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Jan Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 15 ward look at the facts. The flurry of unwarranted attacks on the judiciary is what is unprecedented these days, not judges performing the very function they are constitutionally and statutorily empowered to perform. The facts are available to anyone who wants them, and anyone who thinks a considered analysis of constitutional law is not warranted in such a case clearly has a complete lack of interest in constitutional democracy, not to mention a total misunderstanding of the role of the courts. On this side of the pond, we recently heard a Provincial Court judge recommend that students from grades 1 to 12 should be required to take an annual course in the institutions of Canadian democracy. We think this is a commendable idea. Such an initiative would go a long way toward ensuring that when students become members of the electorate, they will be informed about how the systems of democracy work and appreciate the roles of the various players in those systems. Ignorance about the workings of a representative democracy, the distinction between government and Parliament, and the role of an independent judiciary can be the only explanation for why in the UK these three High Court justices have been so slandered by the press. We need only look to the south of the 49th parallel to see the horrific results of a post-truth world. It is up to those of us who work within the constitutional democracy largely inherited from Britain to stand up when its various branches are unfairly attacked. This is particularly so when judges, who are unable to defend themselves publicly, come under fire from an uninformed and scandal-seeking media. Do not think for one moment that it cannot happen here. We must be vigilant; we must remain critical. And as we do all that we can to keep our fellow citizens informed, we should encourage our educational institutions to educate the future electorate. ENDNOTES 1. R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, 2016 EWHC 2768 (Admin); under t t t t t appeal at the time of writing. 2. Ibid at para 20. 3. (UK), c 68. 4. Technically the European Communities Act 1972 was enacted on October 17, 1972 and the UK’s instrument of ratification was deposited the following day. The UK’s membership in the EEC came into effect on January 1, 1973. 5. Supra note 1 at para 30. 6. Draw an A on the palm of your hand. Draw a B on your forehead. Connect A to B and leave there whilst gently weeping. 7. Supra note 1 at para 4. 8. Ibid at para 5. 9. Ibid at para 22 citations omitted. 10. (UK), c 36.


Jan Advocate 2017
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