What I would like for 2016
I haven’t met a friendly genie or wizard, alas ― and anyway, if I did, I’d ask for an unlimited supply of wishes. I’ll still make three wishes for the new year, and hope that they come true. Here’s what I would like…
… for the country:
A government that cares about the constitution, and not only when that is convenient. There are good intentions in that regard, as Emmett Macfarlane’s review of the new Justice Minister’s mandate letter demonstrates. But, as I have suggested, some of the government’s plans in the realm of democratic reform may raise serious constitutional issues. More importantly, this year is when the new government’s intentions, good or otherwise, will have to start taking shape and meeting the constraints of political reality. Wrapping yourself in the Charter is easy. Actually accepting that there are constitutional limits on your power, including of course on your ability to do (what you think is) good ― not so much.
… for the Canadian legal blogosphere:
A blog by a retired judge, following the example set on the other side of the pond by Sir Henry Brooke. As the Clawbies team once again reminded us when it attributed the 2015 Canadian Law Blogging Awards, our blawgging universe is ever expanding, and full of bright stars. It is, however, missing one, admittedly somewhat exotic, type of object ― a blog by judge. An active judge venturing into the blogosphere is perhaps too much to ask for; the risk of trouble might be too high, though I am not entirely sure about that. And, as Adam Dodek has pointed out, even retired judges who “trade on their ‘judge status'” to talk about controversial issues risk undermining the perception of the judiciary’s independence and separation from (partisan) politics. But Sir Henry’s blog demonstrates brilliantly that a retired judge can be interesting, entertaining even, without being controversial, and share his considerable experience with an online audience without compromising the judiciary’s image and standing. It would, I think, be great if a Canadian judge wondering what to do with in his or her present or impending retirement decided to follow Sir Henry’s example.
… for myself (and for Double Aspect):
A job that allows me to keep blogging! I haven’t discussed my own situation much since I have taken up blogging, and do not intend to inflict it on you in the future. However, I thought I might be allowed a momentary derogation from this principle. As my doctoral studies come to a close this year, I’ll need to find something else to do ― ideally, something that will not require me to quit blogging. I have had no luck on this front so far, so if you happen to have such a job on offer, or to know of one, I would love to hear from you.
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You may have noticed that I have changed the blog’s appearance to some extent. I hope that this has improved readability. If you have strong opinions ― good or bad ― about this, please let me know.