Sunday, August 10, 2014

It's Like the Noonday Sun to a Vampire - Fascist Governments Cannot Stand the Rule of Law

And by "fascist government" I'm referring to the government of Stephen Harper. Steve doesn't like the rule of law.  I'll bet he figures Magna Carta was a huge mistake. Our federal fuhrer thinks himself the supreme law, above the law of those meddling courts of the land.  The law is His to carve into tablets. The courts are merely to dutifully uphold and apply his law.

Steve is regularly at odds with Canada's judiciary and, as CBC News reports, it's Harper government policy to run afoul of the law.

Edgar Schmidt agrees that something is wrong, and he would know — he was the general counsel for the legislative branch at the Department of Justice, until he became a whistleblower and was suspended without pay in late 2012.
He filed documents in December of that year accusing the department of working under "faint hope" — approving legislation even if it has a "combined likelihood of five per cent or less" of being upheld by the courts.
He argued that Ottawa has a duty to introduce charter-compliant legislation — or, at least, tell the public when legislation doesn't pass the test.
The government disagreed, saying that it only needs to do so if legislation is "manifestly unconstitutional, such that no credible argument exists in support of it."
If a lawyer raises an issue with legislation, and management isn't worried, internal documents instruct government lawyers to "proceed to complete drafting or examination (blue-stamping)."
"Blue-stamping" is bureaucrat lingo for approving.
So, even if a piece of legislation has a 99 per cent chance of being defeated by the courts, government policy is to forge ahead.
That throws some cold water on MacKay's now-infamous refrain that even the government's most controversial pieces of legislation are vetted to be charter-compliant.
In other words, Harper deliberately and constantly tries to engage our courts in a pissing contest for his own perverse, political objectives.  Enacting laws that you know full well offend the Charter is patently vexatious and an abuse of the legislative and judicial processes. It's a behaviour that holds the nation itself in contempt.  It's the product of a troubled personality.


Anonymous said...

Or a treacherous régime which dances to a different tune.

The word IMPEACH comes to mind.

Nothing will change until that 10% of Canadians who did not vote last time get so mad that they show up, whenever the next election happens.

The cynicism in this country has never been worse and the so-called job creation of 200 last month makes one weep.

Yet, local MP's like mine, Ms Leitch, continue to send out their 10%-ers, 2 of which arrived last week, touting the CON This paper will make a great bonfire.

What can be done? Retreat to one's bunker, or get involved?


The Mound of Sound said...

Anon, I really think we need to address Canada's democratic deficit if we want to put an end to this mess. We need to empower the backbench, make free votes the default standard in Parliament. We also need to strip party leaders of much of their abilities to ride roughshod over their caucuses. Going beyond that we need to dismember the corporate media cartel that controls the national narrative and ensures a
weakened, misinformed electorate that, too often, simply turns its back on our political institutions.

These things are, to me, vastly more important than voting this way or that to ensure the defeat of Harper for that route only offers a "less worse" option that will perpetuate the status quo that serves them so well.

Scotian said...

I would tend to agree MoS, this goes beyond the defeat of Harper, but that is an important first step nonetheless. I am hoping that the Harper years will help illustrate to Canadians why we need to start making such changes to our system and create the political will to do so, because I know few people beforehand understood just how vulnerable we were to someone like a Harper because we took for granted too much the honourableness and integrity of those we elected to power. The needed checks and balances against such an abuser did not exist and we have now seen why they are so needful for an open society to thrive instead of fail.

The corporate media concentration is also clearly an issue needing to be dealt with, but I fear it might actually be a harder one to manage than the needed changes to the democratic deficit structural issues in Parliament. I am hopeful that the more we can succeed with one of the two the more the odds the other one will also end up being corrected becomes. I do see that possibility at least. Still though we have a lot of work ahead of us, and as much as I tend towards finding the positive I will say this is one of those areas where I find that harder than others. Still won't stop me from trying though...

the salamander said...

