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Liberal partisanship on judges? Not so. Everyone thinks its dangerous.

Some Tories are quite up in a snit over the uproar that Harper has caused by blatantly admitting he wishes to appoint judges who sees things from his point of view. That includes folks who aren’t even Blogging Tories, such as Andrew over at Bound By Gravity (I help him out by being a bit of an admin at the Canadian Blog Exchange). Andrew writes in comments in the prior blog-posting:

You partisan Liberals sure are amusing. When WE do it (for decades at a time) it’s fine and dandy, but when THEY do it it’s reprehensible.

Now to be clear, Andrew is a Conservative, just usually a bit more objective then his former BT acquaintances, except in this case apparently. My response to him is a) I’d expect better from you Andrew then writing like a Blogging Tory 🙂 and b) The Liberals didnt stack the Committees to this extent with partisan hacks (a failed MP Tory candidate who’s a firefighter? Yea, he must be WELL qualified to figure out who a good judge is), or add a key constituent who have a conflict-of-interest in the matter (the police) and at the same time literally remove the Judge’s representatives vote except in tie-break (which likely wont happen).

Nor did the Liberals at any time during this have the unprecedented action taken by the Supreme Court Chief Justice writing them letters chiding them for messing with the process.

I might also add c) The entire point of the last post was that constitutional experts and law professors are making these statements, NOT Liberal politicians (though I fully expect to be told all constitutional experts and professors are also Liberals at some point in time), but Andrew (and others) decided to avoid discussing that ..which is typical of Conservatives these days… avoid the main points and issue red herring attacks of what the Liberals did in the past… as if that somehow excuses their reprehensible behaviour now.

Now then, beyond the legal criticism I’ve mentioned prior to this and again now, how about the political front? Since the accusation is it’s just being “partisan Liberals” attacking Harper on the political front over this issue. how about we see what the other Opposition politicians said?:

NDP Leader Jack Layton said Harper’s position “completely belies what he told Canadians in the election, which is that we would have a fair and open process for the selection of judges, that partisanship shouldn’t be a part of it.” “The Canadian judiciary has been respected around the world because it has been largely a non-partisan approach that has been taken and urged and it is very distressing to hear Mr. Harper’s comments today,” Layton told reporters.

Or this?

The cat’s out of the bag,” said Bloc QuĂ©bĂ©cois leader Gilles Duceppe. He accused Harper of borrowing U.S. President George W. Bush’s approach to legal rights in the same way he’s adopting the “Republican model” on the environment.

Hmm.. so we actually have ALL opposition parties criticizing this, as well as constitutional law experts. Yet the best some folks can come up with is scream at what the Liberals did. Well, as mentioned,the Liberals did nothing as partisan and as blatant as Harper and his neo-conservative bunch are attempting now, and the fact that our conservative brethren out there can only scream “Look at what the Liberals did” shows they know they have no good defence against this. They WANT Harper to stack the courts… and they don’t care how he does it… as they attempt to turn back Canada’s traditional liberalism espoused by a large majority of Canadian society.

UPDATE: As commenter KNB points out, even some conservative columnists dont like what Harper is proposing to do either

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67 comments to Liberal partisanship on judges? Not so. Everyone thinks its dangerous.

  • SDC

    That’s right, KnB, just IGNORE the fact that your party has a well-established history of trading in judgeships and other plum posts as favours for the party faithful, and claim that this is all a fabrication of those nasty old Conservatives. Millions won’t believe you, but I might. :em72:

  • knb

    SDC, now that you have done precisely what we have been saying about the CPC, that is, twist, insert comment where it fit’s, spin, suggest we said something when we didn’t, be unable to back up your points, I would suggest it’s time to give it up.

    Go apply to Harp’s government though, by all means. You fit perfectly.

  • SDC

    [quote comment=”1759″]Oh please – this is your evidence? You are asking me to disprove a negative?.[/quote]

    No, I’m just saying “Look at what has been going on for lo these many years.” Do YOU think it’s “just a coincidence” that so many Liberal party insiders (presumably “pure lain Liberals”) have been rewarded with judgeships? If a similar situation was to arise IN ANY OTHER ARENA, the smell test alone would have you screaming at the transparency of it.

