Apr 5, 2014

Opitz v. Wrzesnewskyj reactions

Opitz v. Wrzesnewskyj, 2012 SCC 55, [2012] 3 SCR 76
A couple of comments regarding today’s Supreme Court ruling confirming Conservative MP Ted Opitz win in the last federal election:
John Ibbitson:
The courts wade into such murky waters at their peril. The independence of the judiciary from the legislature is a cornerstone of the checks and balances on which parliamentary democracy is based. The Court affirmed, in its decision, that judges must not become embroiled in such partisan contests unless absolutely necessary. Given any kind of choice, judges must stand aside. Thursday morning, the Court stood aside.
Paul Wells:
There was some chatter on Twitter this morning, after the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the election results in Etobicoke Centre, to the effect that Stephen Harper has finally succeeded in stacking the top court with corrupt thugs and we are now fully entered into a post-democratic era here in KanuckiHarperStan. My hunch is that this overstates things. First, this was actually the Harper government’s first good day at the Court in a while. The Supremes have more often been in the habit of handing Harper trouble, as with the Insite supervised-injection site case and Jim Flaherty’s dead-parrot project for a national securities regulator. In those highest of high-profile cases, Harper appointees concurred with their colleagues in unanimous judgments.