Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Not much to add

Don't know what to make of this. Yeah, it wasn't unexpected that Harper and Co. would appeal the Khadr ruling.

I'm copying a comment that Scott found that summarizes the situation nicely:

…this is really an “all-in” move on Harper’s part. A quiet retreat on this issue would sting a little with the rank and file for a few weeks, but be survivable. Instead, it would appear the Cons are willing to bet it all on being vindicated by the Supremes… if they do bring it all the way to the floor of the SCoC and lose, it will make for a very big and very public spanking. It would be pretty much unprecedented for a national government in a Western democracy to stake its reputation on the unswerving rightness of its cause and then be told by the highest levels of its judiciary that they’ve been trampling on the Constitutional rights of a single citizen and be ordered to eat crow. That’s election-losing big. I daresay they’re already hard at work in the Little Shop of Tories on the ads blaming the elite librul activist judges.

This is one of those moments where I understand what's going on, and yet I don't. I totally expected that the Harper government would appeal all the way to the supreme court. Its what they do.

But yet... Why are they so deliberately obtuse about this? As that comment portrays, this decision really elevates the cage match element of this debate. It's like the Conservatives feel they have an obligation to take on the courts. But if they lose the appeal, then what? Suspend the Supreme court? Implement martial law? What point does this serve anymore?

Even if they win, that's almost worse optically. It will be a technical win that will require us to abandon any moral sense of duty to a fellow citizen. It would be the kind of ruling the relegates a human being to an object, a study specimen. If the Supreme court overturns the lower court rulings, it will strip Canada of its humanity.

Why do the Conservatives feel that they have to constantly debate rights of citizens in court? Why is it that they are unable to act compassionately for the citizens they are responsible for?

It is ironic that Conservatives always get their knickers in a twist over judicial activism, but whether through action or inaction, always wind up in front of a judge.


ADHR said...

I'm not sure it's ironic; ironic implies it's unexpected. The Conservatives aren't really conservatives (that is, the party at large; I'm not speaking about individual members). Currently, they're on a jaunt through right-wing populism, which trends close to things like fascism. As the CPC sees things, I think, the plurality party in the House is supreme: the Supreme Court, the Senate, the Monarch, the Constitution, the other parties -- these are irrelevant. It's the sort of massive hubris and arrogance that's been plaguing the US Republican Party since about the Reagan years (possibly earlier).

Did you ever think you'd pine for the days of Mulroney? 'Cause I sort of am.

Catelli said...

Well I didn't expect a party that campaigned against judicial activism to wind up in the front of the courts so often (or to launch lawsuits so often). Maybe its naively ironic?

But yeah I pine for Mulroney, especially for singing Irish Eyes are smiling and making Reagan look uncomfortable...

To be honest, I'm pining for anyone but Harper.

ADHR said...

"Judicial activism" is often a dogwhistle, though. Anyone who knows how common-law systems work realizes that judges make law, so "activism" is a non-starter. All judges have to be activist, to some extent. It stands in as code, though, for the usual parcel of social conservative hot buttons -- outlawing abortion, same-sex marriage, etc., requiring Bible studies, and so on and so forth. Campaigning on that term, though, is rarely sincere: I tend to think any Conservative invocation of it was part of their power-at-any-price modus operandi, a cynical ploy to curry favour with one part of the electorate.