Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Singhing for my supper, Part Un

The Pithlord takes requests.

Oh, he'd rather not. But the Pithlord knows his low station in the blogosphere. Anonymous part-timers who refer to themselves in the third person, using Star Wars-inspired handles no less, cannot afford to be choosy. With a chosen area of interest of Canadian constitutional arcana, one cannot help be aware that one's social standing ranks below that of the Secretary-Treasurer of the Grade 10 Dungeons & Dragons Club.

The reader asks:

Been reading some righties who say the Singh decision was *textbook* [expletive deleted] judicial arrogation, expansion or power-grabbing bloat. That no real jurisprudentialist could interpret the Charter's "persons" to mean "all passersby, visitors and even petitioners are kidnapped into Canadianism and may at any time draw from the scanty, the limited, the put-upon public purse," into which the natives, I remind you, must tithe on pain of Kingston Pen.

I bet these ideologues are eliding some part of the Singh thing. Wanna give me a quick, non-goofy précis? Yes, you'll be marked. And Colby Cosh will give you a tentative little wave and try to approach you at parties, and you'll pretend you don't see him.

The Pithlord was raised to respect the social graces, and so wishes to preface his précisifying with thanks to the reader for his confidence in my eventual position in the Canblogger primate hierarchy, but most of all for braving the right-Canuckosphere to come back with such chilling reports. As Jack Pickersgill accurately, albeit arrogantly, noted, Tories are like mumps--you get them once a generation. Their time being the present, the Pithlord is glad to know a mump expert.

The furthest the Pithlord has yet ventured was into Andrew Coyne's comment threads. Unfortunately some minor electoral success had got the locals all riled up. The Timbits-treasuring Tories triumphalist denigration of adequately-caffienated beverages ("lattés are worse than capital gains taxes", "people who don't order double doubles should be disenfranchised", and similar drivel) annoyed the Pithlord. The election had already seriously divided Canadians on beverage-preference lines, and I was late for a same-sex wedding reception where I was to discuss with some top Grit bagpersons how we could blow Alberta's oil wealth on paving contracts in Shawinigan on our inevitable return to power, so perhaps my impending exposure to the work of Gloria Gaynor made me grumpy. In any event, I typed out "You can pry my no fat grande cappucino from my cold, dead fingers, so con" and pressed the Post button. Needless to say, it isn't just ethnic watering holes in the Dufferin-Bloor area where the Pithlord is unwelcome anymore.

But enough prefacing. Is the righties' critique of Singh on the money or not? At this point, the Pithlord needs to confess that he cannot live up to his name. On such a sensitive issue, it is better to be substantive than pithy. The reader has provoked me to a four-part blogathon (five parts, if you count this meandering preamble). The subsequent posts will attempt to show that:

1. The righties have unerringly picked the aspect of Wilson's judgment in Singh which is most undeniably beyond reproach. There really is no way to interpret "Everyone" in section 7 of the Charter such that it excludes applicants for refugee status. The other parts of Wilson's decision, although more open to reasonable dispute, do not contain an obvious logical flaw.

2. Nonetheless, Singh was a mistake, and has contributed to the clusterf**k that is our immigration policy.

3. The root of the problem was that Wilson (and Beetz too) acted too much like "real jurisprudentialists" and not enough like the cunning politicians that the Charter requires judges to be.

4. The whole thing could be sorted out by a federal government with the will to do so. In other words, the problem (at least here) isn't the Charter, so much as the political system's preference to have these hot potatoes dealt with by people in Santa Claus outfits.

Picture of Jon Cary as DJ taken by Nathaniel Meo of Utopium Photography, and donated into the public domain. Thanks, dudes. Pithlord biographical details may or may not be completely fictional.

No comments: