Thursday, October 05, 2006

Shopocracy

There are a lot of both happy and unhappy people today with the opening of Sunday shopping. The NS government has decided, based on a court decision, to remove restrictions on store hours.

I question, why did the courts get to decide? Two years ago there was a plebicite, a democratic vote, which was communicated as binding legislation. The vote was close but more people voted to keep stores shut on Sundays than to allow them to open.

Have the courts not just trumped the democratic process? This decision is counter to the expressed will of the people.

It is the job of the government to create legislation. We, the people, elect representatives to create laws that represent our interests and protect those who can't protect themselves. The courts are established, independent of the political process, to interpret and enforce these laws.

Increasingly in Canadian society we've seen courts determining laws and setting the moral tone in lieu of the appropriate government body. Judges, appointed and not accountable to the people, are determining the foundations and common principles of our society.

If judges are being given this power, should they not be elected with predefined terms in office?

9 Comments:

Blogger The Barretts said...

Great post, Bryan. Good points.

I would like to say that I am not happy about the decision. Although government/unions say that people's rights will be protected and people will not have to work Sundays, they cannot take away the pressure from co-workers to work. Also, I'm sure over time, that right will be gone anyway.

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bryan,

I've stumbled upon your blog, so I thought I'd leave my mark! Hope all is going well!

It's actually not the courts' fault that Sunday shopping has been entirely legalized. The N.S. Supreme Court Justice K. Peter Richard was quoted as saying,

"I will repeat, once again, what this application is NOT about. It is not about any social or political considerations respecting the appropriateness of Sunday shopping; nor is it about the constitutional authority of the legislature to enact legislation dealing with Sunday shopping; nor is it about the protection of vulnerable retail employees being required to work on Sundays. This application is simply about the scope of the authority or power granted to the governor-in-council (cabinet) to make regulations pursuant to the Act."

Basically, the Supreme Court merely ruled that cabinet didn't have the right to change a law that they themselves had previously implicated (the law with the loophole that allowed Sobeys, etc. to open)...the provincial gov doesn't have the right to change their own laws...and not that Sunday shopping was entirely permissible. That was Rodney's decision. The Supreme Court didn't make the law, they just placed some limits on the gov's ability to change whatever laws they want.

Anyways, there's my 2 cents, for what it's worth. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving weekend Bryan!!

Hope to see you soon!
Kendra G.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Bryan said...

Hey Kendra, thanks for leaving a comment!


I knew that was the position of the NS Supreme Court. However, much as with the US court decision Roe vs. Wade where the Justice indicated that the decision to allow an abortion was specific to the circumstance (sexual assault), the decisions handed down by the courts bear larger consequences than they will admit or take responsiblity for.

In this case, my take is that Premier MacDonald used this decision as a cop-out, a scape goat for a decision he wanted to implement but knew he couldn't. Between the Supreme Court and the NS Government, the results of the vote should have been honoured.

10:34 AM  
Blogger sos said...

Bryan , if you are on facebook please do me a big favor. There are guys on the ATV facebook site that are telling people that the courts did strike down Sunday shopping. That isn't true. We are trying to build up a opposition and go after the government. Rodney MacDonald sold us all out and he should be held accountable.
http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=2381342576&topic=6287&start=0&hash=290333297f16f7d0d989cfec608960c4

Please go on and make some posts!! Thanks
Tony

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