babble home
rabble.ca - news for the rest of us
today's active topics


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
FAQ | Forum Home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» babble   » right brain babble   » humanities & science   » An evening Constitutional

Email this thread to someone!    
Author Topic: An evening Constitutional
April Follies
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4098

posted 12 November 2003 07:02 PM      Profile for April Follies   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
All of this talk about an Iraqi constitution has set my mind a-wandering. Actually, I was wondering: if the country of NorthWest Humanistan were to fall into chaos, and need a new government, what would lefties like us come up with? I'll bet we could do a better job than *cough* some. I know that these things are heavily culture-dependent, which is why I chose "NorthWest" as a shorthand for countries with a fair amount of development and European-derived cultures. Any thoughts on things that should definitely be included in a nation's constitution, especially if they haven't been in the past?
From: Help, I'm stuck in the USA | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3336

posted 12 November 2003 07:54 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That's a good question, April. Frankly, I think the US constitution has a lot to recommend it with its division of powers. It's hard to believe, but that constitution was designed to keep the central government weak. Unfortunately, successive Congresses have chosen to give Presidents more power than they should have.

We Canadians have something you Americans don't: the Vote of Non-Confidence. If a government loses a vote of non-confidence, an election must be called immediately. The British have that, but go one further. They can have a sort of palace coup among the governing party to replace their leader, which is keeping Tony Blair nervous (his opponents in his own party could have him out in about 48 hours).

One other thing, our elections are called; they are not on a fixed date. Your politicians know exactly when the elections are going to be and so there is the big circus every four years. We generally only have about six weeks of electioneering.

While all contries have room for election reform, the US has one huge obstacle: the Electoral College. That should never have been created.

I think it's very important that there be protection from "tyranny of the majority".

There must be a guarantee that all living in a society have access to the components of that society. That means emergency services such as fire, police, and ambulance. And health, education and welfare should be guaranteed to all.

There's lots more, but I think I'll let others step in here.


From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 12 November 2003 11:50 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I could write a book on this, but...no one would buy it except my Mom, so I will be brief.

The most progressive Constitution these days is that of South Africa. It adds certain social rights to the mix, so one has more than a right to speak, but also a right to an education, a right to a home, etc.

The difficulty quickly becomes enforcability. Everyone may have a right to a roof over his or her head, but procedurally it is hard for a court to order that government give a home to someone.

The Sandinista Constitution of Nicaragua was pretty decent, too, though it suffered from too much power in the Presidency.

The US Constitution was a great, even a marvellous achievement for 1789. (Minus the slavery parts!) It has been pretty flexible, too.
I do think that its failure to deal with inequality has been an achilles heel.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 214

posted 13 November 2003 03:20 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
laws, laws, laws.

Rome seemed to get along quite well for hundreds of years by having a fairly unwritten constitution. It was only when people started using the letter of the law for the promotion of self interest, over the spirit of the law that it fell apart.

And the same can be said for the most well written, best conceived constitutions.

Over a year ago, London Ontario Police broke into a young woman's apartment and destroyed her property with an automatic weapon.

The information used to obtain a search warrant was four months old, and the suspect had since moved and the young woman taken his old apartment.

The judge who rubber stamped the search warrant, instead of paying attention to the Charter and protecting the public by asking a simple question, like, "um, officer dumbass, how current is the information on this address?" just looked at the east end address and put his John or Jane Henry on it; throwing caution and OUR supposed right to be free from unreasonable seach and siezure to the winds.

Gee, lucky no one got killed when officer shitforbrains let loose with the machine gun.

Otherwise, there'd be absolutely no fuss over an even more serious issue.

Face it, if in Canada we live under a constitution of noble words disguising the ignoble social philosophies of the Marquis de Sade, there's probably little hope for anywhere else.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3336

posted 13 November 2003 01:27 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Tommy_Paine, you have a point. Certainly, things work when we all agree that they will and don't when we lose confidence. Still, if we don't strive to improve, we will inevitably fail.

Constitutions aren't just laws; they are frameworks for the operations of countries.

BTW, in your example above, were the judge and police repremanded for their lunacy?


