Last summer Canadian SuperJudge Richard Wagner warned us “against political attacks on judicial independence” and posed the rhetorical question: “If [Canadians] lose faith in the justice system, what will happen?” (D. Leblanc, CBC News June 5). He left to us to imagine how bad it will be. He did not elaborate whether the Justice system is deteriorating or that we the populace are becoming unduly un-appreciative of the “justness” of the Justice system. His silence becomes more suspect by his use of the indeterminate “political attacks”, for “attacks by politically motivated people”, thus risking the reputation of our super-passive politicians becoming erroneously perceived attacking the Justice system.
His predecessor Beverlrey McLachlin asserted that: “Judges have to be independent and impartial. That’s why they have good salaries and can’t be removed by politicians”. This demeans the judges lot by portraying them collecting “virtue surcharge”, akin to BC Ferries and Canada Post “fuel surcharge”. This looks bad when contrasted with the rest of us who do our day’s work “decency-fee free”, so to speak.
As for McLachlin’s assertion about the judges needing protection from the politicians, i.e. from the peoples’ representatives, i.e. from Democracy, is also a cause of concern. Surely it is systemic discrimination when the Judges are sheltered from the politicians while we, the people, are left unprotected, made to absorb the brunt of political ineptitude, sinistri and revengefulness.
Themis wears a blindfold to signify impartiality and holds a pair of scales to emphasize adherence to fairness. She holds a sword to warn those who contemplate injustice. She carries no purse, this manifesting unfettered accessibility to all, including the poor who traditionally need access to justice the most. We place statues of Themis thus equipped in the courtyards of the Justice shops to remind Judges of our expectations.
Now I should divulge that my scope is to argue that we need to place Themis statues in the newsrooms of the nation too. I will start by observing the similarities between courtrooms and newsrooms, for this passes unnoticed while its importance is immensely significant to the overall well-being of society. I will start at the door, always a good place to begin. We insist the nation’s courtroom doors remain open. This is not so that we, the hoi polloi (= the many), “learn how justice is done”, which is how a judge once put it. It is, instead, to make the judges leery of being watched. This, lest the high salaries and the tenure McLachlin mentions, prove insufficient to restrain some Judge from succumbing to temptation to rule the wrong way.
For the very same reason that caused the metamorphosis of Direct to Representative Democracy, the task of keeping watch over the judges is assigned to Representative Vigilance “specialists” we call Journalists. Then our “democratic efficacy is a function of the acumen of the Journalists. The journalists dig out the facts discern and relate the options we have on the issues so we can function as citizens of a democracy. These they put before the Grand Jury, the Demo (= the people). Then, if the judges need extra pay and protection from the politicians, so would the journalists. But if this “decency-fee free” catches on, it would render the governance of the nation being done by “Ethics-prostitutes”.
In a democracy, institutions like the Justice System and the Laws the Judges administer are made by the Demo. In a Democracy, it is we, Broadebentean “Ordinary Canadians” who make the Laws on the basis of whatever we learn, primarily through the Journalists. Since “garbage in, garbage out” is the norm, the quality or lack of such in the governance we get, including the justice system, is determined by the Journalistas, truth be told.
That Mclachlin could brag about herself being one of the trio, the three Rt. Hon. who “Rule” Canada manifests to the overall system having gone topsy turvy.
The efficacy of the Justice system depends more on the integrity of Journalists, clearly much more so than it depends on the “independence and the job-security” of judges, for which we are charged “protection money”, as McLachlin insinuates.
What triggered the discussion-in-parallel of the Judicial Estate with the Mass Media system was the shallowness of the media take on the UN COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh. This shallowness of reporting explains the spread of nonsense about COP27, as well as the poppycock uttered by Richard and Beverley speaking from the apex of Canada’s Judicial Pyramid. All are traceable to the “media deficit”. A potent media system would have ensured we be governed by Democracy and spared us being “rulled” by Estates.
McLachlin has proclaimed that Judges “wisely” do not answer criticism. That they can get away without accountability is a good and valid reason to place Themis statues in the newsrooms of the nation. Who knows? it may work ...
Horology is the study and measurement of time. We are doing well on the latter count but poorly on the former. We know that Tempus Fugit and Regit (= Time Flies and Rules) but that is all, and enough it is not.
Time did not escape Plato’s SuperMind and he is rumoured to have invented Clepsydra, the clock that timed the Greeks of the Golden Era. He is credited with inventing the musical clock and the alarm clock, both based on the clepsydra utilising the whistle principle.
More amusing is his pebble alarm. A scoop resembling a catapult was loaded with pebbles which, at a predetermined time the system would dump on to a piece of sheet metal, thus producing the alarming sound, like hail falling on a tin roof.