As Nathan Lane sang in The Producers, “When you’re down and out and everyone thinks you’re finished that’s the time to stand on your two feet and shout ‘Who do you have to fuck to get a break in this town!”
Well, Prime Minister Harper and the stagehands in his cabinet must have been using the above statement as their mantra over the past few years when preparing to battle the Supreme Court. However, when “this town” is Ottawa whoever you have to fuck is neither the Supreme Court nor the Canadian people. For the 10th time in a row, Harper has taken the courts to court, as it were, and was more soundly trounced each time than Patrick Brazeau was by Justin Trudeau two years ago.
Most recently, the Federal Court has slammed the Conservative’s cuts to refugee health, calling them “cruel and unusual”. The one thing that can be said about the refugee cuts is that the conservatives are, at the very least, being fair. Not only are they cutting the funding of essential services to Canadians, but they are also cutting it for those that wish to become Canadian. It almost reeks of social equality―a twisted Tory type of social equality.
This follows a Supreme Court ruling that defends the creation of safe injection site clinics, and another that calls Canada’s prostitution laws under the Tories “unconstitutional”. There was also the ruling against mandatory minimums concerning gun laws, another against the Tories’ abolition of early parole …oh and of course the recent Marc Nadon debacle. All totaled, the score remains: the Courts – 10, Harper Conservatives – 0.
With such a streak, one would think that this government is subjecting Canadians to things that may be considered unfair and unjust, or perhaps even cruel, inhuman, medieval, and criminal. But, having been elected by 37.6% of voters (or only 25% of the eligible voting population) to a sweeping majority government where they hold 53% of the seats in the House of Commons, surely this government is doing what is best for Canada. It must be acting in our best interests, since we put them there, and they must certainly have a strong understanding of the Constitution.
Then again, perhaps they do not. We recall, in the heat of the Senate debacle, Harper’s nearly twenty-year-old promise of Senate reform suddenly resurfaced for the first time since 2008. He must have forgotten about it in the five years between 2008 and 2013… Seemingly out of desperation, Harper decided his government would try to reform—if not abolish—the Senate, in order to get this nasty mess out of the way by 2015 when he would have to face the polls again. There was an outcry from political scientists, Parliamentarians, Senators (the few who weren’t sunning themselves on a beach in Mexico), and those Canadians who believe that the Senate has the potential to do good. Harper swore he’d get reform through, but, to assure everyone that he was doing the right thing, he’d ask the Supreme Court. If only he had just read sections 38 to 42 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it would have saved him the shame when the Supreme Court gave him a flat out, “no!”
Perhaps the Constitution isn’t as familiar to the Conservative Party of Canada after all—at least, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms certainly isn’t. The above situations all revolve around Charter issues. For a party that advocates for the freedom of the people, and for a smaller government, they like to act an awful lot like “Big Brother” themselves. Fortunately, this Big Brother Harper has an even bigger brother— the Court system—to keep us proles safe from him, and the government.