What have the Province of Ontario and the State of Israel in common? They have political leaders who want to rewrite the law. They want to be the law. Neither Israeli president Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu nor Ontario premier Doug Ford are lawyers but that does not stop them from trying.
In Israel, the right-wing president and his Likud Party are trying to tear down a famously fair supreme court and enable the government of the day to over-rule the court of law. In Ontario, it has to be a simpler proposition—since Ontario can be overruled by Ottawa. The change in Ontario is how you pick your senior judges.
But Canadians have seen the problems that causes in the United States. When a long-time conservative ward-healer such as attorney general Doug Downey asks for longer lists of prospective choices for senior judicial appointments, you are not too sure if he is looking in the longer lists for like-minded appointees. It is as though he is inferring that a conservative, such as himself, would be unlikely to be included in a shorter listing.
What the Netanyahu government has caused is many weeks now of massive demonstrations against the government plans. Israelis are not reluctant to show their dissatisfaction with their government.
But Canada is a country of law. Our judicial appointments are a largely impartial process. It has to be when the judiciary have the power to force changes in the law. Just look at the mess the United States is in with the canceling of the ‘Roe vs Wade’ ruling by a partisan supreme court. Individual states in America are once again making their own rules on abortion.
What Doug Ford has experienced is impartial courts that can even overturn a “not withstanding” clause in a provincial law, to get around Canada’s constitution, when the clause is used improperly in Ontario laws. The problem is, in Ontario, Doug Ford wants to be ‘The Boss.”
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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