Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Harper’

Cartoon: Flog Harper, Tweet Wheat

April 22, 2015

AET37CWB1

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Good idea, Stephen

April 1, 2015

1Heinous criminal Screenshot from Edfast.caThe Conservative Party of Canada has posted this image that identifies the problem. Yes. Maybe having the Prime Minister’s photo above the caption implies Freudian slippage.

 

Dear Mr. Harper, apologize

March 26, 2015

Respect. He wants respect, but is unwilling to respect others. He disgraces the values of Canadians. And Stephen Harper should apologize. #PMapologize

Screenshot from 2015-03-26 Conservative.ca

Cartoon: Harper’s Human Rites

March 10, 2015

AET10Harper1Too busy

Judicial Cynicism, Or Why Canada’s Chief Justice Should Retire

May 11, 2014
Image

Canada’s Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin

by Jack Locke

The recent Supreme Court of Canada chief kerfuffle, or Chief Justice hoo-hah, whichever way one prefers to describe the scandal over an errant phone call to Justice Minister Peter McKay—who acted as apparatchik to Prime Minister Stephen Harper—is one of those rare instances where ordinary taxpaying Canadians get a slight insight into the closed door machinations of power.

When judges and politicians schmooze, it demonstrates a repugnant aspect of Canadian law, an example of back-room consultations, trial fixings, that only brings the judiciary into disrepute and for me it brings back déjà vu.

There can be nothing worse than justice perverted, yet, it is the risk one takes when one enters the cauldron of jurists. Plaintiffs beware.

The year was 1993. It had taken me four years to come to trial on a matter that was simple: a little challenge to a City of Calgary by-law. After slogging my way through Alberta courts, from the Court of Queen’s Bench up to the Court of Appeal and then back to the C of QB, I was granted the right to have my day in court. But the signs blowing through the corridors of judicialdom were dark and ominous.

Ten days before trial, the city’s capable barrister Cunningham called me up.

Jack, he said, if we cannot agree on a procedural matter we will have to go before Justice Montgomery. The memory of his words stick to my ears as if said yesterday.

Justice Who? I enquired.

Justice Montgomery, he replied.

Who’s that? I asked.

You know, the judge who will be the trial judge. You knew that, didn’t you?

No, I did not, I informed him sternly.

I had tried to find out who the trial judge would be in advance so that I could prepare for the particular perspective of the courtroom maven. But I was informed it would be inappropriate to disclose in advance who the trial judge would be. Right, I concluded, the courts must be fair.

I then asked Cunningham, How did you find out?

Someone in our office left me a note, he said sheepishly.

Oh, I see, I gulped, realizing that the city had an “in” into the inner workings of the courthouse. Nice. And maybe, just maybe, that staff member who left the note for my adversary may have been in communication with Justice Montgomery, I surmised to myself. It was with this as a preface that I headed into battle that would become a seven day trial.

So, when I hear that the Chief Justice of Canada has communications with the Minister of Justice, or the Prime Minister, I am not surprised—but I am disgusted by it. I am equally disgusted by the follow-up displays of pseudo-righteousness that attempt to hide the dishonesty that floats through the phone lines between the Supreme Court and the House of Commons.

This past week I attended an event in Montreal, where McGill University’s Dean of Law Daniel Jutras occupied the first ten minutes of the event in an effort to persuade high school students and their families that the shenanigans in Ottawa were not improper and that only politicians should be reprimanded for suggesting inappropriateness by the Chief Justice. Why should a dean of law get involved in squabbling amongst the high-polloi? The association of law deans, of whom Jutras heads, sent out a press release in support of the Chief Justice. They wanted to assure Canadians that we commoners must maintain confidence in our broken system of justice.

I don’t recall Jutras disclosing, in either the press release nor at the high school moot court that he has a fairly close relationship to the Chief Justice himself. I must have missed that part of his diatribe against the Prime Minister.

In closing, it confirms my long-held belief that there is no rule of law in Canada, just a group of carpetbaggers who run the show for their own profit and interests.

 

Explaining the Lac Megantic Tragedy

April 5, 2014

The Railway Safety Act was changed in 2012. Can you see why the Lac Megantic tragedy occurred?

CURRENT RAILWAY SAFETY ACT

Objectives

3. The objectives of this Act are to

  • (a) promote and provide for the safety and security of the public and personnel, and the protection of property and the environment, in railway operations;

  • (b) encourage the collaboration and participation of interested parties in improving railway safety and security;

  • (c) recognize the responsibility of companies to demonstrate, by using safety management systems and other means at their disposal, that they continuously manage risks related to safety matters; and

  • (d) facilitate a modern, flexible and efficient regulatory scheme that will ensure the continuing enhancement of railway safety and security.

