The real issue in Harper vs. the Supreme Court - 2014-05-14
MONTREAL — Recent comments by the Harper government concerning the Supreme Court of Canada have garnered much criticism. The Council of Canadian Law Deans has decried the government's "impugning the integrity of the Chief Justice and the independence of the Supreme Court," while 11 former Canadian Bar Association presidents have denounced "disrespect by the executive branch for the judicial branch of our constitutional democracy."
While the specifics of l'affaire Nadon add up to a veritable judicial-appointments whodunit, perhaps it is worthwhile to appreciate the real issue in Harper vs. the Court.
The government has thus far maligned Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, casting aspersions that she made an "inappropriate and inadvisable" phone call. And it has openly criticized court rulings, even impugning the court's timing. The prime minister has called the Senate reference "a decision that the vast majority of Canadians will be very disappointed with," while Justice Minister Peter MacKay has charged that "it was not this government that decided to table (the Marc Nadon reference) in the middle of the Quebec election."