Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Harper picks a dinosaur for the federal bench

Women in this country should be outraged at this judicial appointment by the Harper government. It sends a major signal that this is the kind of reactionary anti-choice philosophy Harper supports. Ammunition for a coming election:
Opposition justice critics say the swearing in next week of a former Tory MP and anti-abortion crusader is proof the federal Conservatives want to stack the courts with right-wing friends.

Lawrence O'Neil, an MP from 1984 to 1988, is to be sworn in Tuesday to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. On April 28, 1987, the legal aid lawyer told the House of Commons: "Unborn children across this country are being suctioned from the womb by women who want to put an end to their pregnancy. Those children are being dismembered."

The official Hansard transcripts of proceedings also quote O'Neil as saying on July 27, 1988: "It appears that there is widespread acceptance of the notion that a mother should have the right to control her body. There is no such right."

In 1985, O'Neil moved to introduce a bill to amend the Criminal Code to require that every unborn child be represented by legal counsel at therapeutic abortion committees across the country.

O'Neil declined through a court spokesman to be interviewed.

A spokeswoman for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said that O'Neil is well-qualified to serve on the bench.

"Political affiliation, contributions to political parties, charitable or advocacy groups, or personal beliefs should not be a bar to judicial appointment," said Genevieve Breton in an e-mailed response.

"Each and every of the 118 judicial appointments to the Canadian judiciary made by our government reflects the tangible embodiment of the principles of judicial appointments based on merit and legal excellence."
Merit, they say. That's an interesting word for it.