As everyone knows, the socio-political system between The United States and Canada are very different. We are basically two different worlds. While we have our own issues, nothing is as outrageous because our system won’t allow it.
This weekend the U.S. Senate confirmed accused sexual predator and right-wing operative Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in a lifetime appointment. And perhaps, the only thing more horrifying is the process by which this scandal has unfolded.
The sickening Republican reaction to Dr Christine Ford’s testimony, social media battles, and divisive rhetoric have highlighted severe flaws in the American political system.
Legislation and the current political climate in Canada, by contrast, ensure that a similar situation would almost certainly not reach the height it has in the United States.
1. The stakes would have been lower
In the United States, Supreme Court decisions and appointments are highly politicised. Court decisions usually, but not always, fall along party lines. Currently, the court is comprised of four liberal members, four conservative members, and one “swing” member. It is that swing member, the seat that Kavanaugh will fill.
American Supreme Court judges are appointed for lifetime terms, meaning Kavanaugh’s could solidify the Republican grip on the court for decades. That likely means that the Court will agree with conservative perspectives on abortion, workers’ rights, affirmative action, and same-sex marriage.
If Kavanaugh were a nominee for the Supreme Court of Canada, such debates would be quiet, if they existed at all. Canada has already largely settled the issues listed above.
Decisions made by the Supreme Court of Canada are also seen less as political assessments of presidential decisions. The loyalties of Canadian Supreme Court Judges are also less determined by party than they are by region.
According to the Supreme Court Act, three of its nine seats must go to judges or lawyers from Quebec. By convention, the remaining six seats are divided as follows: three from Ontario, two from the Prairies, one from British Columbia, and one from the Maritimes.
Justices in Canada must also retire at age 75 and may be removed for indecent behaviour by Parliament. There is a lot more oversight.
2. There would automatically have been an investigation
In the U.S., the FBI only launched an investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh at the order of Trump, who, in turn, only ordered an investigation at the behest of the Senate.
In Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) would have begun an investigation on their own.
3. Members of Parliament would not have waged political war
MPs in Canada, outside the Cabinet, have almost NO SAY in Supreme Court appointments. A committee recommends a nominee to the prime minister, who then forwards the name of the nominee to the Governor General, who, along with the Queen, makes the appointment official.
In the U.S., a majority of the Senate must approve the president’s Supreme Court nominees. Senators have made the Kavanaugh nomination an all-out political war because they can capitalise on the situation.
4. There would have been no public spectacle
Because MPs don’t need to ratify Court appointments, there would be no need in Canada for the televised hearings that dominated American screens.
Those hearings were almost entirely a public spectacle. Senators from both parties used the televised performance as a political platform. That was unfair to Ford, who bravely recounted her trauma in front of the whole country. Watching Ford fend off the belligerent, all-white male Republican contingent of the Judiciary Committee was especially infuriating.
Canada would have the decency to minimise the spectacle out of respect for Kavanaugh’s accusers.
5. Kavanaugh would disappear and maybe go to prison
After the withdrawal of his nomination, Kavanaugh would also likely be forced out of his current judicial position pending the conclusion of the RCMP investigation. From there, he would either disappear or be charged and convicted. If he were to go to prison, he would likely undergo a restorative justice program and rehabilitation.
In Canada Kavanaugh would have never ascended to the Supreme Court. The end!