Thursday, August 14, 2008

When conservative ideologues attack...

Talk about inappropriate and dangerous: "Christian groups want SCOC chief justice removed." Harper's Canada continues to unfold in new and scintillating ways. The affiliates have gotten the message. The tone at the top says it's OK to attack and undermine the fundamental institutions of our democracy. Everything is on the table when the Prime Minister's own party expresses non-confidence in Elections Canada and counsels its own witnesses to ignore parliamentary summons'. It's not surprising then to see this latest development.
Conservative Christian groups smarting from abortion activist Henry Morgentaler's appointment to the Order of Canada have now filed a complaint against Supreme Court Justice Beverley McLachlin, demanding she be removed from her post over her role in the awarding of the honour.

Forty-two groups, businesses and one individual signed the letter of complaint against McLachlin which was submitted Wednesday to the Canadian Judicial Council, the body responsible for overseeing the conduct of federally appointed judges.

"In order to preserve the integrity of Canada's judicial system, we respectfully ask that you consider this complaint seriously, investigate Beverley McLachlin's inappropriate behaviour and recommend to Parliament that (she) be removed from office," said the letter, dated Aug. 12, and signed by groups ranging from Canadian Physicians for Life to the Right to Life Association of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Vancouver Jesus Agape Church. "The behaviour of (McLachlin) outside the courtroom on the (Order of Canada) advisory council has reduced respect for both her and the Canadian judiciary."
The judicial council is responding politely and professionally to the complaint. That's what civilized, rule of law abiding institutions do, even in the face of ideological assaults on their integrity. There is little chance, however, that the complaint will go anywhere. McLachlin, as noted in the report, is a neutral participant in the Order of Canada selections. And imagine the democracy we would be living in were religious groups able to remove judges at will, as these ones seek to do.

See also CC and JJ on this today.