Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Hypothetically speaking

Dr. Dawg points out that the list of Con MPs piping up about Henry Morgentaler's appointment to the Order of Canada includes Ken Epp. But it's worth noting just what Epp had to say:
However, Tory MP Ken Epp (Edmonton-Sherwood Park) said the pro-choice supporters have "gone too far."

"As far as I'm concerned it is indeed controversial," said Epp, who has a private member's bill before the House of Commons that would allow criminal charges to be laid in the death or injury of an unborn child when the child's mother is the victim of a crime.

Epp also questioned the objectivity of Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin as head of the Order of Canada advisory council. "Is she now totally out of impartiality because of the fact she has weighed into this? I am concerned about all of those things," he said.
Now, from my perspective Epp's argument raises a couple of fairly significant questions - which essentially need to be directed at Harper in light of his well-known message control.

First, is Epp really claiming that the mere fact that an Order of Canada appointee is associated with an issue renders the Chief Justice of Canada too biased to deal with that issue? If that interpretation is correct, then the full list of appointees would seemingly result in McLachlin C.J.C. being unable to rule on anything more significant than a parking ticket.

Of course, it doesn't stand to reason that Morgentaler's appointment affects judicial impartiality any more than Buzz Hargrove's appointment disqualifies McLachlin from hearing labour law cases. But even if one grants Epp the charitable interpretation that he knows he's wrong, it's still noteworthy that the Cons' message is once again centred on inflammatory and patently ridiculous arguments against the fairness and impartiality of independent bodies.

Second, and more significantly, there's the question of just when Epp anticipates a case which raises abortion issues coming before the Supreme Court of Canada.

I'll note in that respect that Dr. Dawg focuses in on how Epp's new message casts ever more doubt on his honesty in claiming that his C-484 has nothing to do with abortion. But let's take the analysis a step further and grant Epp his own claim for now.

After all, since there's currently no outstanding legal conflict involving abortion, the only way it figures to find its way in front of the Supreme Court of Canada is if new legislation is passed in the meantime. If Epp is right in claiming that C-484 doesn't actually involve abortion, then what do he and the Cons know about other plans for legislation that would bring the issue back before the courts?

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