Any pretense of Hong Kong having an independent judiciary is now eliminated, yet McLachlin continues to serve on what is effectively a rubber-stamp court for the Chinese Communist Party.
Canada’s elites have a ‘values’ problem.
What do I mean by that?
Well, they have adopted an ‘above-it-all’ attitude where they act as if Canada – their version of it at least – is somehow disconnected from questions of individual rights vs state control, free speech vs repression, and democracy vs tyranny.
They like to point out every possible flaw with our allies – particularly the USA – while remaining oddly silent on the Chinese Communist Party or the Cuban Communist Party, despite both of those governments being unelected Communist dictatorships that severely repress their own people.
In many cases, Canada’s elites seem to act as if their lack of any sense of values or moral backbone is a badge of honour, as if that somehow elevates them above those of us who actually make a choice between the US and China, or Freedom vs Communism.
And in the very worst cases, they actively participate in lending their reputation as former top officials in democratic nations to repressive non-democratic states.
That’s the case with Beverley McLachlin, former Chief Justice of Canada’s Supreme Court.
McLachlin is currently a member of Hong Kong’s final appeals court, along with other judges from common-law nations outside China.
As noted by the National Post, “The unusual arrangement was set out in the Basic Law, the Hong Kong constitution agreed to by China and Britain when the city was handed over to Beijing in 1997. It was meant to replace the process under British rule that allowed rulings to be appealed to a higher court in London.”
In 2019, McLachlin – then already serving on the court for about a year – said the court was “very independent,” a claim that may have had some truth in it at that moment.
However, 2021 is a very different moment, and Hong Kong is a very different place.
Democracy and the rule-of-law have been thoroughly crushed in the City State, with the Chinese Communist government having abandoned the ‘One-Country, Two-Systems’ deal they agreed to follow when Hong Kong was handed over.
Pro-democracy activists have been arrested in large numbers, independent newspapers have been shut down, free expression no longer exists, and any idea of Hong Kong as a bastion of freedom has been eliminated.
The ‘National Security Law’ imposed by the Communist State upon Hong Kong has finished off any remnants of freedom.
As just one example, a man who held up a sign that read “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time,” and crashed with police as they sought to arrest him, was sentenced to nine years in prison under the law, with his actions being considered ‘inciting secession and terrorism.’
Notably, the National Security Law explicitly overturns the common-law framework upon which the court is ostensibly-based:
“The legislation has also become part of the city’s constitution, overriding in parts the Basic Law and the rights it guaranteed — rather than being subject to it, said Alford. He pointed to Lai’s case, where the publisher had to prove that he would not threaten national security to be granted bail, reversing the usual common-law onus on prosecutors to show why a defendant should be denied bail. The Court of Final Appeal upheld the lower court’s ruling, effectively saying its hands were tied by the new security law.
The court has “become nothing more than an instrument of oppression” and it’s disappointing that McLachlin would renew her support for it, said Toronto lawyer Chi-Kun Shi, who introduced the Law Society motion calling on McLachlin to resign.”
Other judges resign, while McLachlin stays
While McLachlin stays on the CCP-subservient court, other foreign judges have woken up.
James Spigelman – an Australian judge – resigned his position, citing the National Security Law.
Brenda Hale – a British judge and Baroness – also resigned.
Hale was appointed in 2018, the same year as McLachlin.
Clearly, both Spigelman and Hale no longer want to be associated with what is – as Chi-Kun Shi said – “an instrument of oppression.”
But amid all of this, Beverley McLachlin chose – unlike Hale and Spigelman – to renew her term.
She will serve three more years on the court, effectively lending her reputation as the former Chief Justice of a democratic nation to a court that is anything but democratic.
Law Society backlash
McLachlin’s decision to be a part of what is now a CCP-dominated court in Hong Kong has generated a backlash from the Law Society of Ontario.
In February, 17 members voted in favour of a resolution calling on McLachlin to resign from the Hong Kong court. 28 voted against.
That kind of action is rare, and the divide shows that McLachlin’s reputation has taken a huge hit from her willingness to serve on the court.
Notably, that vote was taken before she chose to renew her term, meaning the numbers could have turned against her even more by now.
As law professor Ryan Alford – who voted for McLachlin to resign – said, “It’s lending prestige to an institution that is not deserving of prestige,” Alford charged in an interview. “It’s now conducting political prosecutions under essentially a state-trial process. For someone as esteemed as the former chief justice of Canada to be a member of that court … is actively supporting Beijing’s goals in Hong Kong, which are to crush the democracy movement.”
Clearly, there are still people in this country with a clear sense of right and wrong, it’s just unfortunate that McLachlin no longer appears to be among them.
The thing is, McLachlin isn’t only disgracing herself here.
She’s also disgracing our country.
She was the Chief Justice of our Supreme Court.
Her reputation is linked with Canada’s reputation.
So, by participating in a CCP-subservient court in Hong Kong, at the very moment China is snuffing out the last remnants of democracy in the city, speaks – fairly or not – for this country in the eyes of many.
And why wouldn’t it?
After all, our Prime Minister and much of the political class in Canada are pathetically weak when it comes to China, apparently ‘hedging their bets’ between the US and China despite the fact that we are a civilizational partner of the US, and despite the fact that – due to both values and geography – we will have to side with the US anyway – especially when the alternative is a ruthless Communist State with values that are incompatible with ours.
As a result, whatever reputation Beverley McLachlin may have built in her career, it is all being erased by her willingness to disgrace Canada, and she should be embarrassed by having become a tool of the Chinese Communist Party’s effort to put a shiny veneer on their efforts to wipe out democracy in Hong Kong.
Photo – YouTube
If you would like to support my Independent perspective, you can make a contribution through PayPal, or directly through Stripe below. Your support is always deeply appreciated.