National Post

Wednesday, March 03, 1999


National Post

Judgment day

Edward Greenspan's comment in the National Post on March 2 was distorted and inflammatory (Judges Have No Right to Be Bullies).

One is tempted to respond with the same kind of "grandstanding" that Mr. Greenspan presented.

As a well-known criminal defence lawyer, he used every form of emotional manipulation to present "his case" against Madame Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dube.

Mr. Greenspan has thrown gasoline on the fire. Phrases such as "Feminists have entrenched their ideology in the Supreme Court of Canada" and "The feminist perspective has hijacked the Supreme Court of Canada" are incendiary language without fact.

At this time, there are two women and seven men who compose the nine-member court. Hard to imagine that these two women (and their predecessors) have hijacked this august body. Perhaps women have begun to have an influence on the courts, particularly in matters of sexual assault.

I don't recall Madame Justice L'Heureux-Dube calling Judge McClung "the male chauvinist pig of the century, the chief yahoo from Alberta, the stupid, ignorant, ultimate sexist male jerk" . . . unless, of course, the media forgot to report these words from her judgment.

Mr. Greenspan, stick to defending former provincial premiers, high court judges are out of your league.

Renee Simmons, Toronto.

The Supreme Court of Canada has issued a politically correct decision for the "no means no" lobby (Sex-assault Ruling Sparks Judicial War of Words, Feb. 26). But it seems obvious the nine judges have forgotten a simple truth: Actions speak louder than words. What on earth was the female complainant doing engaging in mutual massage with a man she had never met before in the privacy of his own trailer?

And yes her rather skimpy attire would do nothing to discourage his allegedly unwelcome advances in the course of the massage.

All the blather in the world about stereotyping won't change human nature and women should understand that when they say "no" and act like "yes" they are sending mixed signals that can easily be misinterpreted. I'm sure most women do understand that.

Alberta Court of Appeal Justice John McClung was perfectly right to take exception to Supreme Court Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dube's little tirade.

John Mahony, Q.C., Calgary.

Judging by your mail and the remarks of your readers, a whole lot hasn't changed in the past 500 years.

When a Canadian judge considers the fact that a victim wasn't wearing "a bonnet and crinolines" as a mitigating factor in a sexual assault (Women Justices Rebuke Male Judge in Sex-assault Case, Feb. 26), and his views are buttressed by readers who compare a woman's body to an unlocked BMW (Saying 'No,' March 1), I think we really have to wonder whether Taleban-like isolation is the only legitimate defence for women who don't want to be blamed for sexual terror.

I wonder if your reader who advised his daughter to never drink, only to go out in pairs, and carry pepper spray would be willing to live under the same restrictions.

Quit accusing the victim, and lay the blame where it belongs.

Patricia Leidl, Vancouver.

What is happening to Canada's justice system? Aren't our judges the representatives of justice in Canada, the role models for our society? Why then are our provincial and Supreme Court judges acting like immature adolescents? Judge McClung's letter regarding Judge L'Heureux-Dube (Right of Reply, Feb. 26) was a low blow I would have thought was far below a man of standing such as his. His ruling of "implied consent" deserved overturning and rebuke by the Supreme Court; fortunately they had the guts to make the decision they did. Now all I am hoping is that Judge L'Heureux-Dube has enough class not to sink to his level and retaliate.

Andrea Skorenki, Calgary.

Judge McClung may or may not have consciously been making a graceless slide into personal invective himself in his letter about Madame Justice L'Heureux-Dube's decision. He may merely have been referencing a Feb. 15 Post story (Quebec Men More Likely to Commit Suicide Than Women) on the high rate of male self-slaughter in Quebec.

Whichever, there indeed is a relationship between the way men are perceived legally -- and socially -- and the dramatic escalation in male suicides, not only in Quebec but in the country as a whole.

It's partly because maleness as a positive quality has all but disappeared from the public discourse.

Canadian males as a class have a severe and invisible esteem problem: There's no vision offered boys, no positive talk about men, and for those who are suffering, there are -- quite literally -- no funded resources for men as men in this country at all. Unbelievably, in the courts and elsewhere, being compassionate toward men as a gender is seen as being uncaring toward women.

Andrew MacDonald, Ottawa.

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