Sunday, April 28, 2013
Why Mulcair Shouldn't Be Trusted to Govern Canada.
Any doubts whether T. "Tony" Mulcair is ready to govern Canada are resolved by his actions in the modest controversy over the Supreme Court of Canada's handling of the 1981 constitutional patriation case.
Author Frederic Bastien contends two justices of the SCC, Justice Willard Estey and Chief Justice Bora Laskin, made inappropriate disclosures of the court's deliberations.
Estey, Bastien claims, told British officials the court was dealing with the patriation issue. Laskin allegedly told British and Canadian officials that the justices were divided on the question and suggested when he thought a decision would be delivered.
That, apparently, is it. Two allegations of two supposed communications, arguably inappropriate but, even if true, essentially meaningless except to those looking for something, anything to re-ignite those fires now more than 30-years past. Among them is NDP leader, Tony Mulcair.
There is no sense that the personal communications described in the book were designed to influence the Court’s decision. Nor, it should be noted, were they successful if that was the aim. Even if we twist this story into one of crazy conspiracy, where Laskin was working with Trudeau to help bring about patriation, they did not succeed: Laskin was on the losing side of a Court decision that said Trudeau was bound, by convention though not by law, to seek substantial provincial consent.
The Quebec National Assembly is up in arms and so too is Tony Mulcair. They're all demanding complete disclosure of all the court's documents and records. In response the Supreme Court of Canada has conducted an internal investigation and reported that,
“The Supreme Court of Canada conducted a thorough review of its records and it does not have any documents relevant to the alleged communications by former Chief Justice Bora Laskin and former Mr. Justice Willard Estey in relation to the patriation of the Constitution of Canada. This concludes the Court’s review.”
There it is. They went through the court's documents and files from 32-years ago and found no documents relevant to the allegations.
Apparently Tony Mulcair doesn't trust the Supreme Court of Canada. In fact he dismisses the court's statement as "not credible."
“You won’t find something you don’t ask for. Those documents were given to Mr. Bastien by the Canadian government … and large elements were taken out. So the first thing that one would have expected the Supreme Court to do is to ask for the full version, read them, and start an investigation. Instead, what they seem to have said from this cryptic, one-paragraph statement, is: ‘We looked in our filing cabinet and we don’t have them.’ … It’s a clear indication that the Supreme Court had no intention all along of ever dealing with this issue seriously. But unfortunately, it is an extremely serious issue.”
It's not the Supreme Court's job to be demanding documents of the federal government. The statement is not cryptic, except in Tony Mulcair's overheated mind. The court reviews its documents, its records. It can't even contact the judges. They're long dead. And no, Tony, this isn't an "extremely serious issue" except to those who see some political advantage in transforming it into one.
What's not credible is for an opposition leader, even one like Mulcair, to fan the flames for personal advantage. I suppose Tony has read the latest polls showing the Liberals on the rampage in his former stronghold, Quebec. Maybe Mulcair thinks his best shot at stopping Trudeau in his tracks is to re-ignite Quebec outrage from the nationalist side. Mulcair is plainly reaching far beyond Bastien's allegations to suggest some much larger conspiracy and will fault the Supreme Court of Canada for not delivering evidence of what doesn't exist.
Or maybe Mulcair has figured out his federal chances are waning fast so he'd better settle for the chance to be the first New Dem premier of Quebec.