From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 195

posted 13 November 2003 03:35 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Interesting topic, April. One source you might want to consider, if you are interested in more radical views about legal and institutional innovation, is to look at the works of Roberto Unger. Here's a snippet from Chapter 8 of his book The Future of American Progressivism co-written with Cornel West.

quote:
There are many constitutional reforms that would be worth discussing if the American antipathy to constitutional redesign were less severe. Consider one such example. Admittedly outside the agenda of feasible contemporary concerns, it nevertheless suggests both the price of constitutional conservatism and the possible direction of political reform. Morever, it clarifies the vision underlying the here-and-now political innovations we do propose further ahead.

Madison's scheme for the Constitution combined two principles: an insistence upon the dispersal of political power and a plan to slow politics down, by establishing a rough correspondence between the transformative reach of a political project and the severity of the constitutional obstacles it has to overcome in the course of its execution. Both principles combine in the system of "checks and balances" among branches of government: Franklin Roosevelt, for example, had to wage a tremendous struggle until he got the Supreme Court as well as the Congress on his side, and he had an economic and social disaster working for him.

These two principles - the fragmentation of political power and the slowing down of political change - could, however, be disconnected, in the interests of a deepened democracy. We might want to keep the first principle and rid ourselves of the second. For example, think of the following way to combine characteristics of the presidential and parliamentary systems of government.

If the president and the Congress disagree about a program of reform for the country, either of the two elected branches of government can call early elections, but then both branches have to run. The idea is to resolve the impasse quickly, through the prompt engagement of the electorate in its resolution, rather than to perpetuate it in divided government until the next regular election. To follow the logic of the remedy, we might make voting mandatory, as it is in many contemporary democracies, with the penalty of a fine for the violation of the duty. Failure to vote would, therefore, be sanctioned less severely than, for example, refusal to do jury duty.

The obligation to come to the polling station, however, is intended to achieve a good that is at least as great as serving on juries: to prevent the government from being elected by a minority, given that over half the adult citizenry now fails to vote in the United States. That a citizen should have to turn his mind for a few moments, every now and then, to the affairs of the Republic - with the privilege of abstaining in the voting booth - seems a tiny measure of intrusion to accept in exchange for a huge advance in civic engagement. Comparative experience suggests that, once the law directs people to vote, they get into the habit. In no democracy that has adopted such a rule has there ever been a majority in favor of its revocation.

The combined effect of these changes would be to quicken the tempo and raise the energy level of American democracy, while maintaining or even strengthening the fundamental mechanism for making governmental power decentralized and accountable. It will not happen, at least not anytime soon, but it points in a direction.


This seems to touch a bit on Cougyr's idea of melding the instant accountability of a non-confidence vote with the American separation of powers system.

For more information you can check out Unger's personal website, or this "fan site" maintained by University of Texas professor James DeRossitt.

[ 13 November 2003: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
April Follies
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4098

posted 13 November 2003 04:46 PM      Profile for April Follies   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'll check out the Unger links; thanks!

I agree that for a two-hundred-year-old document, the US Constitution has a lot going for it. As currently revised (e.g. minus the slavery bits), even better. But there's still room for improvement - an Equal Rights Ammendment never did get in there, and should; the Electoral College is I think antiquated and gives too much power to the entrenched parties and state governments (who appoint the electors).

That said, as Tommy Paine points out, a system that works well in theory can easily break down in practice. We've sen the gradual dissolution of the "separation of powers" in the U.S. The executive branch has strengthened itself phenomenally, and the legislative branch has let itself slide towards relative insignificance. The judicial branch is increasingly "tainted" with the process of loading the benches with partisan judges, not to mention the various connections among the "political elete" that are the death of true independence. (One Supreme Court Justice's daughter has been acused of partisan chicanery for Jeb Bush, for example.)

I suppose I was hoping that a way could be found to strengthen popular oversight to prevent the oligarchic tendencies to which societies seem prone. I like the idea of no-confidence votes, for that reason. Also, given the fetish for secrecy of the current administration, I think transparency provisions need to be included explicitly.

Now, on how to control the "popularity contest" aspects, and especially the influence of big money to "get the message out" - there, I'm truly stumped. I'm not sure anything can solve that but a well-educated and critically minded electorate.


From: Help, I'm stuck in the USA | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 13 November 2003 04:53 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A constitution specifically laying out the same guarantees as the UN Declaration of Human rights would be a good place to start, especially if one of the commitments was for the government to guarantee a basic standard of living to all citizens.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
leftist-rightie and rightist-leftie
Babbler # 3804

posted 13 November 2003 06:54 PM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
When I saw the title of this thread, I thought that a "Constitutional" was some kind of weird social gathering that occurred in the evening...