.. how is that 'legacy' of Jim Flaherty working out.. where he held an annual weekend getaway with Harper's corporatist partners & pimps.. so he could report back exactly what they wanted done?

Gutting environmental reviews, gutting science & biology budgets, killing research libraries and rational EI, delaying Canada Pension Plan, adding budget to harass charitable advocates, hiring more spies to hang out in Canada's most expensive building, gutting navigable waters protection..

the list is onerous & very long
& Flaherty was just one of the major complicits in The Harper Fallacies.. lets not forget, Baird & Clement, Shea & Ashfield helping Harper fold Fisheries into Natural Resources, Toews, Fantino, Poilievre et al screwing with everything they possible can.. and fools like MacKay and now Oliver, turning Procurement into faux budget surplus

Or pro asbestos advocate Kellie Leitch, who still has not clarified her conflicts of interest re her government landlord holdings...

The entire government is a travesty ... as is the Harper Party.. and one would think mass resignations were in order. along with the entire PMO, Arthur Hamilton, Ray Novak, Senator Gerstein, Jenni Byrne.. and on and on and on ..

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Scotian. I can't go with the "less worse" option. I wish to see neither Trudeau nor Mulcair rise to power as much as I expect the prize will fall to Trudeau. I remain politically aligned with the Greens and they shall have my vote.

@ Sal - yes, it's our national nightmare writ large.

Scotian said...


Until Harper rose to prominence I never encouraged anyone to vote anything other than what they felt was the best fit for them politically, whether I agreed with it or not, for me the more important element was that they voted at all and stayed politically engaged. I plan on returning to that POV once he is gone until and unless we get another like him, and no I do not see either Trudeau or Mulcair in that light, while I do think in some ways Mulcair in particular mirrors the tactical techniques of Harper his aim for their use is not the wholesale destructive agenda Harper had, what made him so particularly disturbing was that he had no positive vision for this nation at all, only negative/destructive. I did tend to get a little irked with those who claimed that since they could not support the lesser evil they would not vote at all, but for the most part I was offended as much because of how they were taking our system/process of government for granted as anything else like ignoring the greater evil in front of them because their noses were stuck up too high to see it.

I do think they are times where one must set aside one's usual principles int this respect to stop something truly out of the norm, and Harper was always that measure for me and still is, so I cannot say I am happy to hear you say what you did even though I am not at all surprised, because I actually read what you write and consider it, radical concept these days I know...*sigh*. So this time out I suspect I will be aligning with the Trudeau Liberals formally during the campaign because of my view that as flawed as he and his party may be they are clearly the best chance of defeating Harper and his CPC (as IMHO they always were demographically speaking whatever Dippers like to believe/say) and hopefully starting the beginning return towards what we used to call responsible Westminster type government. I respect your opinions about the Greens and May, and in other circumstances I might well be joining you (as I keep saying to people I am a true swing voter, I chose not by ideology but by what I see as the best choice in each electoral circumstances to best represent my positions wherever I find it, and in many ways May does do that) but for me the overriding short term political goal has to be making sure Harper is removed from power, with as large a boot as possible to help underscore just how unwelcome and unwanted his approach to governing was.

I've always been a realist about politics and politicians, and I've always understood that no party or leader will ever truly represent all my views because I am a truly polyglot of political philosophies at heart with a strong practical/pragmatic streak rolled in. For me the structure of the system has been as important as any policy or ideological position, and that was why as I'm sure you recall I was and am still so dedicated to the destruction of the Harper regime and the Harper approach to politics in general, because it has been so incredibly corrosive to those institutions which were never that strong to begin with. Imagine what he could have done if we had no Charter and the Constitution was still in British hands for example a la pre-1982, that idea still crops up in nightmares for me. Not that I am going to stop reading and enjoying your writings because we disagree on this point of course, you at least I know to be a truly thoughtful voter unlike far too many who still treat this like it is following a sports team.