In a rare display of self-awareness, the chief justice of Canada’s Supreme Court, Beverley McLachlin acknowledged that Canadians were disenfranchised from their justice systems, and the country risked losing the interests of its citizens to cynicism and lawlessness (well she didn’t say that, I did).
Speaking at an annual conference of the Canadian Bar Association, McLachlin stated,
“Being able to access justice is fundamental to the rule of law. If people decide they can’t get justice, they will have less respect for the law… They will tend not to support the rule of law. They won’t see the rule of law, which is so fundamental to our democratic society, as central and important.”
This may be a wake-up call to the Canadian justice system, but is this a surprise to anyone? When every sports event (victory or defeat) is greeted with wholesale riots and plundering? When students take to the streets over a $300 unpaid debt?
Yes, the American justice system is overly litigious, but if Canada had even a modicum of its power I wouldn’t be sitting here blogging about what should have happened 34-years-ago. My parents would have sued the institutions responsible for my sister’s sorry outcome; an inept education system, and a corrupt justice system. But these institutions are teflon, and our legal system gives us no recourse but to resign ourselves to bitter complacency.
McLachlin’s comments are a welcomed breath of fresh air, but toothless without any ideas for reform. I truly hope someone takes up the torch and holds Ottawa’s feet to the fire on this one.