Thomas Mulcair and the Supreme Court - Macleans.ca

Thomas Mulcair and the Supreme Court

The NDP leader explains his questions about the court

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Over the weekend, Emmett Macfarlane questioned the wisdom of Thomas Mulcair’s decision to question the Supreme Court in regards to new questions around the Patriation Reference.

Yesterday, after QP, Mr. Mulcair was questioned about all of this.

What we’re doing is standing up foursquare in defence of the independence of the Supreme Court. We want to make sure that these documents that Canada does have are made public, that all this is put in the full light of day. We have a version that has come to us from England, full documents that have been provided to a Canadian historian. We want to make sure that the Canadian documents are put out as well. I wasn’t the only person to note that a laconic press release of several lines on a Friday afternoon at 4:30 didn’t do a lot to reassure people but that’s why we’re continuing the work today. Françoise Boivin, our Justice Critic, has written to the other parties, not only the official parties represented in the House but also to the Bloc and to Madame May of the Greens to make sure that everyone is requested. So we’ve asked all parties to help us move forward and get the full answer to this. That is the fundamental question here. It’s respect of our judicial institution to make sure that the separation of powers is fully respected in our country and that’s what we’re hoping to get an answer on…

What we’re trying to do is to establish whether the version that has been provided by Great Britain in very concrete documents is exactly what is borne through by the Canadian documents that do exist. We know that. They’ve just been blanked out, redacted, I guess is the word. So we want to make sure that those full documents are put forward for public view so people understand what took place. It’s important to defend our democratic institutions, to defend the independence of the judiciary and of course above all the independence of the Supreme Court from interference or communication between the executive and the judiciary.

Look, all you have to note is the fact that we had a Native Affairs Minister who recently stepped down for having written to the tax court. There have been cases of Liberals and Conservatives before that with communication between the court. That independence of the judiciary has to operate both ways. We’re standing up foursquare in defence of the independence of the judiciary. We want all Canadians to know if the Canadian documents confirm what has already been provided by Great Britain.