Author: Gregory Staley
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Richard Wagner was the opening speaker at the Centre For International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) for their 2020 Hon Justice CD Gonthier Memorial Lecture titled “Human Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals & the Law”. Justice Wagner was appointed to the Supreme Court by Prime Minister Stephen Harper but elevated to the position of “chief” justice by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
We will get into some of the details of what he said at the event – but merely being at the event as a speaker already appears to be a potential conflict of interest.
Here’s why I say that. On the CISDL website, on the about page under a subsection titled “Integrating environment, human rights and economy through legal scholarship and empowerment” the website says that “CISDL leads global initiatives and projects in collaboration with a range of international partner organizations including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Ramsar Convention, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), among others, and is an accredited observer organization to the United Nations General Assembly’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).“
Merely speaking at the memorial lecture calls into question the judges impartiality in making a constitutional decision related to the carbon tax. One of the collaborative partners of this organization included the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which states on their website that developed countries should lead the way in cutting emissions.
The UNFCCC also ignores any debate around climate change – stating it more as an irrefutable fact and not a debate topic although scientific consensus on the topic doesn’t exist. There are also many other biased sponsors of the event that fully and openly endorse the catastrophic climate change idea. The basic question is if Justice Wagner spoke at this event – does he believe the same ideas espoused at the event?
It gets worse – CISDL, the platform for which Justice Wagner was speaking says the following about climate change on their website:
“Climate change is already reaching the threshold for significant impacts upon sustainable development. Recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimate that climate change will cost governments more than $100 billion a year in loss and damage – an estimate that includes the cost of rising sea levels, higher temperatures, crop losses, and fresh water shortages, but does not account for more devastating scenarios such as typhoons and floods.”
This statement assumes that we are already reaching the threshold for significant impacts upon sustainable development.
This rationale doesn’t take into account a great number of things as outlined by Affordable Energy Canada’s Dan Mctague who said that a majority of justices don’t acknowledge that the science is in dispute, don’t acknowledge that there may be a series of different approaches other than taxes (sorry, regulatory charges) and that they have no reservation about stepping into matters of public policy dispute.
Justice Wagner at CISDL 2020
A few things the Supreme court Justice said stood out to us here at Diverge Media – here is a list of those things:
Justice Wagner began by saying that “these lectures follow a day of productive and timely conversations regarding the links between human rights, sustainable development and the law. I commend you for taking the time to engage so fully with the important things of today’s symposium and commend the organizers for their creativity and resolve in making this symposium and these lectures possible through virtual means.”
“Thank you to the centre for International sustainable development law. We are in the midst of challenging times that call for innovative solutions to facilitate global recovery and progress while ensuring that individuals are kept safe and secure in every sense of those words. These times shed a clear spotlight on the relationship between the individual and society and how inexplicably linked we are as local, national and international communities.”
Skipping ahead to later in the speech after Justice Wagner spoke warmly about Justice Gonthier for quite some time – whom the memorial was for.
“Justice Gonthier was able to demonstrate clear links between the law and human experience in his judgements. The importance of creating these links is reflected in Justice Gonthier’s views of the courts. He recognized that judges often served as the vehicle through which the law is expressed and are called upon to be educators of public understanding and mediators of sometimes deep social conflicts.“
“Justice Gonthier was keenly aware that because of this the way in which courts approach cases has a profound impact for the rule of law and legitimacy for the courts as democratic institutions. Speaking of the role of courts in analyzing complex multi-dimensional issues such as the environment he observed that the impartiality, understanding and humanity conveyed in the court’s approach to the issues is critical to enhance public understanding and acceptance of the law and the legal rules. In tackling the challenges we face today there is much to be learned from the details of Justice Gonthier’s impactful legal career. Perhaps most (can’t understand) Justice Goithiers legacy reminds us of the importance of seeing the individual in the collective and the collective in the individual.“
This is the part that stood out to me, as in my opinion, it pertains to the constitutional question around the carbon tax.
Justice Wagner said “In times of crisis, insular and overly individualist thinking poses great risk as do actions which fail to recognize that rights take their meaning from communal respect for the protections they guarantee. Integrating the concept of fraternity into our decision-making both as individuals and as a society may guide us towards striking the right balance. “
When this line of thinking is coupled with the climate change debate you can see the potential conflicts. If you believe catastrophic climate change is happening and is the result of human behaviour you might be more willing to overrule the rights of the individual for the “rights” of the collective because you may believe that doing so is the right thing.
As things stand, a supreme court Justice spoke at an event for CISDL that collaborates with international partners – which include many United Nations groups promoting climate alarmism and the need for drastic “solutions” to combat climate change – was he impartial in his decision-making process?
The platform on which Justice Wagner spoke (CISDL), claims that “climate change is already reaching the threshold for significant impacts upon sustainable development”. This leaves out any room for debate on the topic. It also indicates that CISDL is all for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – this presents the potential for conflict with what is best for Canadians.
Canadians deserve to know that this story – it’s in the public interest. I don’t believe this judge could remain impartial given his connection to CISDL. CISDL is collaborates with many United Nations organizations that are adamant that catastrophic climate change is occurring. Those same groups appear to ignore any scientific opinion contrary to there own. What do you think – is this a conflict of interest? Is it at least a perceived conflict of interest?
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Article updated Sun, Mar 28th, 2021 at 1030 am ET.