Author Topic: The importance of due process  (Read 2558 times)

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The importance of due process
« on: November 29, 2014, 09:31:56 PM »
The importance of due process
Friday, November 28, 2014

THREE recent cases of terminated employment present different scenarios but raise the same basic question: When does the benefit of the doubt end and the presumption of guilt prevail?

In two of these cases, the presumption of innocence has been sacrificed at the altar of political correctness, if not expediency.
Rev. Sandra Tankard was chaplain to the Royal Canadian Legion in Kenora until she addressed the growing issue of how modern war veterans are treated by their country. That she chose to approach this matter in her Remembrance Day address appears to be what tipped her case into the realm of the unacceptable in the eyes of her employers.
Her MP, Conservative cabinet minister Greg Rickford, quickly took Tankard to task for having said in her Nov. 11 speech that Afghan war vets were not receiving adequate treatment for the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and that budget cuts to Veterans Affairs were causing problems for many more veterans.

Tankard quickly — too quickly, perhaps — offered her resignation which was accepted — improperly in our view — by a majority of Legion members in Kenora.
Soon after, area MP John Rafferty discovered information that supported her contentions and Canada’s auditor-general took the government to task for these very things.
Legionaires apparently felt their chaplain had embarrassed them. And yet the Canadian Veterans Advocacy group supported Tankard and national Legion office joined the chorus of condemnation that accompanied the auditor-general’s findings.

Elsewhere in Ottawa, two Liberal MPs were sacked by their leader after two NDP MPs told Justin Trudeau the men had sexually abused them. The strange absence of a protocol to address such issues in Parliament is being blamed for the lack of a way forward. All the more reason for Trudeau to have placed his MPs on a form of administrative leave while the details were sorted out.

Trudeau ignored the requirement of due process. One of the women has since told her story to the media, the first either of the accused has heard evidence of their alleged crime. National Affairs columnist Chantal Hebert today says it shows one of the male MP’s conduct “falls just short of outright rape.” The woman’s story is that she did not say no to the man’s sexual advances although she did not explicitly say yes, either. Perhaps the man assumed consent when the woman produced a condom during the late-night affair in his hotel room over drinks.

At the very least this revelation confirms the need for due process through a formal procedure. In the absence of that, even as MPs consider the Speaker’s ideas for one, persons accused of wrongdoing must not be convicted, in a sense, by someone in authority, in this case the leader of their party who accepted the word of two accusers and ignored the word of the two accused.

Compare all of this to the Jian Ghomeshi saga. The radio personality faced internal accusations of serious sexual misconduct that saw him fired only after CBC executives saw graphic pictorial evidence of it. Ghomeshi has now been formally charged and is out on bail awaiting his public trial. Even in the midst of the media frenzy surrounding him, Ghomeshi is given the benefit of the doubt pending his day in court. Rev. Tankard and MPs Massimo Pacetti and Scott Andrews have been denied that basic tenet of justice.
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