Saturday, February 04, 2006

Angry on the Supreme Court

A second rate third branch

What has evolved in Canada though is the concentration of power, not into Parliament, but almost entirely into the Prime Minister's Office. That means one person, the Prime Minister, is selecting the cabinet, setting the legislative agenda, and appointing judges.

I selected those three examples because they touch on all three branches: the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary.

All in one person.

When Stephen Harper suggests introducing a process of parliamentary oversight and review of the selection of judges, he is trying to diffuse power. The downside for people like McLachlin is that she has to convince more than one person that she is right for the job as top judge. Under the current system, she only has to convince the prime minister, and the prime minister has already selected her, so there really isn't much to do.

Now she'll have to face a group of people, representing a range of views and attitudes about Canadian society, and convince the majority of them that she will be fair and even-handed in her application of the law.

She calls that politicizing the process.

I think "politicize" is what elitists say when they are faced with "democracy".

I wouldn't have thought that she'd be to happy with the idea of Stephen Harper picking the courts and would want as much input from Parliament (read: the other, more left-wing parties) as possible.