The Complaints Against Chief Justice McLachlin Are Less Than Impressive

Last week, a group of 42 organizations, spearheaded by the Canada Family Action Coalition, collectively filed a letter of complaint with the Canadian Judicial Council to complain about Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin’s participation in the committee which recommended that Dr. Henry Morgentaler receive the Order of Canada. (TheCourt.ca senior editor Diana Younes contributed an excellent article on Morgentaler here.)

It is firstly worth noting that of the forty-two organizations, three (Can American Stone Spreader, Can Am Fabricating and Welding, and A.J. Slinger Service) are not nonprofits seeking to represent popular Canadian opinion, but rather a trio of businesses owned by a single family. The list also considers David Murrell, a professor of economics at the University of New Brunswick, to be an “organization,” as well as Together For Life Ministries, a one-woman operation run by the Rev. Anne Welker. It includes both the Eternity Club and the Eternally Yours Radio and Telecast Ministry, which are both part of the same ministry run by the Rev. Audrey Mabley. Another four (the Evangelical Association, Canada Christian College, the Institute for Canadian Values and Christians United For Israel) are all currently run by Dr. Charles McVety, the current president of the Canada Family Action Coalition. (All of the groups, incidentally, share the same contact information and phone number.) It includes the Niagara chapter of the Canada Family Action Coalition and the Renfrew County Family Action Coalition, both of which are chapters of the national CFAC. It lists REAL Women of Canada and REAL Women of BC as two separate organizations despite their obvious affiliation. It includes Canadian Physicians For Life, the Alberta Pro-Life Alliance Association, the Right to Life Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association, and Life Canada, despite the fact that the first four of those are affiliates of the fifth.

In short, the list of “42 organizations” is shockingly dishonest even before it says anything, seeking to portray individuals as political organizations and overstating the political impact of the actual organizations by falsely multiplying their number. However, it does not stop there. From the letter:

Under the policy section of the Constitution of the Order of Canada, paragraph 3(b)(ii) disallows a nominee if the person “has been subject to official sanction, such as a fine or a reprimand, by an adjudicating body, professional association or other organization.” The Chair must have been or should have been fully aware that Dr. Henry Morgentaler was sanctioned by the Disciplinary Committee of the Professional Corporation of Physicians of Quebec. In 1976 his medical license was revoked for one year.

The letter is incorrect. The Constitution of the Order of Canada requires the Advisory Council to consider termination of an appointment to the Order of Canada in such a situation; it does not demand it. In this instance, given that Dr. Morgentaler’s sanctions and punishments were delivered for his medical practice, which society at large has since deemed acceptable, it seems likely that the Advisory Council considered the sanctions to be outdated and not relevant in current Canadian society, where support for legalized abortion polls at seventy-five to eighty-five percent.

[P]aragraph 3(b)(i) requires rejection if “the conduct of the person constituted a significant departure from generally recognized standards of public behaviour which is seen to undermine the credibility, integrity or relevance of the Order.” Dr. Morgentaler admittedly broke Canadian law for 19 years and his appointment has severely undermined the credibility of the Order and regard for the law of the land.”

Again, this is untrue; p.3(b)(1) only requires the Council to consider termination of the appointment. Further, one might point out that in such cases, traditionally one considers whether the person’s behaviour would constitute a significant departure from current recognized standards of public order, which is why this portion of the Order’s Constitution uses the word “constitutes,” rather than “constituted,” as the CFAC’s letter claims. Abortion rights in Canada are no longer particularly controversial, so Morgentaler’s actions, in retrospect, are not a significant departure.

Chief Justice McLachlin knows that the Constitution’s clause 7(4) requires that “The Council shall invite the Deputy Minister of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to participate in the review of nominations for honorary Companions, Officers and Members.” The Chair intentionally did not obey this section of the Constitution.

This is because there is no Deputy Minister of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The Ministry became a dual ministry (a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a Ministry of International Trade) in 1995, and although it has since become one ministry again, there are still separate Ministers for each of the two aspects, and with them, two Deputy Ministers. The Constitution’s Clause is outdated and has not yet been updated to reflect these changes (most likely since current governmental trends lead one to believe the two ministries will soon be recombined into one).

