Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fixed election dates

Fixed elections dates? I'm not so such whether it's a great improvement. In 2007 a law was passed providing for fixed federal elections dates. I'm left wondering what the meaning of "dropping the writ" now means. It seems to have been relegated to a mere formality.

The fixed election date provision has pushed Canadian politics into near interminable election mode. We have already heard enough of mutual  trashing of each other's leaders, and the campaign has not even begun. I suppose most capital cities are fueled by gossip and rumor. Ottawa is no exception. All week long we have been subjected to the "news" that Mr. Harper might drop the writ on Sunday. Please, Mr. Harper, call the election already!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Appointing senators

Who appoints people to the Canadian senate? Many think the Prime Minister of the day appoints. This is not the case. The Canadian constitution is clear:
The Governor General shall from Time to Time, in the Queen's Name, by Instrument under the Great Seal of Canada, summon qualified Persons to the Senate; and, subject to the Provisions of this Act, every Person so summoned shall become and be a Member of the Senate and a Senator.
By convention, the Governor General appoints those whom the Prime Minister recommends. The Wikipedia page on the Prime Minister of Canada explains it well when it says:
As such, the prime minister, supported by the Office of the Prime Minister (PMO), controls the appointments of many key figures in Canada's system of governance, including the governor general, the Cabinet, justices of the Supreme Court, senators, heads of crown corporationsambassadors to foreign countries, the provincial lieutenant governors, and approximately 3,100 other positions.
Since last week we are now in a position where the Prime Minister has declared a moratorium on future senate appointments. Twenty-two of  the 105 seats are vacant, and it is the will of Mr. Harper that this number of vacancies should increase.

Mr. Harper wants to bring reform to the scandal-plagued senate, but the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) ruled that Ottawa cannot act alone to reform the senate, to limit terms, to appoint only elected senators ("Triple E Senate"), but must have the consent of seven provinces representing half the population of Canada to make any changes. Since Mr. Harper feels stymied by the SCC, he has declared his moratorium and has challenged the provinces to pick up the ball on senate reform, or it will be  death of attrition.

However, he seems to have forgotten that the appointment of senators is not within his constitutional powers to perform but within those of the Governor General as representative of the Queen. What should be done?

First we need to be clear on the constitutional fact that the senate is not to be allowed simply to die. The Governor General of the day, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, has the duty, according to the constitution, to make the government work, and part of that responsibility is the maintenance of a viable senate. If Mr. Harper will not recommend any people for Mr. Johnston to appoint, then Mr. Johnston, as the Queen's representative, has the obligation to act regardless. Surely he, upon good advice, can come up with the names of twenty-two noble Canadians to appoint as senators.

I do not hold this position because I am in favour of the present senate, which seems monstrously filled with people gleefully "entitled to their entitlements," but because people should perform the duties with which they are charged. The Governor General should not make himself complicit with Mr. Harper's hissy fit.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

The persecution against Christians continues -- within Canada!

From Ezra Levant:

Dear George,
The Ontario Divisional Court just issued its ruling in the case of Trinity Western University’s proposed law school.
As you know, anti-Christian bigots at the Law Society of Upper Canada voted to ban any graduates from that school from practicing law in Ontario — in advance, without even meeting them, without any complaints against them.
It is exactly what it looks like: keeping Christians out of the public square.
Trinity Western appealed that ruling, and our friend John Carpay from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms intervened to help. And hundreds of ordinary Canadians helped chip in to cover the costs.
Well, the Divisional Court sided with bigotry. Their ruling was laughable — you can read it here. They claimed they weren’t being anti-Christian — after all, Trinity Western University could still go ahead and operate a law school! It’s just that their graduates couldn’t work in Ontario. Here’s what they wrote, in paragraph 121:
If TWU wanted to operate its law school for purely religious purposes, it would be content to proceed with its view of the proper law school but with the full knowledge that its students would only be automatically eligible for membership in the Bar of some Provinces, while not of others. 
So the court is saying, they’re not against religious freedom. They’re not banning the school from teaching law students in a Christian environment. No sir! They’re just banning them from working — a totally different thing!
Imagine telling, say, Jewish medical school students they could still get a degree — so no discrimination! — but they just wouldn’t be allowed to work in any hospitals.
This is outrageous.
And do you see the self-reinforcing cycle here? Anti-Christian law society benchers ban Christian lawyers; that ban is upheld by anti-Christian judges. And so a Christian law school is banned — thus tilting the legal profession even more deeply against Christians.
I’m not even Christian myself — I’m Jewish. Maybe that’s why this makes me so mad. There is no difference to me between this anti-Christian bigotry in 2015, and the anti-Jewish quotas in some Canadian universities from 70 years ago.
As you know, we have committed to helping our friend John Carpay of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. Just last week, we sent him our latest cheques — totalling $12,000. Obviously this ruling must be appealed.
The court battle continues in British Columbia and Nova Scotia too — where Trinity Western had a great victory. So all is not lost.
This battle is going to go all the way to the Supreme Court. We’ve got to help make sure that John has the money to fight it all the way to the top. Will you please join with me in contributing to his costs to appeal this outrageous Ontario decision?
Please click here to help. As long as Trinity Western and John keep fighting for us, we’ve got to stand with them.
Yours truly,
Ezra Levant
P.S. Christians around the world are being physically attacked — especially in the Middle East. The least we can do is fight back against this legal persecution of Christians in Canada. Please click here to help.
P.P.S. Please forward this e-mail to all of your friends who care about religious liberty.