    [quote comment=”1759″]Nice try though. Intelligent people will not be swayed, but then that was never a prerequisite for voting LIEberal.[/quote]

    Fixed it for you.

  • SDC

    Who better than the police to know what IS ACTUALLY GOING ON IN THE “JUSTICE” SYSTEM???

  • SDC

    [quote comment=”1757″]
    And you’re going to believe that 1 witness as the be-all and end-all of credibility when none of his tale was ever substantiated?[/quote]

    That’s right, the ***Director-General of the Liberal Party in Quebec*** was so anxious to discredit his own party that he plucked these assertions out of thin air. That ranks up there with the “grassy knoll” and “George Bush planned 9/11” conspiracy theories. :em20:

  • Gayle

    [quote comment=”1756″]How do you know? Since these sorts of things occurred in backrooms, beyond the ken of non-Liberal party insiders, how exactly do you know WHAT the criteria was for your party to appoint someone a judge? On the face of it, it appears that at least one of the criteria was “Hey, this guy is one of the party faithful, so we can take it for granted that he shares our ideology.” Now, I agree that it would be JUST as distasteful for the Conservatives to play the same game that your party has just spent 13 years playing, but at least they’re putting these deliberations in front of a committee that seems to have some experience in the community and in the legal system (instead of le petit gar’s practiced patronage hand, and “Hey, he’s worked hard for da party.”)[/quote]

    Oh please – this is your evidence? You are asking me to disprove a negative?

    YOU are the one who says what Harper is doing is just the same as what the liberals did, so you prove it.

    Clearly you cannot point to any cases, or any evidence. You have no argument, and no leg to stand on.

    Nice try though. Intelligent people will not be swayed, but then that was never a prerequisite for voting conservative.

  • SDC said:
    [quote comment=”1756″]
    Now, I agree that it would be JUST as distasteful for the Conservatives to play the same game that your party has just spent 13 years playing, but at least they’re putting these deliberations in front of a committee that seems to have some experience in the community and in the legal system (instead of le petit gar’s practiced patronage hand, and “Hey, he’s worked hard for da party.”)[/quote]

    Judges have ALWAYS been put in front of this committee SDC. The difference is; your guy is gerrymandering it by taking away the Judges vote (except in the highly unlikely even the other 7 reps tie at 3.5 votes each) and adding a vote that has no business being there (that of the police) in order to give the government appointees the 4-3 majority of the 7 votes. In addition, placing failed MP firefighters on committees doesnt speak well toward knowing what to look for in a judge other then rubber-stamping whoever Harper deems are “his judges”.

  • SDC said:
    [quote comment=”1753″]
    No, Gomery decided not to follow up on this because it was extraneous to the purpose of the inquiry he was running, ie. exactly how the Liberal party set up and ran a kickback scheme for the benefit of the party and its friends.[/quote]

    And you’re going to believe that 1 witness as the be-all and end-all of credibility when none of his tale was ever substantiated?

    Just remember that Miriam Bedard said some things that were considered damaging at the time too.. and I’d bet not too may people will bet the farm on anything she said.

  • SDC

    [quote comment=”1754″] They did not make the willingness to implement their agenda one of the criteria for those appointments.[/quote]

    How do you know? Since these sorts of things occurred in backrooms, beyond the ken of non-Liberal party insiders, how exactly do you know WHAT the criteria was for your party to appoint someone a judge? On the face of it, it appears that at least one of the criteria was “Hey, this guy is one of the party faithful, so we can take it for granted that he shares our ideology.” Now, I agree that it would be JUST as distasteful for the Conservatives to play the same game that your party has just spent 13 years playing, but at least they’re putting these deliberations in front of a committee that seems to have some experience in the community and in the legal system (instead of le petit gar’s practiced patronage hand, and “Hey, he’s worked hard for da party.”)

  • knb

    Enough with the Liberal’s did this or thus, it’s juvenile and idiotic.

    Defend your position, in the here and now, based on principle.

  • Gayle

    SDC – Let us try this one more time. There is a difference between patronage appointments and appointing judges to uphold your own agenda.

    I agree the liberals made patronage appointments. They did not make the willingness to implement their agenda one of the criteria for those appointments. That makes what Harper is doing much different, and appalling.