Furthermore, the Constitution of the Order only requires that the Council invite the Deputy Minister to participate in the review of nominations for honorary nominations to the Order. Honorary nominations are given to foreign citizens (Nelson Mandela, for example, is an honorary Companion of the Order of Canada), which is why the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade is asked to weigh in. Henry Morgentaler, last I checked, is not a foreign citizen.

Long standing Order of Canada regulations do not allow a new Advisory Council to overrule the decision of a previous Council. Two past Advisory Councils rejected Dr. Morgentaler as a nominee. Chief Justice McLachlin violated this and brought forward and approved Henry Morgentaler.

This is either ignorant or dishonest. The Council’s approval of Morgentaler in 2008 is not an “overruling” of previous Councils, no more than the Academy Awards recognizing Al Pacino in 1993 for his performance in Scent of a Woman “overruled” his failures to win an Oscar for The Godfather or Dog Day Afternoon. Justice McLachlin did not retroactively make Henry Morgentaler a member of the Order of Canada.

In the history of the Order of Canada, Advisory Council consensus has been required for approval of a nominee. At least two voices of dissent were present, however the Chair ignored the consensus norm and allowed the nominee by a vote process.

This would be noteworthy, but not explicitly disallowed under the Order’s Constitution, were there a tradition of consensus. However, according to Chief Justice McLachlin and others, there is no such tradition. Thus we have a “he-said-she-said” situation, where on one side you have a deeply respected Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and on the other an organization which attempted to represent construction companies as pro-family political committees.

The votes of dissent represented democratic voices. The Clerk of the Privy Council and the Deputy Minister of the Department of Canadian Heritage act according to the elected Government and the people of Canada. By altering process in the face of democracy the unelected Chair overruled the votes of the elected representatives.

Oddly, I don’t remember voting for the Clerk of the Privy Council or the Deputy Minister of the Department of Canadian Heritage, who were appointed by a minority government that entered office with slightly more than forty percent of the seats in Parliament and thirty-six percent of the popular vote, and who represent a populace who – and this bears repeating – support legalized abortion by a vast margin.

7. The Chief Justice compromised the Supreme Court of Canada’s neutrality, impartiality and integrity by overriding regulations to approve of abortion and Henry Morgentaler’s actions. The Chair’s vote and actions are clear indicators of her position on abortion. The current New Brunswick case regarding funding of Morgentaler’s private clinics before the court may have been impacted by her actions. There is real possibility that this case will come before the Supreme Court. If a case involving abortion or Henry Morgentaler comes to the High Court during Beverley McLachlin’s tenure the Chief Justice’s judgement is predetermined.

Of all the allegations contained within this deeply spurious letter, this is the most serious, which is no doubt why it led Chief Justice McLachlin to take the rare step of publicly addressing the matter. She explained that she did not lead discussion or even vote for Morgentaler, but merely chaired the meeting to make sure that the vote is conducted fairly. In response to this eminently reasonable answer, the Canada Family Action Coalition complained that she did not address their spurious complaints and insulted her repeatedly.

The Canada Family Action Coalition and their “42 organizations” have misrepresented themselves, misrepresented Chief Justice McLachlin and misrepresented the law. This is dishonest. More ironically, it is also un-Christian: as the Bible states in Isaiah 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

You may also like...

24 Responses

  1. Beijing York says:

    I was referred to this blog entry by POGGE. Excellent analysis.

  2. James Brink says:

    Christopher,

    Despite your otherwise worthwhile criticisms of the CFAC newsletter, I always find it a little amusing when non-Christians (I presume you fall in this category) try to “reprimand” Christians using the Bible. It would be more amusing if it weren’t for the fact that theological ignorance is one of the chief reasons for the complete communication breakdown between the devoutly religious and the devoutly not so.

    In any case, the passage you refer to in the notoriously esoteric book of Isaiah is not about “misrepresentation” of other people or the law. It is rather a call for Israel to stop seeking guidance from the dead, and start following “the law and testimony” (shorthand for the five books of Moses and the prophetic books). As the NIV translation of the Bible puts it, in context: “When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.”

