Michael Ignatieff, the Liberal deputy leader, tore a strip off Harper for his effort to link future judicial appointments to Conservative law-and-order policy.And here's more reaction:
"That's not how the separation of powers works in our country," Ignatieff said. "We leave the judges to interpret the law, and we choose them on the basis of quality and competence."
Ed Ratushny, a University of Ottawa law professor, said he was startled by the baldness of Harper's assertions.
"It's very unfortunate, turning the judiciary into a political football," Ratushny said.
"There is a constituency that is no doubt impressed by the idea of getting tough on criminals, but it's a narrow perspective that doesn't take into account the complexity of these issues."
The Canadian Bar Association, which first raised concerns about Tory judicial policy last fall, was quick to denounce Harper on Wednesday for undermining a long-standing tradition of non-partisanship on the bench.This is what you get when you vote for Harper...a very Americanized view of our political system and the branches of government. In Harper's view, our judges are politicized, like in the American system. Harper believes that if a judge was appointed by a Liberal government, then they're inherently hostile to Conservative policies. That's balderdash. Judges in Canada are free from partisan taint. They're appointed independently and due to their qualifications. Harper fundamentally misunderstands the Canadian system.
“Canada has always had independent judiciaries,” said bar president Parker MacCarthy. “This could shake Canadians’ confidence in the fairness of our justice system.”
This is just so tragic, to have our government speaking as if the partisan assumptions at play in the American judicial system are actually present in ours. Why are they so fascinated by the American system and so willing to ignore our own great traditions?