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article imageOp-Ed: Canada’s Judicial Achilles Heel

By James Raider     Sep 13, 2009 in Politics
From its inception, Canada has been served by a Parliament controlled by lawyers. This long-standing practice has to change.
Analysis of all Federal Members of Parliament, from John A. Macdonald, the first Prime Minister, to the present House of Commons, shows that the vast majority of representatives sent to Ottawa have come from legal practices across the vast landscape North of the 49th parallel.
Most Canadian Prime Ministers, including Pierre Trudeau who turned the judiciary on its head, have been lawyers.
The current leader, Stephen Harper is an anomaly, and so are the very few who have come from outside the legal profession, including: Joe Clark, a career politician with occasional journalistic tendencies; Tupper, a physician; Bowell, a printer; and Alexander Mackenzie, a Scottish contractor. Lawyer after lawyer has led Canada. What a surprise.
Law firms are perfect breeding grounds for political representatives. As a member of a law firm, becoming elected brings exposure and business to your firm. If and when you lose a future election, you will be welcomed back into the fold, along with your newly enriched black book of contacts.
Try doing that as an employee of a corporation. Any employee. Even the CEO’s job is not about to be kept open for him or her until their return from elected office unless the individual owns the firm. As a result, voters are stuck with choices that are less than what might be preferred in background, temperament, experience, common sense, business acumen, etc. The choices have been limited.
Lawyers are a particularly different breed. To succeed they require the capacity to memorize and regurgitate precedent to pass the bar exam, and if that memory is mixed with a small dose of bluster, you have yourself an ideal lawyer. Principles? Common sense? Those are not required for success.
"Rain makers" don’t become successful because they are Pollyannas, or wall flowers. Lawyers don't get to purchase Rolls Royces if all their clients settle amicably.
I am generalizing here, of course, however, I invite illustrious examples that break the generalities. It has been a rare lawyer that I have ever hired who demonstrated good judgment, and my own interest in mind. On the other hand, experience showed a long trail of lawyers whose first inclination was to stimulate chaos to enhance the “invoices.” So much for objectivity on the cause of the disintegration and decay being evidenced in practice by the Canadian judicial system.
Where does that leave the Canadian taxpayer? Have you checked your judicial system’s perspective on criminals over the past 40 years? It believes that all criminals can be rehabilitated, and is structured on the premise that jail is not a good place for them to turn their lives around.
This kind of insanity comes from the genius of the lawyers who wrote Canadian laws over the past thirty years, and voted them into the books, guided by the ever-present Liberal ghost of Trudeau. The laws have stimulated the endless process that creates jobs for lawyers and their eventual incarnations as judges.
Check the workload in courts across the country. Most trials have a one year wait, and the process gets prolonged as much as lawyers can possibly manage it.
The criminal gangs of Vancouver, and their “families” are grateful to the long procession of lawyers who have sat in Parliament. The thieves with long criminal records who freely continue to ply their trade without fear of incarceration, thank them. The murderers and child molesters serving obscenely short sentences or no sentence at all, but pretending to anticipate the liberal promise of “rehabilitation,” thank them.
All criminals are thankful that Canada has virtually no specific sentencing guidelines that can be found in the criminal code. The generalities found therein are not guidelines. Such would restrict the adjudicators who sit on the benches across the country. If you ask them why they are all so lenient, they will tell you that they simply apply the laws, but they don’t make them, so talk to your elected officials. Such skating has left the Canadian public dumbfounded with the decisions regularly handed down by its courts.
The liberal-minded governments of the past two generations have ignored the rights of victims, and have trampled all over the rights of the society to be safe and secure. Governments and police pretend that crimes are down, manipulating statistics, it remains that most communities feel that they have lost their security. Nice job Ottawa.
Too many laws have been enacted for the benefit of the legal profession, including absurd immigration policies, and a cumbersome tax code. Canadians have been often accused of being an apathetic lot. Such is not the case.
Canadian taxpayers have been at the mercy of the only profession which has run for office through the last 142 years. Canadians simply need to elect members of parliament who really represent the broader cross section of society at large, and who will vote in Parliament for measures which protect the rights of the communities they represent.
Principally electing lawyers to represent them and enacting their laws, has not been serving Canadians well.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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