Harper's Big Victory

Do you remember the Court Challenges program? It was cut by the Stephen Harper government in 2006. It has been one of the few ideological victories for the Tories since coming to office. Ironically it was another conservative government that created it by expanding the a government program providing assistance for minority language cases.
The Court Challenges program's direction was to provide financial assistance for important court cases that advance language and equality rights guaranteed under Canada's Constitution.
The program has long been a thorn in the side of right wing ideologues conservative political parties and the Religious Right. Two of the more vocal objectors were the Reform Party and a national lobby group, the National Citizens Coalition.

The primary objection was too "left wing" groups gaining access to funding to challenge the law of the land. They referred to it as undemocratic and usurping the duly elected government's will. The program was key to many issues being canvassed before the Courts in Canada. It meant that Queers, women and other groups were able to make successful challenges to the law of the land, base primarily on the Charter of Rights. Many of these challenges would have been delayed or lost due to inadequate access to funding to take a case to the Supreme Court of Canada in the first place.

One case that has stuck in the craw of Prime Minister Harper has to be Harper Vs Canada, in which he then the Executive Director of the National Citizens Coalition, challenged what is called the election gag law. That law limited organizations, like the NCC from spending gobs of money during elections. They lost the case. The court Challenges Program funded two interveneors in the case, Democracy Watch and National Anti-Poverty Organization who argued in support of the "Gag" law.

I'm sure that Harper didn't like taxpayers money being used against him in is fight to remove the "gag" law.

So I can imagine it was with a great deal of delight he eliminated the program. Now in a move likely to appease Quebec and Francophone voters across Canada Harper has started up a Language Rights Support Program. It's job is address language related issues across the country.

Mulroney in 1985 expanded the then Minority Language Rights Support Program after the Charter of Rights kicked in. It was likely that they would have been forced to expand the program by the courts if they had not done so. Mulroney however in 1992, in a bid to appeal to the more Conservative voter that was being pulled away from the Tories, killed the program. It was re-instated in 1993 by the new Liberal Government.

Back to this day and we now again have a Minority Language program to fund challenges based on instances of discrimination. I suspect they (Harperites) have to know the new program discriminates against other minorities but are willing to chance it won't be successfully challenged, by in large due to minority groups not having enough funds to mount a successful challenge. Clever right?

Well it seems some very conservative folks aren't happy about it. Check out Joseph C. Ben-Ami. This guy would be a "birther" in the US of A.

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