Some people simply don’t know how to learn a lesson. After a volatile election campaign which saw some high profile political suicides, it is amazing that someone who has been elected to our parliament can still find a way to place a grenade in their mouth and pull the pin.
You would think that having had the occasion to watch the likes of Mike Klander and Caroyln Parrish torpedo their own boats, that one would be more than a little careful before opening one’s mouth. That lesson apparently hasn’t been learned by all.
The latest to hang himself with his tongue is none other than Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott. In an interview with the CBC over the weekend, Mr. Vellacott found it necessary to embellish a story about our highest judge, Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin.
It seems that Mr. Vellacott does not have a whole lot of respect for our highest court. I must state right off that neither do I. But having a lack of respect for the top judge in the land is one thing. Putting words into her mouth is quite another. What was this man thinking? Did he not perhaps think that somebody would call him on his tale?
During a taped interview in which the subject of judicial activism arose, Mr. Vellacott stated the following: “Beverley McLachlin herself actually said that when they step into [a judicial activist] role, all of a sudden there’s some mystical kind of power that comes over them by which everything they ever decreed is not to be questioned and they actually have these discerning and almost prophetic abilities to be able to come and know the mind of the public and they take on almost these godlike powers. She said that herself. I didn’t say that.”
Again, I have no problem buying into the god complex within the chambers of any supreme court. There resides within those chambers a handful of judges who can change the course of a nation and the entire world and I believe that they believe they have a duty to make decisions that will further certain social causes. I have no problem in following the claims of judicial activism.
I must state that it is quite another thing to begin a sentence which contains one’s own opinions with “Beverly McLachlin herself actually said..” and then end the sentence with “She said that herself. I didn’t say that.” Were I to pretend that I had the qualifications of a shrink, I would likely think that Mr. Vellacott has an ongoing problem with the truth. To state twice that somebody really said something and then to back that up with “I didn’t say that” is truly troubling. It sounds like he was trying to convince not only the viewers, but himself as well.
Mr. Vellacott has not been immune from endangering his own career before now. His comments in the past have angered the native community in our country, and he has displayed a callous disregard in how he offers up his opinion on that subject. In 2000, when a native man was found frozen to death, Maurice suggested that the man was drunk and fell asleep. It later turned out that he was dropped there by a couple of police officers. Why he was chosen to be the head of the government’s aboriginal committee is beyond me.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has sadly dropped the ball on this one by claiming that Vellacott was speaking for himself, not the government. Unfortunately, things don’t work that way, not in politics. When one of your MP’s open their mouth, it is the government’s voice that the people hear. You know that, Mr. Harper. You were all over the Liberals for Carolyn Parrish, as you should have been. It is now time to be all over your own MP. This is his mess, and as an accountability expert, you should insist that he pick up the tab.