Chipping away at our Canadian Democracy

David Frum is a Canadian born, living in the USA, author who just released a book about Donald Trump that details his attacks on the pillars of Democracy in the USA. There has been a lot of press about this lately and it has all been focused on the USA.

Last week, Canada experienced another chipping away at our Canadian Democracy by our Federal Government and as lawyer, this one has me smokin’ mad.

In case you’re not Canadian, or have not heard, on February 9, 2018 a Saskatchewan farmer was acquitted of murder charges in the death of an Indigenous Youth on his property. This acquittal was by a jury of 12 non-Indigenous people, who listened to evidence presented to them for two weeks. The Jurors deliberated for over 30 hours. During the deliberations they re-heard testimony, at their request, and then returned with a not guilty verdict.

Canada’s Justice Minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould tweeted after the verdict:

” My thoughts are with the family of Colton Boushie tonight. I truly feel your pain and I hear all of your voices. As a country we can and must do better – I am committed to working everyday to ensure justice for all Canadians.”

This statement makes it clear that our Justice Minister believes that the verdict was wrong. Subsequent tweets from the Prime Minister have implied that the 12 jurors were racist.

This is political interference in the Judicial System. This is an attack on Democracy.

As lawyers we are bound by Rules of Conduct that specifically prevent us from making comments that would bring the administration of justice into disrepute. Our Minister of Justice and Prime Minster just did that.

Minister Wilson-Raybould should be removed from her role given the violation and the Law Society of BC should open a disciplinary investigation.

Inga B. Andriessen JD