Sunday, November 25, 2007

A great Canadian died this weekend

Tip your hats and take a moment to remember the former Chief Justice of Canada, Antonio Lamer, who made a substantial contribution to our rights and freedoms as a pivotal member of the Supreme Court over a near 20 year period following the adoption of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The report linked to is a great summary of his career. There's an anecdote that is somewhat relevant given the Harper government's moves of late on the death penalty:
Often labelled by others as left-wing or interventionist, Lamer preferred the word libertarian to describe his style.

He drove the point home, in an interview marking his appointment as chief justice, by recalling the days before the abolition of capital punishment, when crowds would gather at Bordeaux Jail in Montreal to protest the executions carried out there.

"It's easy to be against the death penalty the night of a hanging," said Lamer. "But it's more difficult to be against the death penalty the night of a murder.

"The acid test is not to be a libertarian when it's popular. It's to be a libertarian when it's unpopular."
Isn't that the truth.