    You would have been better off going with the familiar ten commandments: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

    Context, as you otherwise argue quite well in your post, is key.

  3. Also wandered over from POGGE.
    Very nice. This is the sort of reasoned, cogent argument one sees rather little of in, for instance, the press.

  4. Laura Wershler says:

    Thank you to Christopher Bird for taking the time and effort to so aptly analyze this meritless complaint against Chief Justice McLachlin. Truth, logic and facts win the day.

  5. Karol Karolak says:

    Future “Officer of the Court” Christopher Bird in his article posted on official blog of the Osgoode Hall Law School resorts to lying by omission in his attempt to defend Canada’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin, who chaired the panel that recently awarded Morgentaler the Order of Canada.

    Please read the text of the actual complaint as it is posted at this link:

    http://www.familyaction.org/PDFs/CanadianJudicialCouncilComplaint.pdf

    1. Under the Policy section of the Constitution of the Order of Canada, paragraph 3 (b) (ii) disallows a nominee if the person “has been subject to official sanction, such as a fine or a reprimand, by an adjudicating body, professional association or other organization.” The Chair must have been or should have been fully aware that Dr. Henry Morgentaler was sanctioned by the Disciplinary Committee of the Professional Corporation of Physicians of Quebec. In 1976 his medical license was revoked for one year. ****In fact, he was found guilty of “not holding a valid interview before an abortion, for failing almost completely to gather a case history of his client, for failing to perform the necessary pregnancy test or blood test, for not obtaining pathological examination of the ’tissues’ removed and for failing to follow up the state of health of his patients afterward.”****

    Please note that last part of the text quoted from actual complaint is omitted in the article above. Our budding spin doctor is trying to create an impression that he is quoting verbatim all points included in original complaint and than he attempts to “address” them one by one.

    Let me quote Christopher Bird’s defence:

    The letter is incorrect. The Constitution of the Order of Canada requires the Advisory Council to consider termination of an appointment to the Order of Canada in such a situation; it does not demand it. In this instance, given that Dr. Morgentaler’s sanctions and punishments were delivered for his medical practice, which society at large has since deemed acceptable, it seems likely that the Advisory Council considered the sanctions to be outdated and not relevant in current Canadian society, where support for legalized abortion polls at seventy-five to eighty-five percent.

    Funny how it all works Christopher Bird is so quick to accuse people who filed complaint against Court Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin as dishonest crooks and first thing he does is lies by omission. Our budding spin doctor wants us to believe that Morgentaler was sanctioned for fact of performing abortions and not for his other professional misconduct and this is why he decided to omit specifics of the complaint that show Dr. Morgentaler as greedy and unscrupulous doctor.

  6. Red Tory says:

    Brilliant.

    Oh, and I love the first comment with it’s “you don’t understand theology” argument. That one is always priceless. I prefer to substitute “irrational, superstitious mumbo-jumbo” for “theology” — it’s a more accurate description.

  7. Ti-Guy says:

    Thank you for doing the work our paid media refuses to do.

  8. Chimera says:

    I’m here on a referral by JJ at Unrepentant Old Hippie.

    Fantastic forensics, Christopher! First we find that there aren’y nearly as many of them as they want us to think (Buckets has their number down to 27, rather than 42), and now we find out that they lie through their teeth because they probably figure no one will do any fact-checking.

    I’ve seen a few of them ask why the media doesn’t report on their efforts. Maybe we should all be asking that question…you know, “The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth?”

  9. janfromthebruce says:

    Also wondered over from Pogge. Excellent factual analysis built on taking their argument apart and showing that they misconstrued their facts as means to justify their ends, and definitely not very “neighbourly” of them. But don’t let Christian morals and beliefs get in the way of false witness.

  10. Dr.Dawg says:

    Well done. I have a link at my place. Smackdown. Total smackdown.

  11. Karol: “Lying by omission” would suggest that the portion of the letter I omitted for brevity would change the situation. It does not. Even if Dr. Morgentaler’s sanctions had not come as punishment for his performance of abortions – which the medical community has long since recognized – it would not change the fact that the Advisory Council was in no way prevented from nominating Dr. Morgentaler to the Order of Canada by such sanctions, and that Chief Justice McLachlin has committed no actionable wrong.

