Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Jody? Jody Who? Oh, Her. Why I Couldn't Care Less About Jody or Gerry or Justin.

Some people seem to have a wonderfully newfound fondness for ex-Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. I get the part about how she's First Nations and the first FN to serve as A.G. That's pretty much were it ends for me.

The Jody I saw was, should I say, "flexible" when it came to her principles. Think back to the summer of 2016 when, as Attorney General, Jody pushed through federal approval of the Site C dam without First Nations consultation and despite their opposition. Well, she really didn't need to consult with First Nations leaders about the dam. She knew what they believed.

Here's Jody in 2012 as Assembly of First Nations regional chief for B.C. condemning the Site C dam.

That's some flexibility.

Then came the assisted dying controversy, settled by the per curiam, 9-0 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Carter case.  Jody, of course, is a lawyer and a former Crown Attorney. She knows the law. She knows the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As A.G., independent of her prime minister and cabinet, she knows it is her duty to uphold the law of the land, including the Charter rights of all Canadians.

The Carter case concerned every Canadian's Charter right to a humane death, free of intolerable suffering. The decision is not full of legalese. It's pretty straightforward. The link is above, read it. You can understand it. Even an English-major like Justin or Gerry could understand it. We are a nation of laws, supposedly. The powerful ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada binds the federal government, Liberal or Tory.

So what did the prime minister and ex-Justice Minister Jody do? They took your Charter rights and mine and chiseled them down to something they liked better. They passed legislation abridging your Charter rights on something as critical as the right to a humane death.

Jody's thuggishness came through in the case of a horribly ill Alberta woman, known as "E.F.".  This was one of those intolerable suffering situations for which the Supreme Court of Canada, 9-0, said fell within the Charter protection. Only not for Justin and not for Jody.
To hear Wilson-Raybould tell it, E.F. "was suffering from a mental illness and ... a psychiatrist had approved (her) eligibility for medical assistance over Skype." 
"I don't think that's a situation that we want to get into," she warned Liberals at the ruling party's national convention in Winnipeg.
The justice minister has repeatedly referred to the E.F. case while urging parliamentarians to pass Bill C-14, the government's proposed new law on assisted dying, by Monday. She's argued that many doctors will refuse to provide medical assistance in dying in the absence of a legal framework while others may provide it to vulnerable people who shouldn't be eligible — like E.F., in Wilson-Raybould's judgment.
The truth:
E.F.'s application for an assisted death was supported by three doctors: her long-time attending physician — who had treated her for 28 years, including referrals to several psychiatrists and at least one neurologist — an assisting doctor and a psychiatrist with expertise in E.F.'s condition, who reviewed her medical file but did not examine her.

E.F., whose name has never been disclosed to protect her and her family's privacy, had suffered for nine years from a psychiatric illness called "severe conversion disorder." It caused her muscles to spasm involuntarily, producing constant pain and migraines and rendering her effectively blind, incapable of walking and often incapable of eating.

To hear Jody tell it, E.F. just had a case of the "downers." That's our justice minister, really?
All three doctors agreed that E.F. was competent and enduring intolerable suffering that was irremediable. The Alberta Court of Appeal agreed, in the process blasting a hole in the rationale that the federal government has used to justify the restrictive approach taken in Bill C-14.
But, if it was politically expedient to this Liberal government, Justin and Jody were plenty willing to dish out a life sentence of unconscionable cruelty in defiance of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The upshot of their self-serving callousness is that, across the country, people with degenerative terminal illnesses are having to opt for assisted death months earlier out of fear that some day they may be unforeseeably incapable of invoking their rights, forcing them to die in lingering anguish just as the prime minister and his ex-justice minister would prefer it.

Of course this is the very sort of chicanery you can routinely get from a "false majority" government like Trudeau's. Your Charter rights will be shaped by their partisan political interests. It's illegal. It's undemocratic. It's brutally wrong.

So I'm sorry if I don't have a lot of sympathy for Jody or a lot of respect for Justin either.  This isn't about Jody standing on principle. That's never been much of an issue for her in the past. Jagmeet, Andrew Scheer, Justin Trudeau, or Jody Wilson-Raybould - to me they're just a pack of opportunists. I wasn't going to vote for any of those snarling curs anyway.


Owen Gray said...

Does that mean that Elizabeth May is the only leader we have who has any integrity, Mound? Would that she had some public support. The choices are depressing.

The Mound of Sound said...

I really don't know, Owen. I will admit this. I am actually losing sleep with worry over the precipitous decline of governance across the West.

This manifested at 3 o'clock Monday morning when I came awake after apparently fretting over the chaos being exhibited by so many leaders from Trump to Theresa May, to the eastern European thugs and beyond.

It's troubling to me how they're governing for the sake of governing and, at best, paying lip service to the needs of their own populations. In a period of rapidly looming threats this is deeply dispiriting.

The Trans-Atlantic bond is in tatters. Today's Guardian has a piece on how Westminster has triggered a precipitous decline in British influence abroad. Chaos across Europe, especially in the east.

Social cohesion is in tatters and alliances so vital at this very moment are being dismembered. Risk and danger ensues.

As for Elizabeth May, to me she's still more an object of hope than anything else. This is her year to prove herself and I'm not sure that she'll succeed. I have doubts that she is willing to make the departure from the neoliberal order we need so badly at this point.

Jay Farquharson said...

May’s not the answer. The Green Party has no “ground game”. When you are a 3rd Party, you need to be running for election 24/7, 365 year after year even when it’s not an election year. You need to have your Cantidates out front and center, in each and every Riding, long before the election so that the Riding knows them, not just that the have Green Party after their name. The “game” has to be played in the news, social media, on streets, suburbs and rural areas.

Loggers, ranchers and farmers are already having to deal with climate change, but we never see The Greens. As an example of a policy that would win loggers votes, the loggers want to chip the waste and slash onsite, haul it into the mills where it can be burned in cogeneration units. They would do this at cost, just to avoid the many problems slash and waste causes both them and the forest. The Ministry isn’t interested.

Unfortunately, The Green Party= May, no more no less.

I’m not sure that there are any “answers”.