But seriously, I don't think the problem is the constitutions of Canada (or even the USA for tht matter)... its the enforcement therof where we run into difficulties.


From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 195

posted 13 November 2003 07:59 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
UN Declaration of Human rights would be a good place to start, especially if one of the commitments was for the government to guarantee a basic standard of living to all citizens.

One thing I wonder about is whether there is a way to write a constitution that shores up values of social justice without relying so heavily on "rights discourse." Basing the social justice discussion in rights has a bias towards individual rather than collective entitlement, towards establishing minimum standards rather than true equality, and towards creating a hierarchy of justice where those interests specifically enumerated are privileged over those only generally included, and those interests which are not included at all wind up being de-legitimized. I don't think these problems with rights discourse are insurmountable, but since we are talking about rebuilding a constitution from first principles, I don't see any reason why we should remain committed to the approach if we can come up with a better one instead.

While we're at it, I'd also like to take on the primary role that judges play in interpretting and enforcing a constitution. I'm not sure if that's what you were getting at, Gir; I do know it's been a common complaint from the Canadian right (mainly, I think, because they don't like the way liberal judges have interpretted the constitution, rather than that they have a principled objection to judicial interpretation per se). Despite the fact that it is the right who are currently the harshest critics of "judicial activism," I don't see any reason why leftists should necessarily embrace activist judges to the contrary. I'm a little uncomfortable with having my fundamental "rights" determined by a caste of philosopher kings, who are predominantly white, male and who have had privileged upbringings. In a leftist constitution, could we place more responsibility in the hands of another, more working class institution instead?

[ 13 November 2003: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 13 November 2003 11:07 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Despite the fact that it is the right who are currently the harshest critics of "judicial activism," I don't see any reason why leftists should necessarily embrace activist judges to the contrary.

I see many reasons.

The "left-wing" case against so-called activist judges has long since collapsed. Basically, Michael Mandel's (left-wing) book on the subject demands a kind of Parliamentary dictatorship, and doesn't seem too concerned about the way in which first Cabinet, and later, the PMO, arrogated legislative power to itself.

He has no answer to the critical question of who is to guard the Constitution from destruction by Parliament, except to say that "the people" will ultimately determine the fate of Parliament.

But getting the people excited about votes for black people, gays, criminal defendants, and other minorities, has been impossible. It is just too easy to deny rights, especially organizational rights, to minorities.

So, who will guarantee that the rights in the Constitution retain real effects? I say: judges.

Is there really any alternative?

Of course they should be more representative of the community than they are, but large steps have been taken in this direction in the past twenty years.

Returning rights to politicians will simply make them a political football.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 214

posted 14 November 2003 12:37 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
BTW, in your example above, were the judge and police repremanded for their lunacy?

As anoying as the technique is, I will answer your question with one of my own:

Are judges and police ever reprimanded for their lunacy?

And that's where constitutions and laws break down.

As you may or may not have noticed, I have a particular mania when it comes to corruption. But even I know that you can write all the laws you want, if there isn't a will by most involved to play by the rules, then it's all for naught.

Over 200 hundred years since someone wrote "We the People...", and the storming of the Bastille, we still insist upon burdening ourselves with an aristocracy, and allow them the priveledge of being above the law.

Oh sure, we're better off materially, and legally, than our peseant forebears in the years before Magna Carta, but the principle that an aristocracy-- in our case one made up of the professional class-- rules by divine right still stands.

Unthreatened.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 195

posted 14 November 2003 06:32 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
So, who will guarantee that the rights in the Constitution retain real effects? I say: judges.

Is there really any alternative?


Well, one thing that I like about the thought experiment of this thread is that we get the chance to start from scratch.

I agree that the majoritarian British Parliamentary system, as presently construed, will have a tendency to exclude and marginalize the interests of certain discrete and insular minorities. I would even go further and argue that the combination of that political system, the market economy, and prevailing cultural norms serve to further under-represent the interests of numerical majorities such as women (who are 51% of the population) and the working class.

What I am wondering, though, is if we get to re-write the constitution, which is the legal and institutional baseline of our society, whether we can depart from the majoritarian BP system, and undermine some of those other dominent forces, too? Is there a way to write a constitution that more successfully encourages and empowers grassroots self-organization as an alternative to the top-down governance by elites that currently pervades both our parliamentary and our judicial institutions?