  12. Dman says:

    God Bless You Christopher Bird for providing us with the unvarnished legal facts AND God Bless the rest of you for your painstaking and thorough work contributed to get us to the truth.

    I’m curious to know where and when the Canadian Family Action Coalition & co-conspirators plan to print their public apology to Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin, so that G&M readers along with all Canadians can be fairly and reasonably advised of this outcome.

    I trust our friends at the Globe & Mail will view this an excellent learning experience.

  13. Bene Diction says:

    Christopher, it is kind of you to refer to Charles McVety as doctor, and take him at his word.

    The question has been raised in the US and Canada about the merits of that title with the request that Charles McVety and Brian Rushfeldt be upfront with the public about these titles. Those of us who have raised this issue respectfully:

    a) request proof these doctorates (honourary) come from legitimate institutions as opposed to diploma mills.
    b) respectfully request traditional media fact check our data and refrain from using these titles when referring to these gentlemen until the gentlemen provide the appropriate documentation.

    Thank you for this post.

  14. JJ says:

    Thanks again Christopher, this was an absolutely brilliant smackdown.

  15. Krinn DNZ says:

    Mr. Brink, I should point out that while the theological argument you make is relatively sound, it is generally a mistake to attribute any cares for sound theology to the pack of malicious rascals commonly known as the Christian Right. My view of them is a bit jaundiced, being an American, but it’s a rare day when anyone sees a sound bit of theology out of the whole mendacious passel of bibliolaters, much less a sound bit of logic or reasoning in the general sense. They are implacable foes of the common good, and deserve to be laughed out of every forum of serious discussion and stripped of any sort of post of responsibility: they are not fit for it.

    Also, Mr. Bird probably chose the Isaiah verse on account of its poetic way of stating the point rather than because of its Talmudic force. He, too, knows that the Christian Right care not one whit for the the Law nor the Prophets nor the Ten Commandments.

  16. Roland Stefani says:

    Christopher, what proof do we have that the Advisory Council considered termination of the Order of Canada for Morgentaler, as you indicate is required by law?

    You merely assume they did. Your explanation that abortion is not controversial today would not excuse the Advisory Council. In fact, the information you say you excluded for brevity does not accuse Morgentaler for performing an abortion as you state, but for professional malpractice as a doctor.

    Morgentaler acted unprofessionally and could have harmed his patient. (I am assuming that the list provided by Karol Karolak is complete and does not include abortion). Presumably such behaviour is still unacceptable. If the Advisory Council regards this as non controversial and irrelevant, then it is in need of a personnel change.

    Further, you quote the polls in a biased way. While Canadians accept abortion to a significant extent…46% want no restrictions, the majority (52%) according to the most recent poll (http://angusreidstrategies.com/uploads/pages/pdfs/2008.06.20_Abortion.pdf) want significant restrictions. Abortion remains a sufficiently controversial issue in Canada. It follows that the Advisory Council had an ideological bias in desiring to honor Morgentaler.

    While the Dr Vety will have to explain his impressive list which you ridicule, it does seem that CFAC is justified in challenging the advisory council in view of what little has been publicly revealed. Why you have attempted a valiant defense of Judge McLachlin, she has not herself addressed the points you made. If it is not beneath her, I am interested in learning if she too compares to order of Canada to an repeated Academy award nomination.

  17. Roland:

    1.) The information I excluded re: Morgentaler’s “professional malpractice” charges followed from his refusal to perform procedures that applied to surgically necessary abortions Canada permitted in certain circumstances at the time, and which were given to him specifically as punishment for performing abortions. (This is all in the public record now.) Considering that these charges were essentially systemic persecution of his performance of abortions and thus tied to the charges of which he has since been exonerated, etc.

    2.) Your most recent poll link doesn’t even agree with the numbers you quoted. According to that link, which I have open in front of me right now, 49 percent (not 46) want abortion legal under any circumstances, and 47 percent want either some restrictions or want it to be illegal (page 5 of 11). According to the first question, 46 percent want it legal under any circumstances and 48 percent want it illegal in some or all circumstances.

