Sometimes, it’s the politest people who can leave you the most infuriated. Rory Leishman is a journalist and academic from London, Ontario, and one of the quietest and most civil gentlemen this reviewer knows; But Rory’s book Against Judicial Activism: The Decline of Freedom and Democracy in Canada (McGill-Queen’s Press, 2006) can make your blood boil.
For almost three decades now, Canada’s law schools have been infested with progressive thinking; and we have turned out generations of activist lawyers who mature into judges. Even the less able legal minds worm their way into the civil service or at least into the world of agencies, boards and commissions – particularly onto our Human Rights Commissions. After reviewing their impact on the freedoms of Canadians and the power of our chosen legislators, Leishman makes a compelling argument for a revival of parliamentary democracy. Churchill and Lincoln, even Mackenzie King, knew better than to trust judges with power. Should we do no less?