Book Podcast - Combating the Tragic Flaw in Global Governance
Errol Mendes, Full Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa, joins co-host Andrew Koltun to discuss his new book, Global Governance, Human Rights and International Law: Combating the Tragic Flaw. Mendes explains his thesis that there is a critical flaw within the system of global governance and international law. He then proceeds to shed light on the origin of the flaw, how the UN has entrenched this flaw, and what he suggests may be the future implications of this fault in global governance and international law may be. Mendes also explains what he believes to be short and long term methods of combating this flaw, the role of Responsibility to Protect, and concludes the discussion with insights into the case of Syria, as well as the role of civil society within states.
Presentation at the Bill C-20 (39th Parliament, 2nd Session) Committee
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I am going to present my ideas in English, however I would be glad to entertain your comments and respond to your questions in French. Thank you.
I suggest that Bill C-20, entitled the Senate Appointment Consultations Act, is giving a false impression to the regions of Canada, especially western Canada, that substantial democratic reforms are being attempted by the present government to do indirectly what cannot constitutionally be done directly under our Constitution. As many experts have pointed out, this act will entrench, enlarge, and enliven not the triple-E Senate that Bert Brown talks about, but the gross inequality of western Canada, the provinces, and indeed even Ontario in the Senate.
The Constitutional Dangers in the Senate Reform and Nadon Debacles
The controversy over the Senate reform proposals by the Harper government and the recent historically embarrassing ruling for Harper in the Supreme Court over the appointment of Justice Marc Nadon are raising serious concerns about the Conservative government's respect for the essential features of Canada's constitutional order.
Restoring trust in the Senate
Justin Trudeau, in spectacular fashion on Wednesday, announced that existing Liberal senators would no longer be part of the Liberal caucus. He is challenging the Harper Conservatives to do the same. The objective of this potentially historic democratic reform move is to help make the Senate independent and less partisan. However, the really important part of the Trudeau bombshell was the possible appointment process of future Senators if the Liberals were to form the government.
Attempt to smear Chief Justice an affront to our constitutional system
A fundamental principle of democracy is that elected governments understand and appreciate the workings of checks and balances against their range of powers. In the Canadian constitutional system, even if a government has a majority in the House of Commons, a prime minister will understand that his political goals will sometimes be challenged by a range of actors in society from citizens to the courts.
Ukraine Is Another Example of a Dangerous World of Clashing Hegemons
When the history of the early decades of the 21st Century is written, it may well be called the era of multiple clashing hegemons. The most recent global crisis triggered by President Putin's decision to militarily invade the Ukrainian region of Crimea, on the flimsy pretext of protecting Russian interests, is a reassertion of the Russian hegemon that seeks to regain the influence that dissolved with the Soviet Union.