Re: Don't turn to court for all the answers, letter to the editor, April 27
Letter writer Steven Austin is rightly concerned about an activist high court's growing propensity to "legislate from the bench."
Given the de facto, if not de jure, stranglehold the Supreme Court of Canada has over popular democratic politics, judicial activism in Canada won't be checked as long as we fail to address the question of who is in charge of a charter, which, by way of political default, effectively transferred governance from Parliament to the court, all but guaranteeing the domination of special interest groups.
While all charter rights are intended to be subject to "such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society," our all-purpose Charter of Rights and Freedoms under the court's jurisdiction has, in fact, opened the floodgates of virtually unrestrained litigation throughout the land on every conceivable claim of perceived rights violations.
As for the invocation of the dreaded "notwithstanding clause" in the event of the Supreme Court of Canada finding against government social policy?
Sadly, such democratic excess is not going to happen in Ottawa anytime soon, and the charter's "notwithstanding clause" will continue to gather dust as a legitimate and readily available political means of progressive constitutional amendments in Canada.