As Canadian readers of Slaw will likely know, there’s been a small contretemps in Ottawa over the last few days involving a Conservative MP and the Chief Justice. According to the CBC News report:
Saskatchewan MP Maurice Vellacott took a swipe at the Supreme Court on the weekend, prompting a swift response from the country’s top judge.
Maurice Vellacott attributed comments to the country’s top judge, but a spokesperson says she never said them…
“I don’t think it is the role of the judge, whether left or right or conservative or whatever stripe [he] happens to be, to actually figure to play the position of God,” the Tory MP for Saskatoon-Wanuskewin told Lawand.
Vellacott, a former pastor who claims a doctoral degree from Trinity International University in Chicago, then singled out Beverley McLachlin, the chief justice of Canada.
He claimed McLachlin “herself said actually when they step into this role that suddenly there’s some kind of mystical power that comes over them, which everything that they’ve ever decreed is not to be questioned.
“They actually have the discernment and almost prophetic ability to plumb and know the mind of the public.”
Vellacot has since issued a form of retraction [pdf].
If you’re interested in reading what Chief Justice McLachlin actually said in the Lord Cooke Lecture given in New Zealand in December of last year, you can the text of her address [pdf] on Vellacot’s website. She’s an avowed modern natural lawyer, so you can sort of see how Mr. Vellacot got things twisted in his head the way he did, because your classic, historical natural law theory was espoused by people like St. Thomas Aquinas, who’s views on law were certainly well-integrated with his religious beliefs.