M.P. Maurice Vellacott has been accused, tried and convicted in the court of popular opinion, concerning his comments about Chief Justice Beverley MacLachlin's speech on Dec. 1, 2005 in Wellington, New Zealand. This issue has been discussed at nauseum in MSM and in blogs. For more background info check out Canadian Blue Lemons, among others.
I held off commenting on the situation myself until I had enough time to digest some of the different points of view and information. However, as with Garth Turner, I tend to champion the underdog.
I believe that Maurice Vellacott's only crime is that he uttered out loud what many of us are thinking - That the Supreme Court now has self-induced powers way beyond the original mandate. The courts are supposed to interpret the law of the elected representatives in our democracy; not change the law or massage it like a piece of dough to fit some social engineering strategy (e.g. same-sex marriage, swingers’ clubs, etc.)
Saturday’s National Post contained an excellent letter to the editor in this regard, “Vellacott deserves praise, not censure”. Rosemary Underwood writes:
”Bravo to Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott for expressing what most thinking Canadians already believe: that Supreme Court judges play God with the law. He has paid much too high a price for repeating what he has probably been hearing from his constituents. In a true democratic society, constituents send their local representatives to Parliament to express their views. These MPs are accountable to their constituency and, in the next election, the people have their chance to reward or punish them according to how well they have represented them…”
She goes on to point out that the Supreme Court is accountable to no one. “Its judges have a mandate to interpret laws; not create them…” Ms. Underwood feels that Maurice Vellacott is courageous, and should be applauded; not persecuted. I agree, Rosemary.
Last time I checked, Freedom of Speech was still in the Charter, and applied equally to all citizens – unless of course Judge Beverley sees fit to decree otherwise.