RATTAN’S RUMBLE: Harper deserves severe condemnation for attacking Supreme Court

Stephen HarperFEDERAL NDP Leader Tom Mulcair put it best when he asked in the House of Commons: “Will the Prime Minister apologize to the Chief Justice and Canadians for his unprecedented and inexplicable attack on one of our most respected democratic institutions?”

Harper has been behaving like an immature kid who throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get the candy he wants!

Only that this tantrum is a shameless attack on the Supreme Court of Canada and on our democracy itself. This is what you would expect in a banana republic – NOT in a country like Canada.

What have Harper and Justice Minister Peter MacKay been smoking to have engaged in such disgraceful conduct?

The fact that the Canadian Bar Association (representing 37,000 lawyers and judges), the Advocates Society, 11 former presidents of the Canadian Bar Association and the Canadian Council of Law Deans, representing all 23 deans of the country’s law schools, have all flayed the Harper Conservative government for malicious criticism of Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin clearly shows that Harper has made a veritable ass of himself.

Harper has been fuming about the Supreme Court judges’ 6-1 rejection of his choice of Justice Marc Nadon of the Federal Court of Appeal for the Supreme Court because he lacked current Quebec qualifications.

The Prime Minister’s Office issued a press release last week alleging that McLachlin tried to involve him in an inappropriate conversation about the case. But McLachlin in a statement said that she had spoken to McKay two months before Nadon was named to the Supreme Court by Harper and that her call was meant only to flag a potential legal issue.

The fact is that McLachlin’s “actions were beyond reproach and consistent with the dignity of her office,” as the Canadian Council of Law Deans stated this week.

, Harper and McKay should humbly apologize and stop behaving like spoiled brats!

The Toronto Star’s editorial on this issue highlighted Harper’s dictatorial behavior that is harming our democracy.

It noted: “Prime Minister Stephen Harper is notorious for attacking any and all who presume to challenge his agenda. Canada’s chief electoral officer has felt the sting of his wrath. So have the auditor-general, the parliamentary budget officer, the nuclear safety watchdog, the military police watchdog and too many others to mention.”

Then how can leaders of countries that are flouting democratic norms take Canada’s reprimands seriously?

Harper should wake up to the reality that his undemocratic behavior is hurting Canada’s reputation around the world.

Politicians, media and others have every right to disagree with the courts or even point out what they might believe to be genuine flaws, but they have no right to malign judges. That is absolutely unacceptable.

For a Prime Minister – and his Justice Minister – to behave in this manner is abhorrent. Instead of taking the lead in showing respect for the Supreme Court of Canada, these two have blatantly insulted such an august institution.