Last week, the Ontario budget slashed funding to Legal Aid Ontario by over 30 per cent. Adding to the cruelty, the $133 million cut takes effect immediately – there was no advanced notice. And to make matters even worse the province has directed LAO that no provincial money can be used to cover immigration and refugee law, leaving that program with a staggering and unexpected $45 million shortfall.
Just because there is not a law prohibiting an act does not make that act right or moral. Criminality should not and cannot represent the line of propriety in politics. A defence that no law was broken is usually the last line of defence for the morally bankrupt.
So the real question is if Wilson-Raybould’s actions were moral? Was taping the conversation the right thing to do?
The SNC-Lavalin scandal has proven to be an insatiable beast with tentacles reaching deep into the political and legal worlds — perhaps even as far as the Supreme Court of Canada.
Gerald Butts came to the justice committee not to bury Canada’s former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould but to praise her. He told the committee that he was not going to “quarrel” with Wilson-Raybould’s evidence and pledged not to say a “single negative word about her.”
And then he did just that.
Last week, Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick delivered some jaw-dropping evidence at the House of Commons Committee on Justice and Human Rights hearing into allegations that inappropriate political pressure was directed at former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to cut SNC-Lavalin a sweetheart deal.
Maybe I was wrong all along.
Maybe Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada’s former Minister of Justice and Attorney General, was honestly trying to follow through on the government’s progressive pre-election justice promises.
The cold, hard truth is that Wilson-Raybould’s time as Canada’s justice minister was a massive disappointment for anyone who hoped the Liberal government would actually follow through on its lofty justice promises.
The presumption of innocence is one of the golden threads that holds together our justice system. It operates as a shield between the individual and the overwhelming power of the state.
Until recently, this has been a question reserved for philosophers. But now, we have the technology to answer the age-old question in the most democratic way possible — an NCAA-style bracket tournament.
Andrew Scheer and the federal Conservative party have a plan to crack down on guns and gangs. Scheer’s plan is a simple one: End automatic bail eligibility for gang members, revoke parole for gang members and impose minimum sentences for some gang-related offences. Scheer says that his plan, unlike Justin Trudeau’s plan that puts criminals first, will keep Canadians safe.