What about a constitution that explicitly establishes democratic governance over not just civic politics, but also the economy, the education system, the mass media? This could be in the form of "representative" democratic works councils, school boards, and media committees. Or maybe it could be in the form of better sanctioning and giving teeth to the self-organization/self-help activities of unions or community groups.

On "fundamental" issues of minority interest, which are largely addressed in the current system by the assignment "rights" enforced by adjudication, perhaps in the hypothetical new system we would use some kind of non-majority, or super-majority, or consensus decision-making?

[ 14 November 2003: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 15 November 2003 01:32 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
What about a constitution that explicitly establishes democratic governance over not just civic politics, but also the economy, the education system, the mass media?

That would be the Soviet Constitution of 1937, I believe.

Well, except for the word democratic. Still, I am not sure that I want "democratic" control over the mass media unless that means pluralistic control. Similarly, the educational system.

I think democratic control over the broadest parameters of the economy is essential. I do not think a more intrusive control, such as determining the types of products produced and their costs, etc. could ever be successful.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
April Follies
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4098

posted 15 November 2003 02:09 PM      Profile for April Follies   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Perhaps what would be more effective is democratic oversight of functions like education: let the experts and administrators in the fields get on with what they're doing, but have mechanisms in place to dump those guys and/or reverse their decisions if (to use a US example) Creationists manage to stack the school board, or something.

The Soviet system was originally envisioned as a multi-tier representative democracy: committees apoint representatives to area councils, who appoint representatives... etc., all the way up to the Duma. As previously pointed out, practice can be somewhat different from theory. In this case I think the tier arrangement helped to insulate the top layers, making it easier for top guys to become entrenched, and much harder for the bottom guys to budge 'em out. Among other things. It didn't help that they were coming straight off of a very top-down feudal system, with people being pretty accustomed to taking orders from above. (Hm. D'you think Stalin and Napoleon benefitted from similar social tendencies?)


From: Help, I'm stuck in the USA | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 195

posted 15 November 2003 04:05 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Saying "look, the Soviet Union didn't work" hardly leaves American constitutionalism as the only alternative.

I think April's notion of some kind of oversight is probably a better idea than bureaucratic control. There's also a role for mass grassroots mobilization as a popular check on elite power. One thing I am interested in, constitutionally speaking, is how different legal regimes may be more or less suited to facilitating such mobilization. I tend to agree with Unger that the American system, while better than some others, is still not the best suited for this kind of "hot politics."

[ 15 November 2003: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
April Follies
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4098

posted 15 November 2003 04:18 PM      Profile for April Follies   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Absolutely. Indeed, as with Cuba, it can be argued that, absent the deliberate attempt to overthrow the Soviet Union, it might have worked things out in much more democratic directions. (Though what-if history is always dubious ground.)

I'd guess that some constitutional guarantees of the "minimum standard" really should be incorporated. That's a form of economic control, at least if you listen to the yammering of the freebooters... er, I mean free-marketeers.

"Insofar as the resources exist within this nation to provide these facilities, no citizen shall be deprived of access to: sufficient nutrition, clean water, housing, health care, education, child care, or other basic necessities of life..."

Howzat sound, for a start?


From: Help, I'm stuck in the USA | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 15 November 2003 07:30 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Call that Article 1.

Article 2:

"No citizen shall be deprived of the right to privacy in his or her personal affairs for any reason save by due process of law."

Article 3:

"No citizen shall be denied these rights for any reason:

a) The right to due process of law at all times in dealings with the government;
b) The right to vote;
c) The right to stand for office at any time there is an election in one's residential area;
d) The right to petition against any action of a law enforcement officer and for such petitions to be adjudicated by an impartial person or persons;"

These might actually need working on, but your first article is pretty good

[ 15 November 2003: Message edited by: DrConway ]


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
April Follies
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4098

posted 17 November 2003 01:05 AM      Profile for April Follies   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I like your articles, Dr. C! I'm trying right now to figure out how to word an Article - if you will - on transparency in government. Myself, I'm an extremist in desiring transparency; I think that seldom if ever should anything the government is doing be kept a secret. I realize that most of the world thinks this naiive. Trying to develop a less-extreme article without giving too much scope for secret government activities is a challenge, though.

