National Post

July 16, 2001

Divorce hearings

Letter to the Editor by Hon. Anne C. Cools, Senator and Roger Gallaway, MP
National Post

Re: In her letter of July 10, No Special Treatment, Virginia McRae, a Department of Justice staff member, offers a political response that clearly shows the politicized nature of her department's consultations on divorce. Ms. McRae simply does not get it. She is not the minister, neither is she a Member of Parliament. The Minister of Justice should instruct her staff to take a basic course in the proper role of the civil service, particularly the proper constitutional relationship between the civil service, the minister and Parliament.

These consultations are a pretender. They pretend to be ministerial consultations, but are not because there is not a minister to be seen. They pretend to be a public process, but are not because, unlike Parliament, they lack the necessary constitutional authority. They have no formal record, no formal proceedings, no formal process to form conclusions, and are not even public. Further, the department staff's role in these consultations is not administrative, the proper role of the civil servant, but rather is political. That Ms. McRae doesn't appreciate this difference shows the politicized state of the department's divorce law sections.

These consultations are mimics of Parliament. They are impersonations. Parliament has always frowned on mimics, pretenders and impersonators who would supersede it in hearing the public and in creating public policy. A politically active civil service is contrary to our system of governance, and is dangerous too.

Hon. Anne C. Cools, Senator, Toronto-Centre-York, Roger Gallaway, MP, Sarnia-Lambton.

Copyright © 2001 National Post Online