Skip to comments.The Death of Canadian Democracy and the Birth of Judicial Unilateralism.
Posted on 01/03/2004 12:58:40 PM PST by em2vn
The Death of Canadian Democracy and the Birth of Judicial Unilateralism Pete Vere and John Pacheco
As Canadian university students during the early 90's, the current authors survived the failure of the Meech Lake Accord. The purpose of this constitutional accord had been to accommodate Quebec as a distinct society within Canada. In the aftermath of this failed referendum, we witnessed a divided country, the near-extinction of Canadas oldest political party, and the re-birth of a nearly successful Quebec separatist movement. Never could we imaging that we would live through another event that so affected the psyche of our nation. And yet, for the American reader, this blow to the psyche of Canadian social conservatism is precisely what happened recently. As reported in the July 10th edition of LifeSiteNews.com, The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled this morning that homosexual 'marriage' is now a right guaranteed by the Charter of Rights, and thus re-wrote Canadian law on the matter. The court rendered invalid the existing definition of marriage to the extent that it refers to one man and one woman and reformulated the definition of marriage as the voluntary union for life of two persons to the exclusion of all others. The justices ordered their redefinition of marriage to have immediate effect.
Not surprisingly, within days of this ruling Canadas Prime Minister provided the following sterile reaction: "We will not be appealing the recent decision on the definition on marriage, rather we will be proposing legislation, Jean Chretien stated, we will ensure that our legislation includes and legally recognize the union of same-sex couples. As soon as the legislation is drafted it will be referred to the Supreme Court."
Thus the Ontario Court of Appeals, through judicial fiat, legalized so-called same-sex marriage. And as the shock sets in, Canada once again finds itself transformed from a generally relaxed and polite people into an angry and divided nation. America may share in many of our social ills - rampant divorce and abortion come to mind - but at least she still fights the culture war. Canadians, on the hand, have all but surrendered to the pan-sexualist social agenda of our judicial activists. Unfortunately, most elected Canadian politicians are content to allow the judiciary to usurp parliaments legislative power. For if a controversial ruling come from the courts, then the average Canadian is less likely to take out his frustration at the ballot box. This allows Canadas politicians to have their cake and eat it too.
Yet despite the fact our beloved Maple Leaf now symbolizes Canadas role as the red light district of the global village, the problem does not cease at the Canadian border. Ontario lacks any residency requirement for issuing marriage licenses, therefore this same judiciary will marry homosexual couples from other countries as well. Less than a month after the Ontario Court ruling, over 300 same-sex couples have already entered into civil marriages in Canada. Mainstream Canadian news agencies report anywhere between ten to twenty percent of these couples are Americans who crossed the border to take advantage of the Canadian situation. This is rather shameful considering that just a few months previous to the Ontario Court ruling, the Canadian government had voiced strong opposition to American and British unilateralism in the Iraqi War. Regardless of ones feelings toward the war, however, such unilateralism cannot even begin to compare with Canadas present unilateralism in attempting to redefine an institution that almost every nation throughout time has accepted as an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman. In fact, the present authors consider the unilateral arrogance of our Canadian judiciary second only to the unilateral cowardice of our elected officials in refusing to defend their legislative role within the Canadian government. Yet returning to our original point, Canada now finds itself exporting its new definition of marriage without first having consulted the international community.
While these same-sex marriages currently have no standing in the United States, Americans should anticipate a number of court-challenges in coming months as the homosexual lobby seeks to advance its agenda south of the border. Despite the fact that marriage predates both Church and State, and despite the fact that just a few years ago the Canadian House of Commons - reflecting the will of the vast majority of Canadians - opposed extending the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, in the battle between the Culture of Life and the culture of death, the homosexual lobby has discovered their greatest ally among an activist judiciary.
Fr. Alphonse de Valk is the founder and publisher of Catholic Insight. This monthly magazine chronicles the culture war in Canada from the Catholic moral perspective. Archived at www.CatholicInsight.com one finds numerous responses to recent court cases where, in the name of sexual pluralism, judicial activism among the Canadian courts has seriously undermined the democratic process, religious freedom, and the Culture of Life. For example, Marc Hall attended a Catholic high-school in Oshawa, Ontario. Marc invited his boyfriend to the prom. In keeping with the traditional principles of Catholic moral theology, the Catholic school board prohibited Hall from bringing the boyfriend to the graduation dance. Constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion came to naught as the civil courts ruled that the Catholic school had discriminated against the rights of Marc Hall.
On June 15th, 2001, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Board of Inquiry fined Hugh Owens, an evangelical Protestant, and the Saskatoon Star Phoenix $1500 for violating the equality rights of three gay men. Mr. Owens crime? He expressed his opinion on gay and lesbians sex through an advertisement in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. This advertisement consisted of a pictograph of two men holding hands superimposed with a circle and slash- the symbol of something forbidden-and a list of Bible verses condemning the practice of homosexuality. While Mr. Owens is currently appealing this ruling, if he loses and still refuses to comply with the Board of Inquiry, he will potentially find himself charged with contempt of court. If convicted, he will likely find himself consigned to jail as the first prisoner of conscience in the war between sexual plurism and religious plurism.
Yet such cases are not confined to the Province of Saskatchewan, which is currently governed by the New Democrat Party (NDP) - Canadas main socialist party. Over in Ontario, where the Progressive Conservative Party is in power, Scott Brockie is the conscientious born-again Christian owner of a Toronto print shop. After refusing a request from gay rights activist Ray Brilliger to print material for the Canadian Lesbians and Gay Archives, Mr. Brockie found himself hauled before the Ontario Human Rights Board of Inquiry - the Ontario counterpart to the Saskatchewan board that had fined Hugh Owens $1500.
One would think that a quasi-judicial apparatus operating under the aegis of a conservative government would be more sensitive to judicial encroachment on religious freedom than its counterpart operating under a socialist government. But such is not the case in Canada. Thus the Ontario Human Rights Board of Inquiry ordered Mr. Brockie to pay $5000 in damages to Ray Brilliger. While Heather McNaughton, the adjudicator assigned to this case, acknowledged the sincerity of Mr. Brockies religious convictions in her ruling dated February 24th, 2000, she nevertheless stated: In fact nothing in my order will prevent Brockie from continuing to hold and practice his religious beliefs. Brockie remains free to hold his religious beliefs and to practice them in his Christian community. Mr. Brockie is appealing this ruling, but it is not inconceivable that he too may find himself joining Mr. Owens as a prisoner of conscience in Canadas culture war.
As Canada moves to legalize same-sex marriage across the nation, these aforementioned examples of the Canadian judiciary suppressing the right to act upon ones religious conviction now loom in the mind of every Canadian religious and social conservative. Again, Catholic Insight finds itself raising a number of troubling questions at the forefront of the debate. When asked about his stance on same-sex marriage, the Canadian Prime Minister reportedly replied: It is religion that is the problem. And while the Prime Minister has subsequently reassured religious entities in Canada that they will be exempt under proposed federal legislation recognizing same-sex marriage, the question remains for how long?
As the aforementioned cases show, Canadas current judicial culture basically upholds a doctrine of religious freedom in which an individual possesses the right to believe what he wants, so long as this belief is never communicated in public or put into practice. Additionally, when for all practical purposes the law is legislated by activist courts rather than elected members of parliament, how much confidence can religious and social conservatives place in the word of our highest elected official? Especially when Canadians are notoriously complacent when it comes to politics. Can religious and social conservatives seriously trust a Prime Minister whose entire political legacy intertwined with his failure to hold judges to their traditional role as arbiters of law rather than as makers of law?