Article 4: The right of citizens to be fully informed on the operations of their government shall not be abridged, except in such cases where the information in question may immediately and directly endanger individual rights or public safety.

Hmmm... needs work.


From: Help, I'm stuck in the USA | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 17 November 2003 01:40 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Article 5:

"Non-citizens who enter, or reside in, this country shall, where legally practicable, be extended due process of law."

I'm thinking particularly of the fact that immigrants to Canada can be denied due process on completely arbitrary grounds; Michelle can tell you some stories about this.

I think an important constitutional corollary is that while a country has the right to assert national sovereignty, non-citizens shouldn't be arbitrarily deprived of due process when dealing with the authorities.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 17 November 2003 02:49 AM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I'm thinking particularly of the fact that immigrants to Canada can be denied due process on completely arbitrary grounds; Michelle can tell you some stories about this.

Can, but may not.

The case of Singh v. M.E.I. in the Supreme Court of Canada established that the Charter of Rights applies to anyone who is physically within Canada.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 17 November 2003 03:54 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Doesn't stop the immigration boys from arbitrarily imprisoning refugee claimants on the flimsiest of grounds.

I also didn't see our government respecting that court ruling when they bunged all those Chinese boat guys coming over into that abandoned military base, and then kicked the lot of them back out of the country.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 17 November 2003 07:04 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jeff house:
Can, but may not.

The case of Singh v. M.E.I. in the Supreme Court of Canada established that the Charter of Rights applies to anyone who is physically within Canada.


This is great! It's been several years since I've worked on a refugee case or been in "the loop" about latest rulings, so I only know the injustices that have happened a few years back. But this is really fantastic.

Does that mean that refugees are no longer being returned to their country of persecution if they commit a crime if they only have landed immigrant status? Is Immigration still handing out "Minister's Opinions" that people are a danger to the public, without having to give any reasons, or has that practice been stopped as well?

If so, then wow, things have come a long way. However, the development a while back that Canada is now sending refugee claimants back to the US if they came to Canada through the US - well, I don't like that at all. Are they still standing by that practice? It makes me mad because they're assuming that Canada and the US have - or SHOULD have - the same criteria for accepting someone as a refugee. I don't trust American decisions on refugees. (Well, hell, I don't trust Canada's either after having become familiar with some pretty egregious cases of people who are clearly refugees being refused by bureaucrats who wouldn't know a refugee if they saw thumb screws attached to them.)

Anyhow, Doc, Jeff House has more recent information about immigration law than I do, so if he says things are changing, then I defer to that, quite happily.

[ 17 November 2003: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 17 November 2003 01:50 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The Maher Arar case and the ease with which politicians can use immigration as a hot-button issue reinforces, in my mind, the need to have a specific constitutional guarantee that mandates that at the very least, the same privileges that are granted citizens in terms of gentility of treatment from the established authorities must be specifically and unequivocally laid out for all to see, instead of being left to the somewhat capricious opinion of the electorate.

(In my view of the social contract, visitors granted entry into the country are temporarily accorded all rights and privileges inherent in the social contract for the duration of their visit in the country, since they have indicated, by their desire to visit, that they will temporarily give up certain rights to our Leviathan. )


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 17 November 2003 02:03 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No, no and no!

There are lots of abuses, of course. Maybe more than ever. I was just responding to the question of whether immigrants can be denied DUE PROCESS.

That means they have to have hearings before the bad stuff is done to them. It doesn't mean they can never have bad things done.

Maher Arar is a particular atrocity, but it doesn't result from him being an "immigrant" in law. He was a citizen, so it's worse. But his case says nothing about the legal rights of immigrants.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 17 November 2003 02:13 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Pardon my sloppy thinking re: Arar.

However, is it not so that, increasingly, "brown" people are getting short shrift in this country based on perceptions of them as being, generally, "illegals"?

quote:
As spake by jeff house:
There are lots of abuses, of course. Maybe more than ever. I was just responding to the question of whether immigrants can be denied DUE PROCESS.

That's kind of my whole point; for example, aren't refugee claimants supposed to automatically get a hearing as soon as they make their claim, instead of being locked up with no notification of when they're going to get one? That smells like denial of due process to me.

[ 17 November 2003: Message edited by: DrConway ]


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

All times are Pacific Time  

Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | rabble.ca | Policy Statement

Copyright 2001-2008 rabble.ca