20 February 2006

Reforming the judicial appointment process

Given the rigidity of our constitution acts, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is promising a more incremental and informal type of constitutional change by permitting a special parliamentary committee to question future Supreme Court appointees. Good move. All the same, given that "the committee will not have the power to confirm or quash the nomination after it questions the prospective judge", this proposal will do nothing to rein in the vast powers of a prime minister. Which only goes to show: however reform-minded a party leader may be in the opposition benches, once he tastes the powers of high office, he becomes reluctant to relinquish any of these to others — even to those to whom he is formally answerable.

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