Part Two: Is There A Case Against Emerson

Posted on Monday, February 20 at 10:40 by PatriotPete
1. In the United Kingdom where parliament is supreme "tradition' gives parliamentarians the right, indeed the privilege to switch sides as they please without any restrictions whatsoever. 2. Parliamentarians in Canada seem to think that they can do the same. They argue that 'tradition' - both in the UK and Canada gives them the unfettered right to do as they please. The reality is, however, that in Canada - 'parliament is not supreme', and neither is tradition, the constitution is supreme - it is the highest law in the land. This traditional right of Canadian parliamentarians to cross the floor has never been challenged by citizens using the Charter of Rights & Freedoms. The Emerson 'crossing' seems to me a unique historical opportunity for citizens to seek, through the courts, clarification of their rights vis-à-vis parliamentarians, and to seek a balancing of those competing 'rights'. Section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms elucidates the democratic rights of Canadian citizens. In the FIGUEROA case, the Supreme Court of Canada said that s. 3 rights do not just provide a right to vote and a right to run for elected office. The Supreme Court has said that Charter analysis requires looking beyond the words of section 3 and adopting a broad and purposive approach. The Supreme Court has said: “The purpose of s. 3 of the Charter, is ... to grant every citizen of this country the right to play a meaningful role in the selection of elected representatives who, in turn, will be responsible for making decisions embodied in legislation for which they will be accountable to their electorate. (Underlining by the SCC.) The central focus of section 3 is to give each citizen a right to participate in the electoral process in a meaningful way.” With respect to the matters in Vancouver-Kingsway, it is a fact that 82% of the constituents did not vote for the Conservative party. It is also a fact that the ballot upon which voters cast their votes stipulated that David Emerson was a candidate for the Liberal Party. Emerson campaigned as a Liberal, people participated in his campaign, made donations to his campaign and ultimately voted for him and the Liberal Party based on those representations. It is my legal opinion, therefore, that the actions of David Emerson, and possibly even the Prime Minister himself, following so soon after the national election, before even Parliament is called in session, are a breach of citizen’s section 3 Democracy rights, and possibly other rights as well - particularly 'political liberty' rights. To answer your question, I would say that within Canada, parliamentarians do not have the right to cross the floor when their doing so violates the constitution - namely, when their doing so violates citizens' s. 3 Charter rights to meaningful participation in the electoral process. Since parliament is not supreme in Canada, MP’s traditional privilege to ‘cross the floor' is circumscribed by section 3 of the Charter. What needs to be asked is why the Attorney-General of Canada is not acting in an independent manner to seek clarification from the Supreme Court respecting this matter, or to have the Emerson ‘crossing’ adjudicated in the courts. Surely he has a responsibility not just to protect the ‘tradition’ of parliamentarians but also to ensure that the democratic lawful rights of citizens are not violated, that the integrity of our system of representative democracy is not thrown into complete disrepute. If the Emerson matter is allowed to stand without being legally challenged, I ask you and all Canadians – why bother to vote – when ten days later your choice can be completed ‘nullified’ by tradition – rather then being upheld by law. To those who assert, oh, he's a competent, intelligent man, we should move on and ‘get a life’ - I say that is a completely irrelevant and arrogant assertion. What is at stake is the very integrity of our representative system of governance and the constitutional rights of citizens to participate in an election in a meaningful way. Peter Dimitrov Barrister & Solicitor Vancouver, BC [Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on February 22, 2006]

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Comments

  1. Mon Feb 20, 2006 7:31 pm
    Great letter, please let us know asap if there is a response.

  2. by DaveC
    Mon Feb 20, 2006 8:38 pm
    Very good letter Peter. Thank you for continuing to stand up for all Canadian voters.

    Myself and the 19000+ of us (all irrelevant zealots obviously)who signed the online petition (Recall David Emerson petition) to show our support for a by-election really appreciate your continued work.

  3. by coyote
    Mon Feb 20, 2006 9:03 pm
    Again Peter, a very interesting legal concept you are framing here, as a challenge to this assumed right of politicians to simply walk away from the electorate's assumptions and Charter Rights who have elected them. Indeed, if it can be mounted and won brother, you will have helped establish an important legal control in the hands of the public/electorate. And to that degree, an important strengthening of Canadian democracy.

