Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Eminently sound spending cutbacks

The London Free Press
By Rory Leishman

In announcing plans last week to cut $1 billion in wasteful government spending, the Harper government disclosed that it will eliminate the Law Commission of Canada and the federal Court Challenges Program, while cutting spending for Status of Women Canada. These reforms are all to the good, except that the government should not just cut, but also eliminate, all funding for Status of Women Canada.

All three of these bodies are holdovers from the big-spending era of the 1970s when the Trudeau Liberals undermined the social order of Canada and drove the country to the brink of bankruptcy. In the case of the Court Challenges Program, the Mulroney Conservative government at least had the good sense to abolish this agency in 1992, only to have the Chretien Liberals revive the pernicious organization after they regained power a few months later.

Let us hope that the Court Challenges Program is now gone for good. Over the past 10 years, it has wasted literally millions of taxpayers’ dollars in funding court challenges to the established laws and the Constitution of Canada, by an array of radical-feminist and gay-activist groups.

To make matters worse, judicial activists on the Supreme Court of Canada have been all-too-willing to distort the law through interpretation to conform with the political agendas of these left-wing groups. The renewed determination of the Harper Conservatives to eradicate the Court Challenges Program should serve as a warning to these judges that they should stick to upholding the law rather than changing it to suit their ideological preferences.

The Law Commission of Canada is the reincarnation by the Chretien Liberals in 1997 of the original Law Reform Commission of Canada established by the Trudeau Liberals in 1971. Over the past 35 years, these two commissions have lavished millions of dollars on left-wing law professors for the production of one radical report after another.

For example, in Beyond Conjugality, a report published in 2001, the Law Commission of Canada recommended that Parliament and the provincial legislatures “should move toward removing from their laws the restrictions on marriages between persons of the same sex.” Elected representatives of the Canadian people refused to follow this recommendation, but no matter: In ruling on June 10, 2003, the Ontario Court of Appeal proceeded on its own to impose same-sex marriage on the people of Ontario.

For the radicals on the Law Commission of Canada, though, that decision was not good enough. In Beyond Conjugality, they suggested that the establishment of “a civil registration scheme open to all persons in committed relationships … could eliminate the need for marriage.”

All Canadians should take note: The ultimate objective of the radical leftists in the legal academy is not just to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, but to abolish the legal concept of marriage altogether. Instead, the Harper government has made the right and proper decision to abolish the Law Commission of Canada.

Let us hope that Status of Women Canada will be the next to go. As it is, the Harper Conservatives have announced plans to slash administrative funding for this left-wing, feminist agency by only $5 million over two years.

But that was enough to incense Belinda Stronach, the Conservative turncoat who now represents the Liberals. Speaking in the Commons last week, she asked if the prime minister is cutting funding for feminists organizations through Status of Women Canada, “because these groups are promoting equality for women, rather than promoting his anti-choice, anti-gay and anti-equality agenda?”

In response, Bev Oda, the Conservative minister responsible for Status of Women, retorted: “The facts are that we are not cutting support for programming to women. We are finding efficiencies and streamlining the delivery to those women who really need the help.”

This is a sound approach: Oda should identify whatever worthwhile programs Status of Women might offer and transfer them to other government agencies. Consider, for example, violence against aboriginal women: Status of Women Canada should relinquish all of its responsibility for combating this menace to the Department of Indian Affairs.

Ultimately, Oda should aim to clear the way for the orderly and complete abolition of Status of Women Canada. And the sooner she achieves this end, the better.

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