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Power and the courts

FTLComm - Tisdale - Tuesday, September 9, 2003

of court

I am certain most Canadians were shocked to discover a couple of years ago that the leader of the Opposition, Stockwell Day understood so little about the courts and legal system that he did not grasp the concept of advocacy or that every person accused of a crime has the right to a solicitor and due process. The surprising issue is that he and most of his fellow Albertans are in the same boat and it is not only Albertans that fail to understand the basic concept of the court system. So its time we all just did a little refresher course in why we use this system to settle issues and deal with criminal behaviour.




If you have money, power and control the lives of others things are good. At least in times of old, if you were the nobleman with the life and death decisions over your peasants things were okay for you but for the peasant, not so good. The only recourse was to make a plea for help to someone with more power who could act on your behalf, or not. Clearly, this was unfair, yet this is precisely what gripes so many people today. Henry II, the "law giver king" established in his realm, a system of circuit courts to settle disputes and try cases. To give his judges and magistrates something to go by "common law" was established and it really was based on judgements. Justice was from then onward, something that was constructed; it evolved as one decision was used to help decide another. All English-speaking countries around the world have adopted, or received this system of settling things and it continues to grow. Some years ago a California court ruled that it was unfair not to tell someone when they are charged with a crime about their rights and as a result of that ruling the "Miranda" law now applies everywhere as it is fair and common law.




The lawlessness and injustice of the feudal world was somewhat curtailed so that the "people" might have protection from the powerful, the wealthy and those who would exploit them. It should be abundantly clear to you today that the powerful, the wealthy and those who wish to exploit, do not like the courts, they do not like justice, for it is diametrically opposed to their prime objectives and that is to increase power, increase wealth and exploit people. On this web site today you will see an article by Walter Robinson of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. This is a special interest group that has a very strong political agenda. Mr. Robinson demands that his organisation and others like it have the same rights and privileges as "people".



people have

Now please think this through. People have rights, established in common law and enshrined as the underpinning of our constitution in the Charter of Rights. Businesses, corporations and special interest groups are not, they are not people and as such, the rights established to protect people are not theirs.



groups are

The federal government has seen in election after election, political organisations who are in fact, special interest, lobby, or advocacy groups, acting and spending like political parties. We have laws, which limit the spending by political parties in elections so that we can attempt to make elections fair and not something only the rich to determine. Yet these pseudo-political parties have been spending without limit and have made Canadian election spending unfair for all, as it lets those with the money, and power call the shots. ( In past elections that has sometimes meant United States of America supported groups who have funnelled money into the Canadian election system to get what they want. Dalton Camp used such money to unseat Prime Minister Diefenbaker. )



to the

Power is an awesome thing, money can create awesome power and we must understand the incredible frustration the courts and laws present to those who want only to look after their own interests. Pay close attention to the Canadian Alliance doctrine and notice how often they refer to having politicians making the laws and not the courts. It is the nature of authoritarian organisations to advocate that those elected, of course with the help of their special interest groups and their unlimited money, to make the decisions that have been placed in the hands of the courts.



Canada not a

Just to refer to this issue for a moment, remember that it is the role of government and parliament to make laws, but it is the role of the courts and the civil servants of the land to govern and administer those laws. This is not good for the rich and powerful and they don't like the system




So often the courts make decisions that confuse us and seem to be somehow wrong headed. Two obvious cases here in Saskatchewan have been especially troubling because for reasons that perhaps only those doing the complaining understand, there have been nasty attacks on the courts. The Robert Latimer case and just recently the Dean Edmonson case have raised enormous responses as news writers; editorial writers and protest marchers of all kinds condemn the judicial system. Could they, if given the responsibility, have done better?




We have a system of dealing with cases, the judges are forced to solve problems that a society has taken generations to create and when they set forth their ruling, it is not welcomed, but condemned. Please think back to the times before bow legged Henry II (it was said he spent so much time on a horse riding about his kingdom settling things that he was chronically bow legged, I think it was just the weight of having to deal with the nastiest Queen in history, Eleanor of Aquitaine and their idiot sons, Richard Coeur de Lion and John who's stupidity turned out to be a good thing resulting in the Magna Carta) over came the war lords of his domain and brought a court system into being.




Let this be a warning to you fellow citizens, George Bush has shown how remarkably easy it is to turn back time and trample centuries of civilised behaviour. The courts and the work they do is a fragile thing and people like Stephen Harper and Walter Robinson would like so much to see you all as peasants once again, bowing to the lords of the manor and begging for bit of earth on which to plant a garden, or a pitiful job that would give you enough to keep your family alive. Our courts and the rights of the individual, not the rights of companies and special interest groups, are at stake. The simple process of law can vanish almost overnight as it has in much of the world dictated to by the International Monitory Fund as the masters of this world once more accrue power from wealth and might, not law.

Timothy W. Shire



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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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