25 October 2016

Small town politics in the big city newspapers #nlpoli

The federal Liberals created a new process to pick judges for federal court appointments.  The process - as the Globe pointed out on Thursday - was to ensure they could ensure future appointments would be more reflective of the diversity of the country.

On Saturday,  the Globe editorial praised the recent announcement of a white, middle-aged man  - with no experience on the bench before taking a politically-soaked appointment to the trial division in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2001  - as the first appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada from the far eastern province.

This appointment, heralded widely in Newfoundland as recognition of the province's identity, was not a case of playing identity politics, according to the Globe editorialist.

And,  the appointment of yet another grey-haired white guy was an affirmation of the government's new diversity process in appointments.  This was a triumph of qualifications over political connections, the Globe stated emphatically even though there is no evidence that what the Globe said is true or that the person who wrote the editorial was not under duress, mentally impaired, or drunk at the time.

A vintage Globe performance all-'round, in other words.

The editorial is quite obviously the result of something other than an unbiased assessment of anything.

But is it the result of some connections between the Globe and the folks behind the appointment?

Or is it yet another case of the Toronto Globe passive-aggressively poking at the Toronto Star?

You see The Star featured a story on Friday about newly minted Supreme Court Justice Malcom Rowe's decision in R v. S.B, a 2016 case from the Court of Appeal in which Rowe wrote the decision for the court.

The three justices on the panel criticized the trial judge for allowing the defendant's lawyer to read to the jury sexually explicit texts between the complainant and her lover as well as the graphic transcript of a consensual sex tape she made with her husband.  The Star story explains that the "complainant alleged she’d been raped vaginally and anally by her husband, and assaulted several times. He was acquitted on all counts by a jury."

The three appeals justices diverged on the outcome while agreeing the trial judge had made serious errors.  Then Chief Justice Derek Green, the dissenting voice, felt a new trial was necessary since the jury might well have reached a different verdict were they not exposed to the evidence of her sexual that had been presented to them inappropriately.

Rowe and his colleague White disagreed.  “I have reached this conclusion with reluctance given the unfair manner in which the complainant was dealt with,” Rowe wrote for the majority. 

“Nonetheless, I am persuaded by counsel for the respondent that the complainant, by her untruthfulness and the inconsistencies in several areas of her testimony, gravely undermined her credibility.”

“I think, by and large, what (Rowe’s) decision shows is that the criminal justice system is really quite bankrupt when it comes to dealing with our huge social problem of sexual assault,” [University of Ottawa law professor Constance Backhouse told The Star], “I think it says more about that, than it does about Justice Rowe.”

And a couple of days earlier, the Star editorial pointed out  - no d'uh - that Rowe hardly stands an appointment that reflects diversity.

Seriously.  And this is what the Globe missed in its rush to endorse the political nonsense represented by Rowe's appointment. 

News and editorial opinion, as it seems, is like politics. It is nothing if it is not local.  And, as in this case, it is nothing but local hogwash circling the boots of people who consider themselves Canad'as elites. Why people ever thought the Globe was more than a small town newspaper written by and for people with a small-town mindset is amazing.

Why people outside Tronna put so much stock in anything in its pages is an even greater mystery.


Massive re-write:  29 May 2019