Harper Missed The Boat

The list of Conservative losses at the Supreme Court is long and famous: Nadon, assisted suicide, prostitution, mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes, Senate reform.
The list of Conservative losses at the Supreme Court is long and famous: Nadon, assisted suicide, prostitution, mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes, Senate reform.

When Stephen Harper appointed Richard Wagner to the Supreme Court in 2012, the media described him as a “small-C conservative.” He was the son of Claude Wagner, they noted, who was at one time Quebec premier Robert Bourassa’s “tough … law-and-order attorney general,” and at another time a Tory MP who narrowly lost the party’s 1976 leadership race to Joe Clark. (They also noted he is a man, which temporarily threw the nine-member court’s gender parity out of whack.)

At Wagner’s hearing before MPs, the Toronto Star reported, he “drew a clear line between the work of judges, which he said is to interpret laws, and that of parliamentarians, which is to make laws” — something for conservatives to cheer, perhaps, and perhaps something for liberals to fear. Progressive Canadians place much stock in the courts’ guidance on Charter issues, and in recent years that guidance has been music to their ears — on same-sex marriage, prostitution and many other issues. But Wagner also made clear that, like most Canadian jurists, he sees the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as a living, breathing document, not one frozen in amber.

That wasn’t such good news for conservatives. There hasn’t been much good news for conservatives at the Supreme Court in a long time.

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Jack Davies
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I just put a note up at Facebook regarding this entry.  It has long bothered me that Harper, throughout a ten year period of being “Boss” never bothered to try and change the courts.  In my view that was the biggest mistake he ever made and it’s nice to see that Trump is all over it in his first year. If I didn’t know better I would suspect that Harper, advising him, is telling him to change what he can…and this he can.  The most important thing he can do as President.  A legacy if you will which Harper failed… Read more »