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Daniel Mol
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It is true and probably preferable that Canadians do not elect sheriffs, prosecutors and judges. It's polyannish to think, however, that our justice system is immune to political influence. If anything the American system forces officials to be public about their politics. In Canada the influence of politics is sometimes just as real, but kept entirely behind closed doors.
It's just as breathtaking that the learned judge immediately offered a "courtroom security" justification for what amounts to contempt of court and attempted obstruction of justice on the part of these officers.
I appreciate your considered comments, SDH, and yours too, Marnie. Trying to politically pigeonhole Jesus is a fool's errand - it is probably best to agree that His message transcends politics. My earlier connection to liberalism was meant to say, as I am convinced, that the coincidence of classical liberalism with the golden age of Christendom is no mean happenstance.
I'll add that I like Gareth's comment above that its unfortunate this matter went to litigation in the first place. It would have been nice to see a renewed political compromise. I know from reading Ms. Kashon's case comment that the province offered two possible compromises that the hutterites felt they couldn't accept.
Freedom of religion, Marnie, happens to be the very first freedom ennumerated in our Charter, and as freedom of religion goes, so go our other rights and freedoms. When I use the word 'liberal' I intend for it to connote "liberty" in the best traditions of the west; of Locke, Burke, Augustine and, indeed, St. Paul and the Christ himself. It is one thing for a mafia don to be seeking exemptions from the law of the land. But when such simple, productive and peaceable people as the Hutterites are forced to seek in vain exemptions from an unsympathetic state, it is not with them that the problem lies. I'll go a step further (though i'm sure Marnie is plenty riled by now) and say that in a liberal polity, the freedom of individuals to live as they choose has to be the primary consideration. That the Supreme Court ignored this in favour of solving what Russ correctly calls a 'hypothetical' administrative problem suggests nay screams out that for the Canadian state freedom is no longer the primary consideration.
I'm not certain it will make much difference to law enforcement. Imagine Cst. Friendly trying to prove identity in a courtroom full of Hutterites: "Er... it was a guy with a beard, black cap, dark jacket..."
"Herbivorous men"? Do you mean, as Ahhnold, Hanz, and Franz would say, "Girlie-men"?
Quite so, Marnie. If it is a step in the right direction it is only tentative. My first thought is that introducing lay judges is akin to mob rule, but it may be that the Japanese public are on the other side of the page completely from Canadians. That is to say that the Japanese are so fed up with the heavy handed exercise of coercive state power that public opinion might actually welcome the prospect of accused persons going free. If that's the case, lay judges would facilitate that.
The Texas State Legislature is authorizing police to use force to evacuate people holding out against hurricane evacuation orders. Looks like Ron Paul is in the wrong Leg when you need him! http://www.caller.com/news/2009/jul/26/police-can-use-force-compel-hurricane-evacuation/
The philosopher over the diplomat? The talker over the doer? I suppose you're both right to peg me as a kind of idealist - but only a humble country lawyer; no cosmopolitan aristocrat I. Neither was Augustine, however, and, as Iggy argues in The Lesser Evil (2004), just war principles permit pre-emptive and offensive war. Defensive wars are invariably lost wars.
But that isn't the whole story of modern American foreign policy. From at least 1941, what FDR called the "righteous might" of America has been employed to incredible benevolent effect. That's right, I'm saying that, on balance, America is an unparallelled force for GOOD in the world. The reconstruction of post war Europe, the defence of Canada and Western Europe throughout the Cold War, the defeat of fascism, red communism, and now the struggle against anti-western islamic terrorism, have all been financed and led by Washington. Without 50 years of American-gifted security, Canada and Europe could never have afforded their lavish welfare states. And so I might suggest that as Ignatieff said in Dublin, the profound anti-American and anti-Bush sentiment of this decade nearly past is myopic, misplaced, unbecoming, and just plain ugly. The jury is still out on Iraq, though it incredible that in 2009 that country is a nascent democratic, rule of law constitutional state that will never gas its minorities or invade its neighbors. That's a humanitarian record GW Bush can be proud of. Indeed, the Americans also deserve credit for pioneering and attempting to establish a new international norm of humanitarian intervention. Somalia and the Balkans are two recent examples. My point, simply, is that you are too shrill in your criticism of the US, GW Bush is not the devil incarnate, and Ignatieff is not out to lunch in his comments. All good wishes. Good night and a good sleep.
Typo is forgiven. Seems I have raised your ire. Ignatieff's point, which I embraced in my post, is that the Americans deserve credit for maintaining the capacity, and in many though not all cases, the will, to defend human rights at great cost. The secondary point is that Canada, for all the moralist tut-tutting of foreign ministers such as Axworthy, has at least since Pearson's premiership punched below its weight in foreign affairs, and in paying the cost of defending human rights. This is not to disparage unjustly Canada's very worthy contributions to UN peacekeeping missions or to the present struggle in Afghanistan. It is merely to point out that the (arguably prudent) decisions of successive Canadian governments to severely curtail spending on defence and foreign aid have left a gap between the rhetorical and the practical in Canadian foreign policy. What I would like to address, what concerned Ignatieff in 2005, and what I make bold to say animates your hostile reaction, is an ill informed disbelief in American altruism. After all, American intervention - deposing Mossadeq, interfering in Latin America, propping up Saddam, and the whole "our son of a bitch" approach - has arguably created more problems than it ever solved. And I grant that Abu Ghraib and Gitmo (small scale scandals) are shameful episodes.