Laws in Canada are constructed and implemented by the parliaments of Canada and the provinces. These laws and statutes are administered and enforced by the respective bureaucracies of each government, and if necessary, are forwarded to the Canadian judiciary to administer fair punishment as detailed in the statute and by case-law, or to be arbitrated by the judiciary as to whether the law had been violated in fact, or that a dispute between parties needed binding judicial mediation. That is what the courts do.
On occasion, certain laws and statutes get challenged as to whether or not they meet the defined standards in Canada’s constitution and Charter.
But, in recent times, the Canadian judiciary has assumed a sociopolitical mantle that they are not entitled to bear. Social conscience lies within the democratic institutions of parliament, not within the increasing politically motivated ideology of unelected judges. Several recent Supreme Court decisions have gone way beyond the judicial mandate of the SCC, and the Quebec Superior Court’s just announced extension of the injunction against the destruction of the long gun registry records for Quebec, provides an excellent example of where the line in the sand for Canadian judges needs to be drawn.
The gun registry was created out of a Draconian Liberal act of parliament known as “Bill C68″ in 1994. Ramming this legislation through with a majority government on the pretext of public safety as a consequence of the shootings at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989, the Liberal government had managed to impose a long-held Liberal belief that citizens should not be permitted to be armed. It is, after all, anathema to liberal ideals for the masses to have the ability to change government by their own hand. Let’s be clear: Bill C68 was never about public safety, it was the first step in a documented 40 year plan to remove private ownership of firearms in Canada. Identification, followed by demonization and restriction, followed by confiscation. There are at least 13 violations of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms implicit in Bill C68 and the Criminal Code changes that ensued from it. The actions of a madman in Montreal was not due to the lack of a gun registry.
But beyond that, and despite the protestations of a number of vested-interest groups and the Canadian Chiefs of Police, a political lobby group, there has never been substantive documentation that a gun registry has any impact whatsoever on gun crime. It simply doesn’t exist. Rank and file police officers know it, law-abiding gun owners know it, criminals know it. There is evidence that gun ownership reduces confrontational crime; hence the success of US “shall-issue” concealed-carry laws.
Despite no evidence in support of the “public safety” argument for maintaining the registry, Justice Blanchard of the Quebec Superior Court concluded “The beneficial effects of maintaining the registry in Quebec appear greater than the urgency of applying the new law which will do away with the long-gun registry and destroy the data…”. This is judicial activism, not sober second thought. There are no beneficial effects of maintaining the registry.
While the lawyer for the Quebec government, Eric Dufour, argued, “There are about 1.5 million long guns in Quebec… on average, the registry saved about 300 lives a year”, he knows that he cannot back those claims up. No police force has ever been able to.
Bill C68 came about out of the hand wringing of a small group of young Quebec feminists, led by Heidi Rathgen and Wendy Cukier, who found a (sym)pathetic Liberal justice minister from Quebec, Alan Rock, and as they say, the rest is, and will hopefully soon be, history.
“Interpreting the will of parliament”, long the clarion call of activist judges, has reached a point where judicial interference in the governance of the land has become a serious issue. The “will of parliament” is written in the statutes, using language of law and common usage. In most statutes the “will” is clear; it is technicalities needing clarification, not intent. Judges, not even those who sit on the Supreme Court, have an authority to subvert the will of parliament. Judges, like every other citizen, can exercise their democratic right to affect the will of parliament on election day.
The Conservatives need to simply do what bill C19 requires – destroy the data. They then need to tell the court to quit subverting the will of parliament to their political ideology, and if necessary, tell the judiciary that if they don’t stop the ideological subversion, they will legislate the judiciary out of the process entirely.