    The problem is that the first question also divides the people who want it to be illegal in some circumstances and the people who want it to be illegal in most or all circumstances very easily: 29 percent want it to be illegal in most or all circumstances, and 19 percent want it to be illegal in some circumstances, but moreso than allowing abortions only in cases of rape or incest.

    Other polling over time has shown that that 19 percent is almost wholly worried about the prospect of easily available second- or third-trimester abortions, which are obviously more horrific than first-trimester abortions (I say this not to trivialize first-trimester abortions, but come on: the mental imagery involved in later-term abortions is scarier and uglier and we all know it). However, said other research has also demonstrated that when that 19 percent learns that second- and third-trimester are practically never performed where there is not a significant medical risk involved in the mother potentially giving birth, their objection to legal abortion drops to almost zero. Pro-lifers are frankly just wrong to claim these as being “on their side” when their only agreement is borne out of misinformation.

    And finally, while I grant that the 29 percent mark is definitely higher than most other polling on this issue, it’s also a definite outlier, and without a few more polls in the 25-30 percent range to back it up, it should be treated as such. Support for criminalizing abortion has stayed consistently in the 15-25 percent range in Canada for almost two decades now; one recent poll simply isn’t enough proof for your assertion of popular support.

    3.) Chief Justice (not Judge) McLachlin might not compare it to repeated Academy Award nominations, but so what? “Overruled” has a very specific meaning within the law: it means altering a previously made decision, and what has happened here with the Order of Canada has not done that. The historical record on Dr. Morgentaler’s nomination to the Order of Canada will read that he was submitted for nomination twice and rejected twice previous to his acceptance into the Order in 2008.

    4. and last) And ultimately all of this is meaningless because all that needs to be demonstrated is that the Advisory Council exercised due diligence in considering Morgentaler as a candidate. Those two individuals who voted against Morgentaler may have protested the decision and disagreed with it, but even they haven’t accused the Advisory Council of not taking their jobs seriously or performing them poorly.

  18. James Brink says:

    Krinn DNZ,

    While I do not know the extent of your experience with or among the so-called “Christian Right”, your response would be appropriate when it comes to a number of individuals, particularly among the leadership (or those who claim leadership, since “leadership” in the Christian Right is more a matter of marketing than hierarchy). However, to paint all politically conservative (and politically active, which they have a right to be) Christians as “malicious rascals” and “implacable foes of the common good” comes disturbingly close to bigotry.

    This is basically my point. Tolerance isn’t worth a wooden nickel if it applies exclusively to those you agree with and admire. It’s when you vehemently dissent from, and personally detest, another’s opinion that both tolerance and understanding are called on to do the heavy lifting.

    After all, even if everything you say about right-wing Christians is true, why would you want to be as malicious as they are? Doesn’t it make sense that generosity be a moral quality of the professed liberal?

  19. Brian Rushfeldt says:

    I thought you may want to publish some facts :

    We thank Colby Cosh for re-clarifying comments judge McLachlin made regarding her role on the Order of Canada Advisory Council. However, notably absent in his column were several key facts.

    Canada Family Action Coalition (CFAC) operated with the best evidence available to us on August 13 when we filed the complaint with the Canadian Judicial Council. Some information came from news stories (one from the National Post); some from past council decisions, and some from the Constitution of the Order. All attempts we made to confirm the accuracy of information were stonewalled. We were stonewalled by the governor general’s office and the justice. Requests for information under the Freedom of Access to Information failed. We were informed the Governor General is exempt from requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, which allows her to operate in a code of secrecy. Additionally, a one-liner on GG webpage states, “All deliberations of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada, as well as for any Canadian honour, are confidential.”

    The major concern for CFAC and others who supported the letter is what was missing from the selective writing of Colby Cosh, the selective public response of McLachlin, and what seems to be an avoidance of facts by some media and academics defending McLachlin.

