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The Canadian Supreme Court rejects Conservative ideology for facts.

Not only am I pleased with the Insite ruling, I’m pleased it’s unanimous, in a strong rebuke to the Conservative government, who’s been trying to close this since 2008:

A supervised needle injection site for heroin addicts in Vancouver has gotten a constitutional reprieve following a landmark ruling Friday by the country’s top court. In a decision that sharply pits the court’s view of a coherent drug strategy against the Conservative government’s, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled 9-0 that the federal government cannot refuse to extend a legal protection to addicts and clinical health workers at the InSite clinic in Vancouver’s gritty Downtown Eastside who would otherwise be penalized by federal drug laws… In its precedent-setting ruling, the high court ruled that federal Conservative government effectively made an unconstitutional decision not to grant the clinic an exemption, and so breached the Charter rights of addicts and health workers. The court found denying access to such life-saving services violates Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which says life, liberty and security of persons cannot be threatened by arbitrary or heavy-handed state decisions.

Take note that the current court includes 3 Conservative nominated Justices. 2 were nominated by Harper, and the Chief Justice was appointed by Brian Mulroney.

Facts don’t have a Conservative bias, it appears.

UPDATE @ 6:21 pm: I totally missed this from yesterday. The Federal Court struck down the Conservative government’s attempt to limit what the Military Commission investigating possible Afghan detainee abuses could include in its future report. Not a very good week for the Conservatives in court.


9 comments to The Canadian Supreme Court rejects Conservative ideology for facts.



    The producers of this short film are both recovering addicts who have both spent time living and indulging with drug addiction in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Today they are both clean and sober with multiple years of recovery

  • Trying to override the Charter of Rights in a 9-0 unanimous judgement has more political risks then staying true to ideology or his followers clamoring for it.

  • ck

    @Scott and @KC I understand what you’re saying and it makes perfect sense, however, given Harper’s obsession with tough on crime and their omnibus tough on crime ‘n’ morality and the war on drugs and all that, I figured that using the not withstanding clause would be part of the Harper modus operandi.

    • Beerbob

      Hey, ck: The tough on crime thing, I know it’s really hard to imagine, but how about this: There’s no actual evidence to suggest that the government’s policies have anything to do with reality. But there has to be a real reason for them to keep on pushing it. Harper may not be the sharpest pin in the box, but he didn’t get where he has by being a complete moron. You just have to look at the core of his own personal campaign material. He went across the country, consistently giving exactly the same fifteen minute talk to a LOT of old people. Sometimes he managed three or four old folks homes, hockey arenas or church basements per day. There was lots of scary talk about how the old folks should be afraid. This fits right in with the way old people think, and how they’re afraid in general, of lots of things. That fear can be easily used. The process was set up by professionals to market that fear. Harper just had to give the same speech, over and over.

      So, why should the government worry about one little safe injection site? The ability to do anything about it is out of their hands, and they can use the SC decision to show their base how the country is slouching towards Bedlam, even up to the highest levels of the judiciary, and we’ll all need those hard working Tories to protect us. They will try to weasel out some sort of legislation to make sure that any other sites don’t open but that’ll be done to make sure that the base keeps their warm and fuzzy. Maybe time it for some byelection in an urban area, but take it from me, there aren’t many votes to be milked out of it now. It’ll fade.

      It is quite a leap to even imagine that a political party would commit to spending gargantuan amounts of taxpayer’s money on huge prisons that don’t have any actual reasons for existence except as props to get subordinate authoritarian and frightened old people’s votes. The members of the CPC (at least some of them), might actually think that it’s a good thing. But what’s happening here was done in the U.S., and it worked (there are lots of places down there that are rolling it back now – they can’t afford it). It’s starting to look like it’s working here.

      All policy is built around politics, the Liberals did stuff like this too occasionally. It’s just that sometimes the process gets particularly loathsome when the scale is so enormous (that’s why it’s hard to believe). The combination of manipulating old peoples’ fears and pissing away oceans of money for purely political reasons is just over the top. It’s like there is no policy whatsoever, just politics.

  • ck

    I’m seeing over at the Blogging Tories and some of the Con trolls over at comments at G & M clamouring for Harper to invoke the notwithstanding clause. Can he do that?

    • I suppose he could, though that would probably damage him heavily politically (I doubt even the most apathetic voters would be pleased a government overrode the Charter), but his Health Minister already said the government would comply with the ruling.

    • KC

      He could but I doubt he will. I don’t think that this is an issue that motivates the PM in the way it motivates his base. He had to go through the motions of opposing it to appease the red meat conservatives but he won’t take the unprecedented step (federally at least) of invoking the notwithstanding clause. This PM has been reasonably good at picking his battles.

  • Big Winnie, if it’s an important thing, then pretty much by definition the Conservatives don’t want to spend money on it.

  • Big Winnie

    I don’t imagine the Conservative base is too thrilled with the decision. I just wish this government would quit wasting our tax dollars with appeals, suits, etc…Our money could be invested in more important things!!

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