"I submit, that a Tory who can't find a single disagreeable thing to say about Rosalie Abella, is a Tory in the middle stage of a brain transplant." - David Warren
 
Ottawa Citizen
August 29, 2004
Judgement calls
 
by David Warren
 
"Don't try and pull the wool over my eyes," Judge Judy says. (This is Judith Sheindlin, the New York City family court judge who later became a daytime TV star in the same jurisdiction.) "I'm smarter than you."

While her tone might be different -- there would be no self-deprecating humour in it, only her patented scorn and contempt for opponents -- Canada's newly-appointed Supreme Court justice Rosalie Abella might adopt this as her own judicial motto. She is an embodiment of a class of people who genuinely believe themselves to be smarter than the rest of us, to be ahead on the historical curve. So far ahead, and moving so fast, that they cannot even hear the patter of the people running to keep up with them.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when Irwin Cotler, our country's new Justice Minister, introduced Ms Abella to our highest bench. I laughed, at first -- even though I knew it wasn't a joke, that the introduction of Ms Abella and of Louise Charron, two radical feminist Ontario appeal court judges to the vacant places among the Santa suits, was probably meant to provoke people like me. To provoke, generally, anyone who disagrees with the notion that the law exists to advance projects in social engineering -- to create, by extra-Parliamentary means, what Josef Stalin called "the new Soviet man" (although Stalin might be dismissed today as gender-insensitive, and we need a new word to replace the discredited "Soviet").

Mr. Irwin claims the Justices Abella and Charron were not appointed for political reasons, that their unambiguous commitment to e.g. same-sex marriage had nothing to do with the Supreme Court's impending rulings on that very subject, that they were chosen only for their stellar qualities from a large constellation of brilliant orbs. Moreover, he claimed that the candidates would be thoroughly vetted by Parliament in a special three-hour hearing the next day, by a committee that would not be entitled to ask questions of either appointee, and whose recommendations would not be binding even on themselves. (Thus fulfilling the prime minister's campaign commitment to a new era in government accountability.)

Were I Judge Judy, I would reply, "Don't try and pull the wool over my eyes. I'm smarter than you."

Not really smarter, however, for I'm at a loss to suggest what could be done to resist the continuing transformation of Canada's Supreme Court into a politically-correct Star Chamber. Mr. Cotler is himself a mediocrity, a bubble in the pond, a plaything of the Zeitgeist. He is a hack -- in politics, as I am in journalism, though compared to me, he knows how to rise. One gets the impression, listening to him, not only that he actually believes what he is saying, but that he is honestly unaware that anyone watching might consider it to be blathering nonsense.

But what can be done when, to coin a phrase, the members of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition are not "real men"? Those at the confirmation hearing had precious little time to say anything at all, on or off camera, but wasted what they had complaining about the ludicrous process. Not one -- especially, not one Tory -- could find anything disagreeable to say about either of the candidates. I submit, that a Tory who can't find a single disagreeable thing to say about Rosalie Abella, is a Tory in the middle stage of a brain transplant.

This is the woman who attempted to establish, as a young family court judge, such remarkable legal principles as that no child support payment can be "inappropriately" high; or that the final, contractual terms of a divorce settlement may be reopened at the woman's whim. These, and other such creative judgements, were struck down by higher courts. But now, Ms Abella IS the Supreme Court. Her views on anal intercourse alone -- and they are extensive -- would have been worth exploring.

You don't have to be very smart, however, to know what Mr. Cotler knows, and for that matter, what his puppeteer, Paul Martin knows, about the political system they have inherited. They know that the most extraordinary nonsense can be uttered in Canada, without fear of challenge by anyone in the mainstream of public opinion. Not because everyone agrees, but because no one has the courage.

And besides, even those who are vexed come to appreciate that it is more of the same -- just another small step on the road to perdition.


Ottawa Citizen
 
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