Tonight on The Ezra Levant Show, Ezra sits down with Executive Director, Rights Probe and law professor Bruce Pardy to discuss the evolving nature of the Canadian legal system.
They delve into the aspirations of lawyers and law professors to become judges, the increasing politicization of the law, and the failures of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms during the pandemic.
As they explore these topics, they shed light on the erosion of judicial restraint and the myths surrounding the charter.
The Pursuit of Judicial Power: Ezra points out that many ambitious lawyers view the ultimate goal of their careers as securing a judgeship. Pardy agrees, highlighting the allure of being appointed a judge, which offers greater power and influence than a seat in the Senate. This pursuit of judicial power, he argues, contributes to the conformism among lawyers and law professors, making it difficult to find contrarian voices within the legal profession.
The Myth of the Charter: Reflecting on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, both express their disappointment in its effectiveness during the pandemic. They recall a time when the charter was revered as a sacred text, but its failures in protecting civil liberties have exposed its limitations. Pardy emphasizes that the charter functions merely as an interpretive guide for the courts, rather than a solid foundation for the legal system. He points out that the courts' interpretation of the charter often falls short of upholding individual freedoms, revealing the gap between the document's promises and its practical application.
The Role of the Judiciary: The conversation shifts to the role of the judiciary and the Supreme Court of Canada. Pardy explains that the courts have the last word in the legal system, making their power significant and far-reaching. Historically, the philosophy of judicial restraint acted as a check on this power. However, Pardy suggests that more courts today see themselves as policymakers, deviating from their traditional role of interpreting and applying the law. This departure from judicial restraint raises concerns about the balance of power between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
Questioning the Rule of Law: The pair reflect on the concept of the rule of law. Pardy explores two ideas put forth by Hayek: the rule of law as the opposite of the rule of persons and the division of powers among different branches of government. However, he notes that these ideas are eroding as all three branches increasingly align in favor of state management and intervention. Ezra draws attention to the Canadian government's tendency to prioritize its own agenda over accountability, highlighting recent controversies surrounding figures like David Johnston.
In this insightful interview, the pair expose the challenges facing the Canadian legal system. They shed light on the pursuit of judicial power, the shortcomings of the charter, and the erosion of judicial restraint. As they critically examine these issues, they raise important questions about the state of the judiciary and the rule of law in Canada.