We Canadians are paying a heavy toll for having voted the Liberal Party into power so many times over the course of the last century. The Liberal Party has, from its inception, been the party of opposition to the Confederation project that established our country, the Dominion of Canada, in 1867. It has neither confidence in nor respect for the constitutional, political, legal and judicial traditions and institutions that, adapted by the Fathers of Confederation for our own country, we inherited from Great Britain. It has encouraged and fostered the widespread ignorance of and apathy towards those traditions and institutions that is so appalling in Canada today.
A consequence, sadly, of that apathy is that books like Eugene Forsey’s The Royal Power of Dissolution of Parliament in the British Commonwealth (1) and John Farthing’s Freedom Wears a Crown (2)have been out of print for many years. Forsey’s abridged doctoral dissertation and Farthing’s posthumously edited masterpiece are both brilliant defences of our constitution of parliamentary monarchy which spell out the continuing importance of the reserve powers of the Crown for maintaining our traditional rights and freedoms and protecting us from the tyranny of the governing party and Prime Minister. These truths are needed today like never before.
In their arguments for the reserve powers of the Crown it was the right to refuse a recommendation for the dissolution of Parliament that Forsey and Farthing focused upon. The reason for this was historical. In 1926, William Lyon Mackenzie King, the Liberal Prime Minister who had clung to power after the last Dominion election despite having failed to win even a plurality through the support of a third party, was facing a vote of censure in Parliament over his government’s involvement in a customs scandal, asked for a dissolution. The Governor General, Lord Byng, quite properly turned him down. In the next election, Mackenzie King deceived the electorate with his entirely false claim that Byng had acted inappropriately, that his refusal amounted to imperial interference in Canadian domestic politics, and that he, Mackenzie King, was championing Canada’s sovereignty over its own domestic affairs. All of this was hogwash, and the real issue was that if the Prime Minister can obtain a dissolution just by asking in order to avoid the just censure of Parliament then he is no longer responsible to that Parliament or to anybody else. The Liberal interpretation of these events, Forsey and Farthing rightly argued, laid the foundation for autocratic Prime Ministerial tyranny.
The Crown also has the right, in extraordinary circumstances in which the sitting government has become an active threat to the rights and freedoms of Canadians and the laws protecting them, to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister. Over the course of this past week, the Prime Minister and several of his Cabinet, including his Justice Minister, have behaved in such a way as to make the exercise of this Crown power appropriate.
I am referring to their response to the acquittal of Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley who had been charged with second-degree murder over the death of Colten Boushie. Justin Trudeau and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould both responded to the acquittal by extending their sympathy to Boushie’s family and treating the verdict as an act of racial injustice – Boushie was an aboriginal youth. “We have to do better” they both said. Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Affairs tweeted that her thoughts and prayers were with the Boushie family and that “we all have more to do to improve justice & fairness for Indigenous Canadians.”
If the Prime Minister or any other Cabinet Minister sincerely wished to offer their condolences to the grieving Boushie family the time and occasion to do so would have been a year and a half ago after the shooting. To extend sympathy at this time, however, not over the death of a family member but over a jury verdict of not-guilty, is out-of-line. To do so is to disagree with the verdict and to say that the jury either made a mistake or made a bad decision out of malice. We are all free to disagree with jury verdicts but to do so publicly in this way is not the place of a government Minister.
Even worse was the government’s announcement later in the week that it was going to act on the ill-chosen words of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. Let us go over this again. A man was put on trial for murder and acquitted by a jury of his peers. The government says that it does not like the verdict. The government says that it is going to overhaul the legal system to correct what it does not like. There is no way that Trudeau and his Ministers can act on this that will not trample over some basic Canadian legal rights and undermine some of the most basic principles of our legal system.
One of those principles is that the burden of proof in a criminal case always rests upon the Crown prosecutor. This principle rests upon the foundation of the even more basic principle that it is better that many guilty people go unpunished than that a single innocent person be made to suffer unjustly. (3) Translated into the language of legal rights, this becomes the right of someone accused of a crime to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Included within this are the rights to confront his accuser face to face, to cross-examine and discredit his accuser, and to have the case decided, not by politically motivated government ministers, but by a jury of his peers. That is to say, a jury of the defendant’s peers, not the peers of his alleged victim. If a member of race A is accused of murdering a member of race B, this ought not to ensure that race B is represented on the jury but may indeed, be grounds for excluding them because of the likelihood of prejudice against the defendant.
All of this is potentially endangered by the Trudeau government’s shameless exploitation of this case. It was not that long ago that the progressive left was accusing the neoconservative Stephen Harper of “fascism” because he wished to limit a judge’s ability to hand down slap-on-the-wrist sentences for serious crimes. Note, however, and note well, that sentencing by a judge only takes place after a guilty verdict has been reached. It is the Trudeau Liberals, not the Harper Conservatives, who want to interfere in the verdict-reaching process so as to get the verdicts they desire. This is where true fascism lies.
Through his complete disrespect for the principles of our justice system and his willingness to discard them in order to virtue signal to his mindless, politically correct, base of Generation Snowflake social justice warriors, Justin Trudeau has forfeited his right to lead Her Majesty’s government in Ottawa. It is time for him to go.
(1) Eugene A. Forsey, The Royal Power of Dissolution of Parliament in the British Commonwealth, (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1943)
(2) John Farthing, Judith Robinson ed., Freedom Wears a Crown, (Toronto: Kingswood House, 1957)
(3) This is an ancient principle, drawing upon both Scriptural (Abraham negotiating the fate of Sodom in the book of Genesis) and classical authority (Socrates, at least as represented by Plato in the Gorgias, said “it is better to suffer an injustice than to commit one”). Of course the same Liberals who have encouraged apathy and ignorance of our country's political and legal traditions have encouraged the same towards Scriptural and classical learning. If more people were familiar with Aeschylus’s Oresteia they would appreciate better that trial by jury was designed to liberate man from the tribal vengeance mode of “justice” that those upset over the Stanley verdict are calling for. For an excellent critique of how Canada’s educational system has gone to pot through progressive liberalism, written just as the rot was first setting in, see Hilda Neatby’s So Little For the Mind: An Indictment of Canadian Education, (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin and Company Ltd, 1953)
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