Thursday, June 09, 2016
Trudeau's No-Win Dilemma
What to do, what to do? Trudeau's flawed (to the extent that being unconstitutional renders a proposed law flawed) assisted dying bill could become a millstone round the new prime minister's neck.
Let's say the Senate returns it with a host of amendments unacceptable to the false majority government.
Trudeau could put an end to the Parliamentary squabbling by referring the proposed legislation to the Supreme Court of Canada. Easy peasy. That's one of the things the SCC is there to do.
If the government genuinely believes its law comports with the Carter decision why shouldn't it go the reference route? Unless it doesn't think the bill would pass judicial muster.
Surely this government believes in the rule of law and would never want to enact unconstitutional laws, right? Right?
There's a second, potentially greater problem facing Trudeau. That would follow from enactment of the existing bill. Trudeau's law that extends the Constitutional protection to one class of sufferers while denying it to another.
It won't be long before the papers are harvesting accounts of patients left to endure excruciating ordeals at the instance of the federal government, real stomach churning, heart rending stuff. Trudeau the Younger will be an easy target, forced to wear responsibility for every one of those cases.
What will he say? Will he fall back on the "balance" excuse so feebly advanced by justice minister Jody? Will he say their desperate torment is in our best interests? Will anyone believe him?
We'll be hearing from the anguished relatives, seeing photographs of the Trudeau law's handiwork, reading accounts that will make our skin crawl.
As for public opinion, that Trudeau claims to read and follow, he knows how fleeting and fickle that can be. Once the "Trudeau Compromise" deaths roll in and people read what he has done, there's likely to be a tide change in public opinion.
My guess is that Trudeau knows all too well the disaster that would befall him from enacting his "compromise" assisted dying bill. He no more wants it becoming law than do the senators racing to amend it to make it constitutional.
Trudeau as Pontius Pilate. He wants to wash his hands of it, let someone else - preferably the Supreme Court of Canada - take the heat. He can tell the anti-assisted dying crowd that he did his best, fought the good fight, but got overruled.
Cowardly? Absolutely. The last thing Justin Trudeau wants is to have to live with the fallout from his own legislation.