Today's discussion:

Supreme Court judge warns about judicial overreach

The Runnymede Society's 2024 keynote lecture was delivered by Supreme Court Justice Malcolm Rowe. In it, he discussed the dangers inherent to activist judges undermining our democratic institutions in their attempts to shape public policy.

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The Hub Staff

In this Hub Exclusive, Justice Malcolm Rowe argues for political pragmatism as a guiding principle; what are your thoughts on his points?

6th February 2024 at 7:15 am
A. Chezzi

Let’s keep Canada a caring society. A caring society respects individual rights but acknowledges that there are times when those rights must be curtailed for the common good. Individual rights are strong only when the community is strong. There is no such thing as a self made person. . We all stand on the shoulders of people who came before us and forged a strong society. People who protest against government intervention have that right because we agree upon it as a society. but there are times when a government must intervene to protect society and rights. Even Danielle Smith says as much. There are times when governments must infringe upon our rights for the well being of society and when the crisis is past, restore those rights. There can be no caring Canada without the protection of individual rights and without the ability of government to intervene when there is a crisis.

6th February 2024 at 8:40 am
Al Raftis

Thanks to the judge for putting this out to the public via the Hub!

“We should not tell ourselves comforting fairy tales, just as we should avoid empty negative rhetoric.”
How can one disagree with this statement. The interesting question is how we get there from today’s divisive culture. Our politics are so messed up at the moment and out main party leaders literally are on the border of hate toward each other. Empty negative rhetoric is the norm in our politics and too few citizens are willing to out in the time to be educated politically. We lack leadership – and it will be difficult to attract good talent from the private sector into politics given the nature of the job.

“Rather, we should seek to live in an inclusive and fair society, while being practical and realistic.”
An excellent goal for our society. Some challenges include:
“inclusive” often means excluding existing traditions. Those being included need to be sensitive to the needs of others as well.
“fair” requires folks to be willing to compromise and come to mutually agreed fairness
“practical” I love it but wonder if there is anything close to an understanding of the word
“realistic” another word very overused and misunderstood.

Having said that – lets all try to do our best to live up to this statement.

6th February 2024 at 8:03 am
Michael F

We have a significant problem when we have the leader of the opposition posing for photos with people wearing ‘Straight Pride’ shirts and brings coffee to protesters that blockaded a city over conspiracy theories.

6th February 2024 at 10:58 am
Lauraine

Party politics have caused the level of intelligence to drop off the cliff in legislatures across the country. No one person should be allowed to stand for political office without a minimum of 2 years post secondary education which includes a full year of civics training. What successful corporation would put uneducated clueless members on their boards? They must also have served the community for at least 3 years, so they understand their job is that of service.

6th February 2024 at 3:34 pm
Michael F

Politics has become a game of playing to one’s base supporters and trying to increase the size of that base. Developing that strong base of support means the money keeps flowing and politics runs on money. Look to the US and how big money has warped their democracy.

And the conservatives in Canada have shifted their base of support from small c moderate conservatives to a more right wing fringe element of social as well as fiscal conservatives. Even people who would drift near libertarian ideas.

When Poilievre plays to his base it is at the expense of others in society. This sort of grievance politics is very divisive but is good at raising money and getting people engaged. Danielle Smith uses this style as well and the latest iteration of it is her recent policy announcements this week.

Moderation just doesn’t make money and fire up the base. And this is a huge problem for our democracy.

6th February 2024 at 11:08 am
Paul Attics

Our first-past-the-post, winner-take-all electoral system seems to dis-incentivize “political pragmatism” when unearned legislative majorities result.

6th February 2024 at 9:29 am
Richard Courtemanche

Quite right and more susceptible when judges are elected by a corrupt government. Much disregarded criminality in political leadership. Justice is no place for politics or activism, equal and honest justice for all.

6th February 2024 at 12:18 pm
lauraine

judges are not elected in canada. get it right.

6th February 2024 at 3:28 pm
Paul Attics

“Political pragmatism”, meaning willingness of elected officials to seek and find compromise (fair definition?), should certainly being a guiding principle for our governments. There are many factors in 2024 that make this more difficult (just look to the south to see how bad it can get).

The judiciary should not be in the business doing anything more than interpreting the law as written IMO, not expanding the meaning and/or scope based on the context of the present moment and/or desires of highly motivated specific constituencies, even if the outcome might be deemed fairer, or even, more just.

Even judges are human beings, and as such, should be as non-political as possible, generally, as well as un-invested in outcomes other than a straight interpretation of the laws. Want more justice?, then convince the politicians to create more just legislation. If “political pragmatism” is the norm, this will happen, although not as fast a many may want.

I hope the view that “liberal democracy is not a manifestation of freedom. Rather, it is an instrument of repression” is a fringe belief in Canada. If not, perhaps this is just one more way that I am naïve…

6th February 2024 at 9:26 am
Martin VanDyk

Erosion of necessity, validity and objectivity is occurring in Canada. Citizen silence screams permission directs us to the great loss.

6th February 2024 at 9:34 am
Paul Attics

Random sentence generator?

6th February 2024 at 9:38 am