Thursday, August 26, 2004


This totally gobsmacked me.

Former comments-lurker at Coyne's blog SD started up her own blog a couple of weeks ago. Armed with "internet access and the ability to read", she checked up on Justice Minister Irwin Cotler's claims, unopposed by any major media I've seen, that constitutional change would be required to have Parliament confirm Supreme Court justices.

Now it's not surprising that a Liberal Cabinet minister is misleading the public about anything. But it is surprising to me that, constitutionally speaking, Canada does not have a judicial branch of government. I knew that the "executive" and "legislative" branches were functionally one and the same, but really:

The Supreme Court of Canada is a creature of Parliament, no different than the freaking CBC.

I find that jarring, something like finding out you're adopted. It doesn't make any difference to your day-to-day life, but it throws your perceptions out of whack.

Go see Shannon's post, and check her sources for yourself. (I didn't! This post may be deleted later!)

UPDATE (450PM): See more detail from SD in the Comments.


At 4:44 p.m., Blogger Shannon said...

" different from the freaking CBC." Wow, it's kind of scary when you put it that way.

There are actually provisions in the Constitution regarding how judges are appointed to the superior courts of the provinces, although they are very general (sections 96-100). I guess they didn't mention the SCC specifically in 1867 because back then the highest court of appeal for Canada was the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Britain. Not sure why they didn't do something about it when they repatriated the Constitution in 1982, though. (Maybe they couldn't agree on what to do?)

I'm not going to assume that Cotler is intending to mislead the public here -- I kind of figured either someone told him the wrong information, or he just assumed that it was in the Constitution. Or maybe I'm just wrong. But based on what's in the Supreme Court Act, what Cotler's saying just doesn't make sense to me.

By the way, thanks for adding me to your links, Jerry.


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