History
2 min

Remembering a landmark decision

Believe it or not, there was actually a time in Canada where people thought that discrimination based on race or religion was actually an okay thing. But thanks to the Supreme Court, with cases like Nobel and Wolf v. Alley, which overturned a neighbourhood association’s (Alley et al.) attempt to impose a restriction that any property owner or renter had to be “persons of the white or Caucasian race,” that kind of thing eventually came to an end.

That case was decided in 1951, and yesterday the government announced that they were going to designate that decision an event of national historic significance – which is probably a good thing, because I hadn’t even heard of it until the press release came over the wire this morning. With so many decisions coming out of the Supreme Court, it’s important that we recognise the ones that helped to build the kind of diverse and pluralistic society that we are today.

Mind you, as great as it is that the government is doing this, I do case a bit of an askance glance as to their motives. As with so many things, this seems to me to be yet another attempt by the Conservative party to drape themselves with the aura of multiculturalism, to try and paper over their Reform Party roots of clamping down on immigration for populist appeal. Well, that and to try and steal away the ethno-cultural community votes from the Liberals. They’re not all that subtle about their approach either, apparently.

A raft of new diplomatic appointments was made yesterday, and a former Progressive Conservative MP from Quebec is being named as a Permanent Delegate to UNESCO in Paris. Sure, he didn’t go along with the merger with the Reform/Alliance party, but he’s apparently slid back into the fold, and I have a feeling this appointment is going to try and silence those Quebec voters who want that Quebec seat at UNESCO.

(I also noticed in the biographies that all of those appointed had wives and children listed, which makes me wonder whether the number of gays appointed to diplomatic posts has declined in the Harper era – something to look into for a future date).

And the story about that MLA booted from caucus in Alberta? The premier there says that he got more than one chance, but it was unforgivable to air the grievances in public than behind closed doors. He’s also given no thought as to what said MLA has to do to get back into caucus, but so far there have been no apologies. But I have to wonder – since when did the quiet and demure bumpkin that Steady Eddie Stelmach always was turn into this bit of a tyrant? Then again, you know what they say about absolute power (and that’s pretty much what an Alberta premier is handed…)

Up today: The report on last summer’s listeriosis outbreak is released publicly. You’ll be able to read it for yourselves here. Not that there wasn’t some drama already – when the first press release went out which described the submission of the report, it was quickly followed up by a revised release, which chopped out a paragraph regarding the methodology of the report. They later said it was for the sake of brevity, but it makes one wonder about the PMO’s assurances that they won’t edit the report overnight.