    You want to cross the floor to another party, then go back to your electorate for that mandate. It is not for you to assume.

  4. Tue Feb 21, 2006 12:06 am
    Why is it that everything hsas to end up in court, is this why lawyers have attached themselves to political parties, so they can muddy the waters, thus picking up a few extra bucks?

    My goodness what ever happened to democratic values, or is that a myth too? I am telling you if we do not stop voting for lawyers, they will soon own every ones pay check. It time to keep lawyers away from government. Emerson and his legal community have shot a bullet through the heart of democracy and they used the party system to do it TOO!

    ---
    Good government is not a party government

  5. Tue Feb 21, 2006 5:08 pm
    Wayne:

    NOT A LAWYER: David Emerson (economist)

    LAWYER: Peter Dimitrov (helping us here)

    Your generalizations and stereotypes don't work well at the best of
    times; but in this case, they are fallacious.

  6. Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:05 pm
    MARY I KNOW , I corrected that mistake. <br />
    <a href="http://stateofdenial2.blogspot.com/">http://stateofdenial2.blogspot.com/</a><br />
    But Harper has nine LAWYERS in the CABINET, sorry but that a fact. I have a concer n with so many Lawyers in government, if they were so honourable then why have we had so many scandals and look right back to Trudeau including him all Prime Ministers up to now were Lawyers. So why have we had such a messed up government? <br />
    <br />
    Well since we have a Lawyer hear , I must ask him , does he think Brian Mulroney should be charged with contempt, lose his lawyers licence and be required to step down from the board of directors any company that trades publically. <p>---<br>Good government is not a party government

  7. Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:19 pm
    Question and a concern for : LAWYER: Peter Dimitrov (helping us here).

    Why are taxation laws in place forcing the general working public to give up a percentage of their income through taxation, to finance private business?

    ---
    Good government is not a party government

  8. Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:09 pm
    Topic here, Wayne, "Is there a case against David Emerson?"

    Peter Dimitrov has laid out the grounds for action.

    So please focus on the immediate question: What are we going to
    do about Emerson and Harper right now? Time is of the essence.

  9. Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:30 pm
    I am focused, and please is he setting up his case against Emerson based on the opinions of the very few on site? All I was asking when he finishes with Emerson will he look into the way the taxation system is used by private business to force the public into setting aside investment fund for them.

    Do you think BC Mary the taxation system should be used to force us to pay into a private investment fund?

    ---
    Good government is not a party government

  10. Wed Feb 22, 2006 8:25 pm
    Peter: Again, thank you for the care you've taken, to show one way
    of bringing justice to Vancouver Kingsway and to the Canadian
    electoral system.

    I understand that neither Stephen Harper nor David Emerson are
    quite so complacent about their clever maneouver now, as they
    were at their swearing-in.

    I'd hate to think that the people of Canada won't be able to push
    this Emerson outrage toward a better conclusion. But with
    concerned people spread out far and wide, how do we get the ball
    rolling? What's the first step?

  11. Thu Feb 23, 2006 12:06 am
    Emerson will stay until "HE" is ready to step aside, please keep in mind Emerson is part of the RULING CLASS.

    ---
    Good government is not a party government

  12. Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:59 pm
    See today's The Tyee for a report on the class action lawsuit
    launched by Peter Dimitrov in the Vancouver-Kingsway affair.

    Well done, Peter!

    No matter what else happens now, the public record will show that
    the people rose up against Harper/Emerson's low-level
    manipulation of an electoral riding.

    Now ... how can we help?

  13. Fri Feb 24, 2006 5:23 am
    The Tyee story has been pulled!

  14. Fri Feb 24, 2006 5:27 pm
    Tyee story re-instated ... with a disclaimer added ... saying that
    Peter Dimitrov is not launching the class-action lawsuit against
    Emerson.

    This is a good site to visit, however, for background information on
    the man, David Emerson, who is so highly regarded by both Paul
    Martin and Stephen Harper. See comments section.



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