There are times when you are watching a TV program that the following message flashes onto the screen: “We interrupt this program to bring you the following breaking news.” This writer wants to interrupt the series on “time” to call for a serious look into the issues that surround the SNC-Lavalin story.
Webster’s dictionary gives the following definition of justice:
a) the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments
b) the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments
c) conformity to truth, fact, or reason
Transparency and truth are two key elements in justice. We have all been in situations where one of our children comes and pours out a tale of woe against another sibling. Then the offending sibling emerges, and we hear quite a different story. A family circus episode depicts it accurately. The little girl taunts Billy with the words, “Dumb, stupid, jerk!” Billy’s response is a well-aimed punch. The little girl runs to her mother and tattles on Billy. One of the other mothers in the room responds with: “Why do men have to be so aggressive?”
Getting both sides of the story doesn’t justify Billy’s action but it does give you a more complete picture of the transaction.
I am sure that Jody Wilson-Raybould was fully aware of the laws governing the undisclosed taping of conversations, whether by phone or private conversation. My concern is that the government has used the wrong of her action to deflect guilt.
A few months ago, I read the account of a visiting philosophy professor who was teaching at one of the Ivy League universities. I wish I could recall the source of the information, but I can’t. During the course of one lecture he posed the following question: “Was it right for the British to impose a law on the Indian people banning the burning alive of the wife of the deceased man alongside his cremation? One student responded by saying, “The British should not have been there in the first place.” The question was deflected from the moral issues of killing an innocent woman to an assessment of colonialism.
The real issue is not the taping of a conversation and what that does to erode trust but rather, was the Attorney General being pressured to make a political decision rather than a just decision? It is one thing to say that we welcome diversity but quite another when ideological ideas and ideals collide.
Transparency and truth are absolutely essential for justice to prevail. The problem lies in the fact that each of us brings a biased perspective to what we see and hear. During a counseling session, the wife accused the husband of yelling at her. I have a hearing deficiency, but I did not hear him yell. In my mind I combed through the conversation and recalled a significant statement the husband had made. I repeated the statement and then asked the wife if this is when he yelled. Her response was immediate: “See, Duane agrees with me. You yelled when you said that.” The fact is, he didn’t yell but the impact was as if he had yelled.
Remember, my perception is my reality! It may not be what you see and hear but it is what I see and hear. A wise judge. counselor, arbitrator, or friend will skillfully put the pieces together so that justice can be served.
So, what happens when it is a clash of ideologies? Dialectical materialism (Socialism) and free-market enterprise are built on differing philosophical ideas. However, they have one common thread—both are committed to the good of the whole. Even though this illustration is removed from where most of us live, the principle remains the same. Many couples have said, “We have nothing in common.” However, when they explore their life values, they discover that they have more in common than they thought.
Unfortunately, our culture is moving away from objective justice to subjective impact. We are more concerned with the impact of an action than its alignment to historic moral values. The western world condemns the murder of 50 Muslims in New Zealand, and rightly so. However, there is silence when over 300 Christians were massacred in eastern Nigeria two weeks earlier.
Justice is justice, regardless of ethnicity, political alignment, religious convictions, gender identity or sexual practice. Justice requires transparent dialogue without hiding behind pre-determined labels that satisfy the person with the label gun but do little to understand the one being labelled.
Let’s keep Canada “the true north strong and free.” A land where truth is not trampled under prejudice and justice perverted by personal interests.