harper's intransigence on the issue. His mouth is saying "no" but his party is saying "yes"

    By Anonymous Alberta Report, at 7:10 PM  

  • Did you just mention Tom Wappel?

    Noted anti-abortionist?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:23 PM  

  • But seriously guys, let's put aside the spin for a second:

    The Conservatives would have to win 2 full majorities to swing the Supreme Court even a little (if they wanted to). 7 out of 8 supreme court judges are Liberal appointees, and the 8th one, who has originally appointed by Mulroney, was actually reappointed to Chief Justice by Chretien.

    The first judge isn't scheduled to retire until 2013. 4 other Liberals will retire AFTER 2020.

    It would be impossible to alter the supreme court at this time. This is a non-issue.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 8:43 PM  

  • So Bart's theory is that the Liberal party of Canada appoints only non-political judges?

    I guess he wants to ignore the pattern of political donations of the federal judiciary. Over 80% of all judges donate exclusively to the Liberal party of Canada. In Saskatchewan where Liberals are very scarce I believe 100% of their federal judges donate to the Liberal party of Canada prior to being appointed to the bench.

    Its funny how supporting Liberal candidates is good for a wanna be judges career.

    Independant judiciary? Fuck off.

    By Anonymous colin, at 8:46 PM  

  • For anyone who says that judges never rule along political lines - look at the health care decision last year. 4-3 in favour of allowing private health care. At the time there were 2 Conservative appointees.

    The split? The 3 against were all Liberals.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 8:50 PM  

  • Canada's court system is heavily populated with Liberal judges. Just check the donation records of all federally appointed judges for the last twelve years.

    The results show over 80% donated exclusively to the Liberal party of Canada.

    In Saskatchewan where Liberals are hard to find 100% of recently appointed judges donated only to the Liberals while they were wanna be judges. Hmm, thats suspicious.

    Now lets ask whether Justice Abella could be considered politically centrist. Probably not. She was appointed exclusively for the SSM vote. A very reliable left wing justice.

    It would be terrible if Stephen Harper appointed right of center judges...oooh scary. They might want to put criminals in jail.

    I find the current makeup of the Supreme court scary. Scary Liberal.

    By Anonymous colin, at 9:12 PM  

  • What's your point? Everyone is socially liberal. By definition, "conservatives" are people who are more cautious than other folks, but want basically the same thing. People who want the opposite of what by common consensus is progress are called "reactionaries".

    By Blogger LeoPetr, at 9:16 PM  

  • Today Martin expressed concern about who Harper would appoint. The implication being that Harper's appointment would be what... wait for it...

    BIASED!!!!

    Why is it ok for Martin to suggest that Conservative appointments would be biased but not vice versa?!

    By Blogger ferrethouse, at 1:37 AM  

  • "Remember, Harper will have at least one SCC seat to fill during his time as PM and if he's obsessed about partisan judges, I'm a little worried he might appoint a partisan judge."

    Give me a fucking break. The libs have -what-67 senators appointed and your worried Harper might appoint his own.

    Liberals are the most arrogant pricks there are. And besides all that you are a turncoat.

    Asshole

    Horny toad

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