Unashamed racial discrimination in the name of equality. Judges refusing to hear scientific evidence and basing life-altering rulings on mere assumptions. Public institutions brazenly claiming to be above the law – and courts agreeing. Jurists upending unambiguous constitutional provisions. Public intellectuals enduring professional misconduct investigations for the crime of applying their intellect. Professionals punished for exercising independent judgment. Bruce Pardy surveys the descent of Canada’s legal system into Alice-in-Wonderland surrealism, a state that poses dangers to virtually every Canadian and to the future of the rule of law itself.
Late last month former Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford launched a lawsuit to challenge the federal proof-of-Covid-19-vaccine requirement for air travel. Peckford, the last surviving political architect of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, said that governments are ignoring the Charter with their pandemic rules and creating a constitutional crisis. If anything, that understates the trouble Canada is in. Bruce Pardy provides a bracing evaluation of how the Charter actually operates in an era of expansive government and imaginative jurists.
How do you make new laws and policies or reform old ones in a democracy? You talk openly about every aspect, carefully consider the pros and cons and the long-term implications, and strive to come up with solutions that are fair to everyone. That has been the ideal, anyway, in Canada since Confederation. So what happens when vast areas of law and policy cannot even be discussed any longer? Bruce Pardy lists the things that have become perilous to say regarding Indigenous issues – but that need to be said if Canada is to maintain a legal system that is fair to all Canadians.