The last time I wrote the Bouillon Weekly, the theme seemed to be centred primarily around the mass conflicts across various areas of the globe. However, in a time where the Ukraine, Venezuela, and Russia seem to continuously dominate headlines, the politics at home in Canada and Quebec still manage to intrigue.
Federally, the Harper government was dealt a shocking blow against its ongoing movement to paint the bench blue, as Marc Nadon’s Supreme Court Appointment was ruled constitutionally illegitimate. The decision put an end to a sordid chapter of unprecedented Supreme Court controversy that was entirely the fault of the Harper government. Conservative Justice Minister Peter McKay himself acknowledged that Federal Court judges are constitutionally excluded by the Supreme Court Act, out of respect for provincial representation. Despite this, they nonetheless attempted to instil Nadon, a Federal judge, by ramming amendments pertaining to Federal judge eligibility into a budget bill. The Supreme Court deemed that this attempt by parliament to alter the rules without constitutional amendment was beyond the scope of their powers.
Beyond the flawed process of nomination however, lies a large issue with the qualifications or distinct lack thereof that Marc Nadon had. Nadon was being called to the bench to replace the retired Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish of Quebec. Justice Fish was a well renowned expert in the field of Criminal Law, and hailed from the Quebec Court of Appeal. Nadon on the other hand was a semi-retired Federal judge who had a largely unremarkable career in the law and academics. Indeed, McGill law Professor Robert Leckey remarked ““[Nadon was on] nobody’s short list,” and added that he was not even sure he was “on anybody’s long list” for consideration to the highest court. Nadon caught the attention of Harper however, with his dissent in the Omar Khadr case- where he refused to have the court repatriate the Guantanamo Bay prisoner and decried activist judges interfering with executive branch mandates. This indicates that this otherwise entirely undistinguished, semi-retired justice who had not actually practiced law in Quebec since the 1990s had been appointed as a blindly partisan selection to impede judicial activism prosolution size calculator on the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court’s rejection of a Prime Minister’s appointment was completely unprecedented, but necessary in order to protect the interests of the provinces, the well-being of Canadians, and the integrity of the law itself. This only casts further doubt on Harper’s judicial record, where provinces have complained on not being informed during the vetting process, and five out of six Supreme Court appointments made by him have been men.
In Quebec, the provincial election has continued to galvanize Quebecers, with the issue of a potential referendum under Pauline Marois sharing more of the media spotlight than is perhaps warranted, given Quebec’s many issues in health care, economy, and infrastructure among others. On the other hand, the separatism debate made for some pretty gripping action during the leader’s debate on Thursday (where @ThePoliBouillon was in attendance, be sure to check out what our live feed had to say). While there will be another debate en francais March 27th, many among Quebec’s large anglophone minority have been left wanting for a debate that they can fully comprehend- McGill’s Ronny Al-Nosir analyzes this issue further.
While the attention this week has deservedly gone towards issues in Canadian politics, our neighbours south of the border continue to debate a myriad of issues. Some have decried the recent cuts made by the Obama administration to the United States military (although it spends more on defence than the next 13 countries combined). Adam Templar investigates the potential ramifications of this in a well researched piece. As a highly dominant and influential Western state, America has cast its shadow over many other countries where their cultural and political messages loom large. Michael Swistara explored the cultural exports of the United States by examining the effect it has had on its descendant and ally across the pond, the United Kingdom.
That’s all for now- stay tuned this week for new content, and check out our Instgram and Twitter accounts where we’ve been personally on hand for David Suzuki, Hilary Clinton, and the Quebec leader’s debate in the past two weeks.
– Eli Vincent Zivot, Co-Editor in Chief