Andrew Coyne: Harper courting controversy by picking unprecedented fight with Canada’s top judge

Prime Minister appears to misunderstand one of the primary roles of the Supreme Court of Canada.

National Post | Full Comment

Watching the Harper government stumble from one needless controversy to another — picking fights, settling scores, demeaning institutions and individuals alike in the pursuit of no discernible principle or even political gain — one has had the distinct impression of a government, and a Prime Minister, spinning out of control.

But with the Prime Minister’s astonishing personal attack last week on the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Beverley McLachlin, the meltdown has reached Lindsay Lohanesque proportions. Nothing in the long catalogue of Stephen Harper’s bad-tempered outbursts has seemed quite so extravagantly reckless, if only because it was so calculated.

It is one thing to savage a political opponent or beat up on a distinguished civil servant. But to accuse the nation’s highest judge of professional misconduct — for that is what was insinuated, if not quite alleged, an ethical breach serious enough to warrant her resignation — is so…

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