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Conservatives start the process to gerrymander Canadian Courts

Is anyone shocked to see this? I’m not:

The Conservative government has loaded the committees that determine who can become a judge, selecting a series of Tories including former politicians, aides to ministers, riding association officials and defeated candidates.

Just look at the qualifications some of these people have:

Partisan appointments include defeated Tory candidates such as Mark Bettens, a firefighter from Glace Bay, N.S., whose résumé lists one year at Cape Breton University and two runs for the provincial Tories.

What’s that you say? That doesnt look like he’s qualified to pick a judge? Of course he is. He’s a Conservative, and that’s more then enough qualification for his new job – what’s so hard about rubber-stamping whoever Harper picks? 🙄

Here’s some more gerrymandering:

The Conservative government has come under fire for changing the makeup of the committees so that members appointed by Ottawa will now have a majority of votes when it comes to deciding if a lawyer will be recommended for the bench.
The four other members on each committee are chosen by provincial governments, law societies, the Canadian Bar Association and judges. But instead of three members, Ottawa now picks a fourth drawn from the ranks of police officers, and has taken the vote away from the judges’ representative, unless the other seven are tied.

So let’s get this straight.. they’ve more or less taken away the vote from the judge’s representative, the folks who should actually know whether their fellow judges are competent or not – and given that vote to the police officers. Those folks, with all due respect, shouldn’t be even getting a vote because of the inherent bias they have in the setup. They will automatically be picking judges who they feel will have a more sympathetic law and order stance toward them and the prosecuting attorneys – there is a conflict of interest there.

John Ibbittson of the Globe is blunt:

There isn’t any other way to put it: The Harper government, by perverting the rules and by appointing party loyalists to key positions, intends to stack Canada’s courts with conservatives.

Of course, you wont hear any of the Blogging Tories or Conservative supporters decrying these blatant patronage appointments or the fact they’ve gerrymandered the process. The ends justifies the means, according to those folks, and if it means the Tories have to play dirty pool to get more judges on with social conservative points of view, so be it.

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12 comments to Conservatives start the process to gerrymander Canadian Courts

  • Well why would blogging Cons be upset on this? It means after their one year of college or university they too can sit on some gov’t board and play with the power. Get more revenge into the system, heck, even start the hush-talk about capital punishment — like you don’t think stacking that reproductive board isn’t helping re-align the hush-talk about abortion rights, don’t you? After all, when Harpor said the debate on Same Sex Marriage was finished, the rest of the sentence he mumbled to his cackling lackies back up in the office was ‘until we get our majority and then Bam! Hahahahah!’
    Oh and I thought Canuckistan was being sarcastic and agreeing with us…

  • Gayle

    I am not so worried about this.

    Unfortunately for Harper and his little plans, the courts are still bound by precedent. He cannot change the law and the role of the judiciary with a few appointments. He still has the appellate and SCC courts to worry about, and they are not going to rubber stamp the decisions of his appointees unless those decisions are soundly based in law.

    On that point, it is wrong for Harper to say that the judges are making the law based on their own agenda.

    It was Parliament who enpowered the courts to assess legislation against the Charter. The judiciary did not ask for this role, however since it was imposed on them they have taken up the task and done their job.

    Judges do not throw out murder confessions and other evidence, or legalize SSM because of their own personal beliefs. They do so because they are following the law.

    If Harper hopes to change the law by appointing judges approved by this committee then he is going to have to hope they appoint seriously unqualified people – the kind of people who will ignore the law in order to impose their own view of things.

    If Harper is unhappy with so-called judicial activism then what he needs to do is amend the constitution to take this responsibility out of their hands. I doubt they would fight him on that.

  • knb

    I’m not shocked, but I’m angry. This is blatantly stacking the judiciary, for no other reason than to pander to their base and attempt to politicize the process.

    It is precisely this sort of action that Canadians need to pay attention to. The current system works well and was instituted by Mulroney, to avoid precisely what Harper has done.

    Aside from all of that, many of the people who are being appointed are not qualified for the task. What idiocy.

    I’m not suggesting that systems can’t be tweaked if necessary, but this one was not broken. Harper is determined to change this country into his own ideological image and I hope to hell Canadians are paying attention.

  • Scott,

    It’s not really a “traditional definition”, it’s the only definition I’m aware of. I’ll point out that just because two actions have similar consequences, doesn’t mean the two actions are the same.

    And regarding my comment on the story, I’d like to first point out your prediction:

    Of course, you wont hear any of the Blogging Tories or Conservative supporters decrying these blatant patronage appointments or the fact they’ve gerrymandered the process.

    Then, I’ll direct you here.

    Finally, I expect an official retraction, and a handwritten apology.

    :em36:

  • [quote comment=”1587″]Scott,

    Do you know what gerrymandering is?

    :em36:[/quote]

    I’m well aware of the traditional definition of the term Olaf. I realize it doesnt involve redistricting an electoral district.. but the result is basically the same: It gives the Tories the chance to stack all the committees and influence the picks to people of their choosing and favour.

    Now that we’re done nit-picking of the definition of words, perhaps you can comment on the actual decision by the Tories to do this. :em25:

  • Canuckistani said:
    [quote comment=”1586″]”Is anyone shocked to see this?”

    well, maybe the people who believed that harper and co would do what they said they would do and have ALL appointments be made in an independent fashion…suckers![/quote]

    Er, and you’re lauding Harper for not doing this? So I guess the ends justifies the means for you as I said.

    [quote]
    well, not if you are really bad at math. you see, the judges get to vote IF there is a tie among the other seven…so, if 3 and a half people vote for and 3 and a half people vote against then the judges get to vote. anyway, its not like judges have a better understanding of the judiciary than firefighters.[/quote]

    Give me a break. Its fitting by the way, that your URL you list in your name goes back to a “Blog not found” page. You’re as lost as your link is.

  • Scott,

    Do you know what gerrymandering is?

    :em36:

  • “Is anyone shocked to see this?”

    well, maybe the people who believed that harper and co would do what they said they would do and have ALL appointments be made in an independent fashion…suckers!

    “so lets get this straight…they’ve more or less taken away the vote from the judge’s representative”

    well, not if you are really bad at math. you see, the judges get to vote IF there is a tie among the other seven…so, if 3 and a half people vote for and 3 and a half people vote against then the judges get to vote. anyway, its not like judges have a better understanding of the judiciary than firefighters.

  • Jim

    What happens if I dislike both Liberal and Conservative appointments?

  • If firefighters are going to choose judges, are lawyers going to choose firefighters?

  • Dan

    This is shameful, they are going ahead with the idea of letting cops pick judges, welcome to the Fantino court.

  • Walkswithcoffee

    You know this is really really bad if even John Ibbittson is condemning it.

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