Saturday, 20 October 2012

Constitutional Realities & Denominational Rights

While I am firmly on the record as opposing the continuation of special denominational rights for Ontario's Catholics, I am deeply troubled by some of the arguments being made by those attempting to overturn the status quo via the courts. I applaud Reva Landau and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) for bringing attention to the issue, the forum is entirely inappropriate.

Again, I agree with the crux of the argument put forward against perpetuating these so-called rights. These are, however, purely moral arguments for equality. They are not legal or constitutional arguments.

Prorogation, Convention and Democratic Legitimacy

On TVO's The Agenda, constitutional scholar Peter Russell makes the case that the recent prorogation of the Ontario legislature by out-going premier Dalton McGuinty was illegitimate and that the manner in which he terminated the current session of parliament violated basic practices and conventions around the use of what is, when used correctly, a legitimate tool of parliamentary governance. Russell criticizes the move on the grounds that it violates basic principles of Canada's constitution, namely responsible government.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Prorogation & the Problem of Civic Illiteracy

In media and partisan circles, the greatest reaction to Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty's decision to step down has been over his decision to prorogue the legislature his way out the door. Indeed, prorogation itself has become a four-letter word, something to be reviled as inherently unjust, sneaky and, above all, anti-democratic. This is no doubt the product of the 2008 prorogation crisis in Ottawa. The current issue, however, has also raised once again the reality that ordinary Ontarians and, more troubling, our supposed professional pundit class have little grasp of the basic concepts of governance in this country.