    The letter of complaint’s point one and two are based upon the Policy Section 3 (b) (i) and (ii) of the Constitution which says:
    3. The Advisory Council shall consider the termination of a person’s appointment to the Order of Canada if (b) the conduct of the person
    (i) constitutes a significant departure from generally-recognized standards of public behaviour which is seen to undermine the credibility, integrity or relevance of the Order,or
    (ii) has been subject to official sanction, such as a fine or a reprimand, by an adjudicating body, professional association or other organization.
    The conduct in 3 b(i) may be debated. Cosh and some others argue Morgentaler’s conduct did not seem to depart from generally recognized standards. But Morgentaler himself admitted to violating the laws of Canada for some 18 years before he was exonerated and the law struck down by a court. Surely the chief judge and Advisory Council don’t approve of that conduct to change laws ?
    The conduct in 3 b(ii) is certainly not open to debate. It is a legal fact that Morgentaler was sanctioned by the Disciplinary Committee of the Professional Corporations of Physicians in Quebec. His medical license was revoked for one year and not because he was doing abortions.

    So at issue is conduct of the Advisory Council which ignored the law that it operates under. McLachlin said her role “is to make sure the meeting runs well and fairly and that the vote is taken fairly – and not to weigh in for, or against, any particular candidate.” Surely as chair and judge her role would also include ensuring the Council obeyed the law.

    Judge McLachlin Chairs the Council, Chair’s the Canadian Judicial Council, and is Chief Justice. To have a code of secrecy around her conduct is not acceptable. The public needs to be reassured of judicial impartiality and fairness. That happens with transparency not secrecy. Hence the need for investigation.

    Since Morgentaler was wrongly awarded the honor, termination of the award should now occur. Reprimands for those involved for not following the Policy and law should also occur. Asking people to obey the law is not a “ludicrous attack” as stated in the Cosh piece.

  20. Roland Stefani says:

    Christoper, responding to your numbered points:

    1) Today, one is more likely to encounter a systemic whitewash. When I review the list of malpractice charges against Morgentaler listed in Karol Karolak’s post, namely:

    • not holding a valid interview before an abortion,
    • failing almost completely to gather a case history of his client,
    • failing to perform the necessary pregnancy test or blood test,
    • not obtaining pathological examination of the ’tissues’ removed, and
    • failing to follow up the state of health of his patients afterward,

    I still find it hard to believe such charges by his peers would be made if the charges did not have substance, even if Morgentalers peers at the time were motivated to suppress abortion. These were serious charges and truth was a defence at that time.

    Furthermore I notice that Brian Rushfeld (of CFAC fame who submitted the complaint regarding Chief Justice McLachlin) has a post just above this post, and for Rushfeldt concerning Morgentaler, the malpractice charges were ”not because he was doing abortions”. You seem confident that your view of this question is already a matter of public record, but I expect there will be more about this in the news in the near future to refresh our memory.

    2) It is too early to declare victory, but you are correct about the poll numbers. I was just doing a quick check and picked up on this quote at the very beginning of the poll report:

    “Almost half of respondents (46%) believe abortion should be permitted in all cases. Roughly two-in-five Canadians (19%) would subject abortion to greater restrictions than now, 22 per cent would allow the procedure only in cases such as rape, incest and to save the woman’s life, and seven per cent would only permit abortion to save the woman’s life.”

    But I would say that questions about what should be “permitted “ are more representative of the population’s feelings on the rightness of abortion, whereas questions on ‘legality’ introduces a bias because of the spectre of punishment of the mother, whatever that implies for one.

    Time will tell if this poll is an outlier. I take the view that the current weather is a good indicator of tomorrow’s weather. It may be that support for abortion has peaked. It may be that attempts to suppress debate on campuses reflects a desperation at the though of losing.

    3) Granted.

    4) If CFAC case is correct then due diligence will not be demonstrated and primary responsibility will be with McLachlin.

    My main point remains it is not proper to give an national award for something that 2 of 5 Canadians have serious reservations about. At best, it was premature, and therefore the judgment of the Advisory Council is questionable.

  21. Brian:

    But Morgentaler himself admitted to violating the laws of Canada for some 18 years before he was exonerated and the law struck down by a court. Surely the chief judge and Advisory Council don’t approve of that conduct to change laws?

