Contemptuously serving the governing party

Chief Justice Lance Finch issued a release defending Gordon Campbell’s appointment to the Order of British Columbia. Finch’s effort at exculpation is a rare event. For the most part, Superior Court judges disdain the need for rationality, honesty and explanation to the public of issues before them. Seldom do judges respond to public outcries. When they do, responses are infamous for emphasizing some facts while ignoring others. Finch does that now.

BC’s Chief Justice and associates, loyal members of the aristocracy, know damn well that in breaking the conventions of OBC appointments, they were serving political interests of the governing party and being contemptuous toward citizens. The timing is unfortunate because recent complicity of BC’s Superior Courts in resolving the Basi/Virk case seriously degraded public respect for administration of the law in this province.

Beverly McLachlin, Canada’s highest judge agreed that public confidence in the system of justice is essential and told a Toronto legal conference that courts typically fail ordinary citizens of the nation:

“We have wonderful justice for corporations and for the wealthy.”

Finch’s absolute lack of contrition over the Campbell affair will surprise no one. He displays his preference to serve the rich and powerful and seemingly cares nothing about the views and interests of others. Lance Finch reinforces the impression that Supreme Court Justice McLachlin spoke about.

Massachusetts lawyer Valeriano Diviacchi had persuasive words about some of the men and women who populate benches of high courts,

“A judge, whether appointed or elected, conservative or liberal, is primarily a politician and only secondary, if at all, an attorney. They accept illusion as practically more important than substance. They got their job by understanding who the powers-that-be are and making that power happy. They worked and work within the system and are part of the system. Any mind set that would cause them to see and appreciate a view contrary to their own or outside the system and really disturb it, not just nominally or ephemerally cause a politically correct ripple, but to really have a completely contrary view is beyond their nature or they would not have gotten the judgeship.”

Alex Tsakumis must surely be the sharpest media critic writing about public affairs in this province. He recently wrote a profile of Gordon Campbell that no mainstream journalist would have had nerve to create or power to publish. He followed that classic with an epilogue that includes this:

“The legal point being relied upon by the Chief Justice of BC, Hon. Lance Finch, is a very narrow one, and certainly would be quite arguable in court. If at the genesis of the process of applying, Mr. Campbell was ineligible–as he was still an elected official, then why bother with such a process in the first place? If the decision as to who to appoint is made by a BC Liberal star-chamber, that includes the Chief Justice himself, then, my God, we truly are a banana republic. If the law to allow for an non-elected to be appointed to the ‘Order of BC’ (so long as that elected is not so at the moment of appointment), supersedes the rules at initiation, then why bother noting the process rules at all? It then becomes a question of application validity, which, extraordinarily, the Chief Justice does not even address in his public comments. This is a total outrage that cannot possibly be lost on a man with the legal experience and gravitas of Mr. Justice Finch. For shame.”

Categories: Justice

8 replies »

  1. I had just read Finch's statement … in other words, I was still angry … when I wrote this on my blog:

    Get this! Here's a Chief Justice who, in effect, is ruling on his own decision [to award an O.B.C. to Campbell]. And even worse, he's telling the people to stfu, buzz off, and let the grown-ups deal with these matters.

    Thanks for the validation.


  2. Just proves my contention that BC judges can be bought and sold like BC politicians.

    There is no rule of law, no honor, no justice just corrupt officials and their lick-spittle cronies who do as they wish.


  3. Rather few judges and politicians can be bought or sold. Judges may be too protected in their ivory towers and, in government, problems come from people too long near the top. They feel entitled and become arrogant and greedy if unchecked by powerful FOI and a vigorous media.

    A few years ago, I was in regular contact with a Supreme Court Judge whom I still regard with respect and admiration. That person is not the only judge with high principles and I've read through enough reasons for judgment to know this is a difficult, precise job and the best jurist will never please all.

    While active in partisan politics years ago, I met a few great politicians and a number of near greats. In the sixties,federal NDP leader Tommy Douglas turned up unexpectedly at the Brock Hall room for UBC political clubs. He was unannounced, brought no retinue and chatted with people of all political stripes. His style was intelligent, respectful and humorous. I wasn't NDP but I sure admired that guy. He served the public for decades and his greatest reward was respect from most Canadians.

    Eric Kierans was a federal Liberal worth admiring and I played a part in electing MP Paul St. Pierre, a fabulous person perhaps too principled for partisan politics. I communicate privately with a few current BC MLA's and do not question their commitment to achieve positive achievements for the province.

    I think the system needs an overhaul to improve the importance of elected people and decrease the status of officials, aides and lobbyists. We'd have better government.

    At any rate Evil Eye, while many situations we face are frustrating, let's regard the good while we chase after the bad. We can hold feet to the fire without losing faith in the good things around us. BC is a fine place to live despite its need for improvement


  4. I think we learned a lot about the BC judicial system, and about BC judges as well. If Campbell's theft and corrupt sale of the BCR trial is any indication of judges morals and ethics….I rest my case.

    In BC, there are few politicians, that are worth the powder to blow them to hell. Especially the Campbell/Clarke BC Liberals.

    The BC Liberal ministers and mla's, all sat with their fingers up their noses, while Campbell completely destroyed this province.

    Now we had Falcon on TV saying, there will have to be slashes, because we won the HST referendum. But, the BC Liberals, will NOT take a cut in their salary's. Falcon will NOT make the elite and big business pay their fair share of taxes. Of course not,why???? when they can thieve from the citizens, and force them to pay for these useless politicians.

    The outrageous salary's and buy outs, are disgusting I am sick of Falcons whining. Campbell, Hansen and Harper forced the HST, regardless of how the people protested, we were already taxed to death.

    Besides, the BC people didn't make a deal with the devil, Campbell and Hansen did. Why should the BC people, have to pay Harper for stealing from us???


  5. Actually Mr. Farrell, in the municipality where I live, it seems the entire municipal council and senior bureaucracy are “on the take” from a certain developer.

    Not only does he generously gives to their (re)election coffers, he wines and dines senior bureaucrats with free seats at major sporting events such the Stanley cup. He or his many companies puts on golfing events for municipal staff and antes up for the mayor's pet projects.

    Under provincial municipal law it seems, this is all legal, but certainly not moral or ethical.

    This certain developer gets a free ride with council and woe to anyone who catches them out on technicalities, like public hearings.

    I think the amount of political corruption is far higher than you think, most of it hidden away in political donations or tickets to special events, with a nudge, nudge, wink, wink, for future considerations.

    As for the courts, it is no secret that many police types think they have been infiltrated by organized crime.

    Let's face it, BC's push for casino's has nothing to do about tourism, but has everything to do with the murky world of money laundering and organized crime, which now with on line gambling, money laundering can be done in the comfort of your home.

    On the take is alive and well in BC.


  6. Norm:

    I'd like to borrow your powerful statement on behalf of honesty and integrity wherever we find it in B.C.

    God knows I understand the feelings of sorrow and loss in B.C. today. What I can't understand is the rush (on the part of some) to accept the loss and ourselves as losers. I do believe it's the result of the relentless brain-washing which goes on and on, in Big Media.

    I've tried (at my place) to talk about the power of positive imagery, to talk about things we can do to improve matters, but never feeling that I had made the issues clearer. The hand-wringing continued.

    That's why I hope you won't mind if I re-post your comment (above) next time somebody tells me to accept the worst because it is, was, and always will be bad, bad, bad.


  7. BC Mary, you particularly are always welcome to reprint from Northern Insights. Of course, it is all published under a creative commons license as shown at the bottom so content can be used by any non commercial publisher. Only attribution, no payment, is necessary.


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