Judicial activism in Canada: Charter fights | The Economist

The Economist’s take on the judicial difficulties of the Government:

Yet the government itself, not meddling judges, may be more to blame. Edgar Schmidt, a former lawyer in the justice department, is suing the government for not subjecting proposed legislation to sufficiently rigorous scrutiny to see if it conforms to the constitution prior to presenting it to parliament. Simon Potter, a former head of the Canadian Bar Association, cited Mr Schmidt’s points in a speech to the association last month in which he accused the government of not doing enough to defend the charter and of fostering disrespect for the judiciary. If Mr Schmidt’s allegations are correct, says Mr Potter, “the executive has decided to take as many freedoms away from us as possible, rather than as few as possible”. He is dismayed that there is more legislation in the pipeline that looks ripe for charter challenges.

One step this government is not prepared to take is to revoke the charter itself. It would involve lengthy, arduous and potentially inconclusive constitutional negotiations with the provinces. More importantly, even the government’s own surveys show the charter is hugely popular with the majority of Canadians. When it asked Canadians to suggest the people and feats they want celebrated in 2017, the country’s 150th birthday, Medicare, peacekeeping and the charter of rights and freedoms were the top three accomplishments. Pierre Trudeau, the former Liberal prime minister who brought in the charter, was the most inspiring Canadian.

Judicial activism in Canada: Charter fights | The Economist.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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