    Morgentaler admitted to violating laws which were later found to be unjust. We do not, as a rule, continue to punish people for violating unjust laws after they are repealed, as that would be both hypocritical and stupid.

    I am also dreadfully amused by your complaint about the “selective writing of Colby Cosh.” As any follower of the SCC knows, Cosh is far and away its most prominent conservative critic. Any “selectiveness” on his part wouldn’t be liberally inclined.

    Roland:

    Firstly, I would recommend Catherine Dunphy’s extremely objective biography of Morgentaler to you if you hadn’t read it to get a sense of how opposed the medical community was to Morgentaler – in some cases out of principle, in other cases out of fear of allowing someone to “rock the boat.”

    Secondly, for a good depiction of support for abortion trends in general, I recommend this site:

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/abopollca.htm

    It measures trends using Life Canada’s yearly poll, and Life Canada’s poll tends to skew in favour of pro-life attitudes thanks to stacked questions (the question on informed consent laws is particularly slanted, and they don’t ask at any point where individuals support the legal right to an abortion but instead phrase the question in terms of “where life begins,” a questioning technique that has been pretty conclusively shown to bump results towards a pro-life conclusion). Even then, support for the concept of life beginning at conception peaked in 2002.

    If CFAC case is correct then due diligence will not be demonstrated

    Except that CFAC’s case is not correct. Again, we’re talking about an organization that felt the need to misrepresent its popular support and purposefully misquote the statutory law of Canada in their initial letter. Treating them as a party acting in good faith is idiotic.

    My main point remains it is not proper to give an national award for something that 2 of 5 Canadians have serious reservations about.

    Try one in three, and that’s being generous.

    For purposes of comparison, the number of people supporting elective legal abortion to a reasonable degree in Canada is about twenty percent higher than ever voted for Pierre Trudeau, a Companion of the Order of Canada.

  22. Gerry Laarakker says:

    This debate reminds me of Mike Stivik’s statement: “Thank God I’m an atheist.” That’s from “All in the family” if you are under 50.

    I echo Red Torys comment. I also ask the same question as many others in these comments have, “where do these doctorates these evangelicals sport come from?” Do they just give them to each other? Can their theses be found anywhere?

    I am not impressed with the evangelical brand of Christianity of TV fame. For instance, have you ever watched van Impe and his wife? BOTH doctors now, he rattles of biblical verses with great speed. Try writing down the verses and checking them later – these verses (or that particular preacher) simply make no sense in the context quoted. He just does not expect you to check the facts.

    Wouldn’t you love to see a peer reviewed article by McVety and these characters? And not one reviewed by his buddies, of course.

    The Christian right wing attack on Justice McLachlin is both spurious and scurilous. Her ethics are beyond reproach. Their views originate from a particular interpretation of a book that many consider fiction and subject to many different interpretations; why else would there be about 500 different brands of Christianity? If you oppose abortion, so be it. May I suggest every person acts according to their own beliefs and precepts?

    Justice McLachlan did not ignore the law; the Christian right is economical with the truth, and where the truth doesn’t fit, they simply make up their own.

  23. Roland Stefani says:

    Christopher:

    OK, be generous if you wish. My main point remains it is not proper to give an national award for something that 1 of 3 Canadians have serious reservations about. Premature, at best.

    I have not looked at the Life Canada polls recently. Probably the Life Canada polls want to probe deeper into real attitudes about abortion, that may contradict with each individual’s position on legality. In that case, questions about legality may be too blunt. To insist on the question of legality is itself a bias.

    Yes, Ill look at your references, and I appreciate having them. However, even if Morgentaler was mistreated, it makes not a whit of difference to the validity and justice of abortion. That would be confounding two separate issues of justice. The justice of abortion is far from being validated. The debate on abortion is far from over. The question of a women’s right to choose is full of holes, and its purported benefits discredited by actual practice subsequent to the Supreme Court Morgentaler decision.

  24. David says:

    I’m not surprised to see the Rev Audrey Mabley exagerate and use misleading information to get her way. The Rev Mabley suffers from several mental ilneses, including ; Delusions of Grandure, and Being a Controle Freak. In short she should be in therapy and not on the pulpet preaching her kind of faith.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *