CBC News article on Harper strategy of confrontation with the courts: excellent comment opportunity

There is an otherwise (see below) excellent article on CBC News webpage today, discussing how the Harper government seems bent on a confrontation with Canada’s legal system by deliberately bringing forward legislation that Justice lawyers advise have only even a 1% chance or slightly higher of surviving a constitutional or Charter challenge.

Harper government’s strategy of confrontation with our courts

I am a retired federal public servant who occasionally worked with Justice lawyers on legal matters and legislation though not in the Department of Justice itself. And I am not a lawyer. But — I do know from personal experience and discussion with Justice lawyers back then, that the Harper government approach, putting forward legislation that career lawyers in Justice doubt has even a 1% chance of surviving a court challenge, is a complete reversal of the standard used by all previous federal governments under which I served, including the three Progressive Conservative governments of Clark, Mulroney and Campbell.

The article lists, near the bottom, several recent pieces of legislation likely to be challenged in court and unlikely to survive court scrutiny. Disturbingly, however, Bill C-31 Section 5 (the FATCA/IGA implementation provisions buried in the omnibus budget bill) is not included in that list. CBC should have known to include that, given past stories and contacts we’ve had with some of their news writers.

This is an opportunity for Brockers and Sandoxers to blog a CBC story and to help raise reader awareness of the Charter and other legal issues that Harper and crowd have patently been ignoring re the IGA and FATCA. It also helps explain the careful choice of words the Finance officials were using in answering Opposition questions about Justice review of the legislation’s constitutionality under the Charter. My suspicion is that the advice that Justice gave Finance is that the probability the legislation could survive a Charter challenge was maybe more than 1% but probably not a lot more, certainly no more than perhaps 10% or so I’d guess.

This raises broader issues of Harper and crowds’ total disregard for “rule of law” in Canada and misunderstanding of the role our courts are supposed to play under our constitution, parliamentary democracy, and the Charter.

I’ve posted my own comment to the above effect in the story, still awaiting CBC moderation though. There are already hundreds of comments, most extremely critical of Harper and Justice Minister Mackay on this point, but I didn’t see any other FATCA related ones than mine, though I don’t pretend to have the time nor patience to wade through all those comments to check.

Another excellent reason to vote ABC (Anybody but the Conservative) in the next election, as well as another opportunity for Brocker and Sandbox bees to swarm and post to raise Canadians’ awareness of the issue.

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About schubert

I’ve had a CLN (Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States) since 1976, quite by accident (DOS mailed me one after I wrote a long anti-US letter to Henry Kissinger on July 4, 1976, telling him I’d become a Canadian citizen several months earlier and why, then confirming on a form I got in the mail that I had done so willingly – duh! – and with the intent of relinquishing my US citizenship). I filed the CLN away and forgot about it until August 2011 when I first heard about FATCA and FBAR and realized I needed to find the proof I am not an American in spite of my birthplace. My wife, who came to Canada with her ex before I did and also became a Canadian citizen, believed she’d thereby lost her US citizenship but didn’t write Kissinger, didn’t know anything about CLNs or the need to get one (nor did I at the time), and applied for a relinquishment CLN a few months ago. Until August 29, 2012, we were waiting to get her CLN, and it has been in her interests that I’m monitoring and occasionally participating in this and the IBS website. However, joy of joys, wonder of wonders, my wife’s CLN arrived in the mail on that date, so now we both have CLNs. I will continue to monitor and contribute to this website as I have time and when I think I have something constructive to add, but after 12 months of Hell we’re going to get our sanity and lives back, and that means a prolonged vacation from anything related to CLNs, IRS, FATCA, or any other such crap, unless it rears its head and threatens Canada and Canadians to the point where I have to come out of my corner fighting again …

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