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.”