    As for your last point, if it is not an excuse, why are you using it to excuse Harper?

  • SDC

    [quote comment=”1751″]And Gomery found that so compelling and truthful.. that he decided not to do any follow-up on it.

    I guess he didnt think the witness was very credible, eh? Or are you now going to charge he was trying to protect the “liberal judiciary”?[/quote]

    No, Gomery decided not to follow up on this because it was extraneous to the purpose of the inquiry he was running, ie. exactly how the Liberal party set up and ran a kickback scheme for the benefit of the party and its friends.

  • And Gomery found that so compelling and truthful.. that he decided not to do any follow-up on it.

    I guess he didnt think the witness was very credible, eh? Or are you now going to charge he was trying to protect the “liberal judiciary”?

  • wilson61

    Here is a must read for Liberals

    From the Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal:

    excerpt: (sorry it is so long, but needs to be to get the picture)

    (from the Gomery testimony)
    Corbeil alleged that a relatively small group of highly influential political, corporate and legal mandarins had as their foundational, over-reaching purpose the “…acquisition of power over this country; the consolidation of that power; and most importantly the exploitation of that power…” And how that power was obtained and manipulated through control of the institutions of what he termed the “…réseau Libéral …” the Liberal network.

    A network that operated at the national level using the various provincial wings as facades to conceal the real work of their machine. A machine whose core was the Federal Liberal Agency for Canada with the complicity of the party executive and the electoral commission. A machine that had its own fund-raising apparatus depositing in Ottawa; whose orders were to be strictly obeyed at the regional and local levels;
    and whose members included the highest ranking elected and operational representatives of both the Chrétien and Martin camps.

    If Corbeil is correct about the aims of this group, that “…met behind the closed doors of the most powerful law firms in the land and decided judgeships, contracts, grants and mandates…”, it would explain why Chrétien gave his fierce and bitter rival, Paul Martin, a man he personally detested, the control over the policies of the public purse. Arguably a job almost as important as his own. Were certain respected “eminences grises” involved in this “merger”?

    http://www.iapm.ca/newsmanager/anmviewer.asp?a=423&z=22

  • SDC

    My evidence is the behaviour of the Liberal party over the last 13 years; I don’t doubt that they may have made SOME unpartisan appointments, but it seems just too much of a coincidence to believe that so many of those lawyers who “just happened” to be LIEberals in good standing also “just happened” to be rewarded (oops, pardon me, “appointed after a thorough process that took place behind closed doors”) with a judgeship. There is an amazing similarity between a list of Liberal donors, and a list of judges (and of Immigration & Refugee board members, and of Parole board members, and of practically every OTHER appointee position). And Gayle, if you look up just a little bit, you’ll see that even LIBERALS no longer buy the “Cronyism is OK because the other guys do it too” excuse.

  • Gayle

    wilson, perhaps you could reproduce the entire paragraph, in order to give it some context:

    “Abella has dismissed it as “unrealistic to say that judges should not impose their values or make law.” And she urges judges not to worry about public opinion. “Performing the task properly may mean controversy and criticism,” she said in a speech last year in Dublin. “But better to court controversy than to court irrelevance, and better to court criticism than to court injustice.”

    Hmmm, judicial decisions that are based on the law, and not on public opinion. Cannot get much more unbiased than that, now can you.

  • Gayle

    SDC – well done. You missed the point, but then again actually addressing the issue at hand would kind of kill your argument, so no wonder you ignored it.

    Now go and find all those cases where those liberal appointed judges followed the liberal agenda. I asked Andrew to do that several hours ago and since then he has disappeared so now that you have taken up this cause perhaps you can do so. Just pointing out cases like SSM does not count – you have to show how they contorted and twisted or even simply ignored the law in order to push the liberal agenda. Perhaps you can provide some evidence about what, exactly, that agenda is.

    While you are at it, perhaps you can do a comparison between liberal appointed judges and conservative appointed judges, since Mulroney did the same thing the liberals did.

    When this whole thing started my first reaction was it was no big deal, since I expect conservative appointed judges were going to be based on merit and therefore there would be no big changes in the court system. That was before Scott pointed out that Harper admitted he was looking for judges to push his agenda. As I said before, this is a substantial difference from what Mulroney and Chretien did – much, much different.

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