“…non-partisanship and constitutional knowledge were key… ‘A blatant partisan would not have made it’… ‘The members were guided by one key question…: “Will the next Governor General be able to serve without partisanship?”‘…When asked why the Prime Minister would include the directive about partisanship, Mr. Soudas replied that it is because the position is non-partisan…Ned Franks, who was not consulted, said that by raising the issue of partisanship, the government gave the committee a crucial understanding that candidates with strong partisan ties would be discouraged…’My impression is that the committee would probably consider strong previous partisanship as a … handicap’…”
Does anybody else feel a sudden urge to check their wallets? Now here’s the fun thing. After repeating eight times the phoned-in claim that this is all about non-partisanship, the Globe cheerfully lists — for the second time in three days — the members of the super-non-super-anti-don’t-even-think-about-partisanship committee without lifting a finger to tell us about them.
Three minutes’ googling would tell you Chris Manfredi and Rainer Knopff have built long and fruitful careers drinking each other’s intellectual bathwater and that, while Manfredi’s “lessons on the power of the courts and judicial appointments were constantly helpful” to Ian Brodie, he didn’t put his signature after Ted Morton’s and Stephen Harper’s on the Alberta firewall letter. But Knopff did.
Here’s Manfredi testifying before a Commons committee on Supreme Court appointments — not the same, but germane. He tosses cold water on the notion that such appointments could ever be non-political, arguing instead for transparency in the selection process.
To me, none of this delegitimizes any aspect of the process that led to David Johnston’s selection. I sort of figured a Conservative prime minister would turn to Conservatives in his choice of an important appointment. The people on the selection committee weren’t staring loons; those are all on the Rights and Democracy board. But shooing Dimitri Soudas away while turning to Rainer Knoppf is a distinction without a difference, and a Sunday devoted to extravagant claims of non-partisanship is a Sunday spent trying desperately to change the channel from one of the most disgusting editorial endorsements of the past 30 years. And it worked a charm, didn’t it.
Reporters aren’t actually required to be stenographers when writing about all this.