Already, Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary and Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe of Sault Ste. Marie have come under fire from Canadas homosexual lobby. As the August 5th edition of LifeSiteNews.com reports, Calgary Bishop Fred Henry has not been daunted by politicians and newspapers attacking him as a hatemonger and worse for his clear defence of Catholic teaching on homosexuality and his daring to call to account Prime Minister Jean Chretien who calls himself 'Catholic'...The Bishop also noted that he would refuse Chretien communion. Given his status, if the prime minister were to come to Calgary and line up for communion in the ranks at the cathedral and I were the celebrant I would probably refuse him and give him a simple blessing. I don't want to embarrass anyone publicly but at present he is not in communion with the church. I don't intend to threaten the prime minister but I think his eternal salvation is at risk and I pray he experiences some kind of conversion and enlightenment and mend his ways. This was merely a repetition of Bishop Henrys comments during the previous month, when the Bishop had warned the Prime Minister that in supporting same-sex marriage, Canadas highest elected official was endangering his salvation.
As to be expected, a number of Catholic politicians balked at the forcefulness of Bishop Henrys statements. Several appealed to the notion of separation between Church and State. In the August 1st edition of the Globe and Mail, one of Canadas largest national newspapers, Kim Lunman and Campbell Clark reported the reply of at least one bishop. "I don't think a man can allow himself to be divided by his convictions," the Globe and Mail quotes Bishop Plouffe as having said. "A politician cannot be totally schizophrenic. If he is, he is not being real [...] I would expect a Catholic politician would not push away his Catholic convictions because he's a politician. I would expect him to be authentic. Most Catholic commentators who follow Canadas ecclesiastical politics would describe Bishop Plouffe as a moderate progressive. He is hardly an icon of Canadas religious right..
And yet, according to the same Globe and Mail article, The comments by Roman Catholic Church leaders have angered gay-rights activists and other religious groups. It's just appalling, said Michael Leshner, who legally wed his partner, Michael Stark, in Toronto in June, Canada's first same-sex marriage. It's sickening, it's obnoxious and it's got to stop. [...] He accused the Catholic church of preaching religious intolerance, adding, The Charter of Rights trumps the Bible.
Let us set aside for Mr. Leshners arrogance in asserting a sexual legal positivism over the wisdom and tradition of the Natural Law. While some might dismiss Mr. Leshners threats as empty, the present authors cannot share this optimism. After all, Mr. Leshner is a Crown Attorney, which is the equivalent to a District Attorney in Canadas judicial system. He holds this position in Toronto - Canadas largest city, and one of its most politically influential ones. As such, Mr. Leshner is part of the judicial culture that, in usurping the role of our democratically elected legislature, brought about the legalization of so-called same-sex marriage. Thus Canadian religious and social conservatives cannot dismiss Mr. Leshners threats as those of your average homosexual activist.
One can understand why the homosexual activists are upset with Bishop Henry. Of course, Bishop Henry merely states the obvious when he points out the potential eschatological consequences of the Prime Ministers actions, but this is besides the point. Jean Chretien and the rest of Canadas political leadership assured Canadians that same-sex marriage and homosexual rights would not interfere with religious liberty in Canada. Yet Canadas most successful homosexual legal activists disagrees.
And what about Bishop Plouffe? Certainly, his words are nowhere as politically incorrect as those of his counterpart in Calgary. Nor is Bishop Plouffe, like Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, encouraging his flock to picket homosexual funerals with God hates Fags placards. Well-placed contacts in Bishop Plouffes diocesan curia assure the authors that His Excellency condemns such religiously inspired hatred, as the Christian Gospel calls all people to conversion.
If one reads Bishop Plouffes statement carefully, he simply reminds Catholic politicians of their moral obligation to uphold Catholic moral teaching in the legislature. Unfortunately, in the opinion of same homosexual legal activist who brought about same-sex marriage, Bishop Plouffes words now constitute religious intolerance under a man-made system of law that sees itself as superior to the law of God. Again, what happened to our Prime Ministers promise to protect religious freedom in Canada?
Canadian social and religious conservatives should keep this in mind as Bill C-250 comes to the floor for its third parliamentary reading. For our American audience, Bill C-250 is a private members bill introduced before Canadas House of Commons by Svend Robinson. Mr. Robinson belongs to Canadas socialist NDP. He also shares the dubious distinction among social and religious conservatives as being Canadas first openly homosexual Member of Parliament. According to an official press release on Mr. Robinsons government website, the purpose of Bill C-250 is, to include sexual orientation in the hate propaganda sections of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Most private members bills in Canada ultimately die before making it to the floor. Having already passed two readings, however, Bill C-250 looks to be the exception. Yet Mr. Robinson is not taking any chances. In an urgent call-to-action to his constituency - the text of which is also available on his website - Mr. Robinson warns: WE ARE IN DANGER OF LOSING THIS BILL because of the flood of e-mails and letters coming in to MPs from those who oppose the bill, mainly from the religious right. As well, Canadian Alliance MPs (who have voted against every bill that has ever come before the House to extend equality to gays and lesbians) are fanning the flames with outrageous attacks on the bill. They claim that the bill would make religious texts like the Bible illegal. This is absolutely false: both the Charter of Rights and the Criminal Code already protect freedom of religious expression. As both Mr. Owens and Mr. Brockie discovered, the Canadian Charter of Rights and the Criminal Code of Canada certainly did not protect their freedom of religious expression. Additionally, Mr. Leshners assertions in the Globe and Mail do not give the impression that religious expression will be protected.
Yet beyond the political consequences of an activist judiciary usurping the legislative role of parliament, lay some troubling moral questions raised by social and religious conservatives in Canada. Returning to the subject of same-sex marriage, despite our efforts, it does not matter whether we seek to change man's image. The image of man has already been set. We cannot change it. If our Canadian judiciary attempts to do so, we cannot but anticipate the disintegration and degeneration of Canada - both as a culture and as a nation. And this is a sober reminder to our social engineers who spare not a moment in cheaply wrapping themselves in the Maple Leaf.
Marriage and its natural extension, the traditional family, provide the very reason why the government exists. As this foundation comes under attack and begins to disintegrate, the social consequences will play out within our political institutions. In terms of the Canadian experience, if marriage is just another relationship between two individuals that can be contracted and broken at will, then what makes us foolishly think that our country will stay together when our marriages cannot? And if we tell ourselves, contrary to the Natural Law Tradition of our Judeo-Christians roots, that abortion is a "noble choice", then how can we continue to naively believe that our whole federation cannot be dismembered alongside our children in the womb?
And if we can tell ourselves that a man can marry a man, why could he not marry two men or three? Or why could he not marry his son or nephew when the latter comes of age? Or will age continue to matter? In a culture where virginity is ridiculed and pregnancy is so easily disposed of, it is simply a matter of time before so-called inter-generational sex - that which polite cultures and moral societies use to condemn as incest - is pronounced a right between a parent and their consenting child.
As shocking as it sounds to us today, such a putative right would be consistent with a Canada that currently affords little legal protection to children in the womb. It is consistent with a judiciary that undermines and legally manipulates marriage. We Canadians have turned our backs on the Judeo-Christian heritage that built this great nation, and if history is consistent, God will punish our society by granting us our request. In short, Canada will become the sexually hedonistic nation to which she aspires, and it will mark the death and annihilation of Canadian democracy as the judiciary asserts its new role as the arbiters of the pan-sexualist agenda - over and above the democratic will of the people along with other individual civil liberties. For our current Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, seems intent upon finishing the sexual-political revolution begun by his predecessor Pierre Trudeau.
(This article first appeared in Culture Wars and is reprinted with the permission of the authors. Pete Vere is a Catholic political and social commentator from Sudbury, Canada. John Pacheco is a financial analyst and a Catholic author from Kingston, Canada. Pete and John collaborate through Catholic-Legate.com)
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If you look at the Canadian constitution, you'll find it is an unworkable piece of crap. A socialist wet dream of sorts (actually, Pierre Trudeau's wet dream). If justices in the US can blatantly ignore very clear wording as it exists in the US constitution (as in the recent McCain-Feingold verdict) just think of the field day they will have up there.
As the aforementioned cases show, Canadas current judicial culture basically upholds a doctrine of religious freedom in which an individual possesses the right to believe what he wants, so long as this belief is never communicated in public or put into practice.
Religious intolerance bump.
How does this differ from the situation in Massachusetts?
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