PREVIOUS RAILWAY SAFETY ACT

Objectives

3. The objectives of this Act are to

  • (a) promote and provide for the safety of the public and personnel, and the protection of property and the environment, in the operation of railways;

  • (b) encourage the collaboration and participation of interested parties in improving railway safety;

  • (c) recognize the responsibility of railway companies in ensuring the safety of their operations; and

  • (d) facilitate a modern, flexible and efficient regulatory scheme that will ensure the continuing enhancement of railway safety.

 

When Harper Absconds to Peru

May 22, 2013

When Harper absconds to Peru
You know Stephen’s got himself in a stew
Quack, quack he clucks
Then on a jet he ducks
But upon his return there’ll be barbecue.

You’re Never Too Old To Skate, Old Man

February 18, 2013

a poem in honour of the Prime Minister’s book on hockey

Prime Minister Stephen  Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

You’re never too old to skate, old man
Unless your blood curdles cold as ice
Like any law, all it takes is a plan.

A hockey rink remains an open span
Waiting for you and your blades to slice
You’re never too old to skate, old man.

On your cereal add a sprinkle of bran
That is my constitutional advice
Like any law, all it takes is a plan.

With a few strides you’ll glide like Peter Pan
With practice you’ll finesse quite nice
You’re never too old to skate, old man.

RE: Hockey. Canada hasn’t yet imposed a ban
Because every action carries a price
Like any law, all it takes is a plan.

So get off your butt monsieur, if you can
Too much Parliamentary sitting is a vice
You’re never too old to skate, old man
Like any law, all it takes is a plan.

Harper Courts the Court

February 1, 2013

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Harper point men for Senate reform, Tim Uppal, MP, and Senator Claude Carignan.

It didn’t take long for the Harper Conservatives to connect the dots–you just have to follow the money trail.

Late last year, the government of Canada passed Bill C-45 which, amongst many other things, granted a $71,000 raise to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. This brought Beverley McLachlin’s salary up to $370,300.  Obviously, she must be a little grateful. I would be.

Lo and behold, the government is now asking for a return favour, I mean opinion. Today the “Harper Government” announced they would refer a question to the Supreme Court  for an opinion on Senate reform.

“Should a favourable opinion be received from the Supreme Court, the Government intends to continue to pursue the passage of the Senate Reform Act,” notes the government’s press release.

And in accordance with the Court’s opinion, the Senate will have to approve any legislation which the House of Commons might approve. So stack the deck, the upper house, before you let the first ball be pitched.

Open letter to the Government of Canada

March 1, 2012

RE: Canadian Ronald Smith on Montana’s Death Row

    Guilty pleas must be knowing and voluntary. Smith’s fateful decision to plead guilty and seek the death penalty was neither. At the time of the arraignment, he was deeply depressed because he had been in solitary confinement for some time and subjected to harsh living conditions. He had received deaths threats from Native American inmates and believed that he would be killed in prison. Most importantly, his attorney was manifestly ineffective,” wrote Judge Betty B. Fletcher of the US Court of Appeal, Ninth Circuit, regarding the pre-trial circumstances of Ron Smith.

    When Ron Smith was convicted by Judge Michael Keedy in 1982, I was a young man in Calgary. I knew there was something wrong with the reports I was reading in the Calgary Herald. Something did not make sense. So I dug a little deeper. I wrote letters to Smith, but he was not particularly open. So I drove down to Kalispell, Montana and met with trial Judge Keedy.

    Judge Keedy was most open. We met in his office and he told me why he sentenced Smith to death. He would not accept Smith’s plea, unless Smith testified against himself. I was shocked by what he disclosed. He encouraged Smith to commit suicide.

    It all goes back to Smith’s treatment before he plead guilty. The Canadian consulate did not rush to Smith’s aid to ensure his legal rights were protected. Again, it was 1982 and Montana was not easily reached by consulate staff. As a result, Smith made a regrettable decision: to plead guilty and request the death penalty. Judge Fletcher’s single paragraph explains why.

    Her full opinion can be read HERE .

    Mitigating factors were not introduced at the sentencing hearing, and Smith got his wish–at least that was his wish at the time. Without the protection of legal counsel, without the protection of consulate services, Smith did something not wise.

    Regardless how repugnant Smith’s acts may have been, under our system of justice, and American justice, a man deserves a fair hearing. That is a foundation of justice. The American courts have not come to this conclusion, sadly.

    Thus, it is imperative that the Government of Canada intervene in a proactive way to ensure the life of Canadian Ron Smith is spared. My only interest in this is to see that Smith receive the benefit of fairness. I am sure this is a value you also embrace.

    I thank you for your time and I would appreciate being apprised of what the Canadian Government is, and has recently done, in respect of Smith’s case.

    Sincerely,

    Jack Locke