Skip to main content
The largest online newspaper archive
A Publisher Extra® Newspaper

Star-Phoenix from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada • 17

Publication:
Star-Phoenixi
Location:
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Issue Date:
Page:
17
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

Monday, May 2, 1988 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Star-Phoenix til Estey speaks mmmm By Stephen Bindman For Southam News OTTAWA Willard Zebedee Estey Bud to his friends plops his feet on top of his cluttered desk and notes for the record there are no holes in the soles. "The reason I put my feet on my desk," explains Estey, who until he retired April 22 was known as Mr. Justice Estey of the Supreme Court of Canada, "is that I've been doing it for a hundred years. "Usually I have a hole in my shoe but these are new ones so I'm not afraid. The worst thing I do is I put on one shoe of one kind and one of another.

I'm quite absent-minded." Pierre Trudeau plucked him from the benches of the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1977, the 68-year-old grandfather of eight promised himself he would only stay for 10 years. He made it out of the "city of non-enterprise" in 11. "That 10-per-cent wastage is not bad in Ottawa," he joked. "I've been in all kinds of jobs in my life and there's some I haven't been in and I'd like to try. Secondly, I think this job requires a fresh approach once in a while.

I don't want to stay here until they cart me out." Since he announced his retirement, the telephone offers from Toronto law firms have begun to roll in and to each, Estey responds with a polite, "No." lliiitil -iiV XV "Obviously the Supreme Court can improve itself and will. This is a funny place. It's like the fellow digging a hole. You can dig it as fast or as slow as you lone dissenter wasn't identified. Estey now admits it was him.

And he hasn't changed his mind an iota. "If another Hong Kong rolls around when we ship two batal-lions to certain death and the masses of the nation want to know why their sons were exposed to that, who are they going to turn to? Not to a politician, not to a professor, not to a clergyman. A police court judge down in the basement of city hall? "No the public aren't going to accept that. They're going to say 'that guy sitting on the Supreme If the Meech Lake accord is ever ratified, the prime minister would have to choose a new judge from a list of candidates supplied by the province affected. But in a radical departure from traditional judicial thinking, Estey says he could live with taking the process one step further parliamentary confirmation hearings similar to those in the United States.

"I don't think the community would unravel if we adopted the American system," he confides. Then he recalls the problems U.S. President Ronald Reagan had in appointing a judge to the U.S. Supreme Court. His first nominee, the ultra-conservative Robert Bork, was rejected by the Senate after a series of gruelling committee hearings.

The second choice, Douglas Ginsburg, withdrew after he admitted he had smoked marijuana in his younger days. "It's like a slaughterhouse you get the results you want but there's a lot of blood on the walls. I think that will narrow down the number of people who will volunteer to go into that packinghouse treatment. "On the other hand, the closed circuit system we use in Canada doesn't allow much input by the democratic basement of our community, the electorate. It's all based upon the theory that you elect good people who in turn appoint good people.

That's a debatable formula." highest court metes out its justice. He calls it the poorest building he's ever worked in lousy air conditioning, no intercom, noisy corridors, no windows and "probably the worst working library in Canada." "The elevators go about a mile an hour. They're so slow you have to put a dining room in them so we won't kill the public off with malnutrition coming up to see our cases." But what of the quality of justice dispensed from Wellington Street? Despite recent criticism of the Supreme Court's mounting backlog and its slow pace in turning out judgments, Estey is emphatic the Supreme Court "is not a cesspool of rot." "Obviously the Supreme Court can improve itself and will. This is a funny place. It's like the fellow digging a hole.

You can dig it as fast or as slow as you want but you're never going to get to the bottom." But he rejects a Canadian Bar Association study last summer which warned that, unless sweeping reforms were made, the serious backlog problem "will become critical in the near future." "I think the garage keeps my car too long," he says. "What relevance has that got? I don't know how to repair the car. "Some people who criticize us don't know how to run a court. Some people say our judgments are too short or cryptic. Professors want us to write Encyclopedia Britannica on a case they happen to be interested in.

"The litigant wants us to say who won. They don't want to pay for a great big long roll of wallpaper with reasons and near-reasons." You also have to remember, Estey says, that sometimes the nine justices are highly efficient, and sometimes they're "good thinkers but inefficient." "It's not a baseball team where you can send them down to the farm if they're not hitting the ball." The bar association study blamed part of the court's delay want but you're never going to get to the bottom.1 -Willard Kstcy Under the rules of the Law Society of Upper Canada, he says, he couldn't appear as a lawyer in any Ontario court anyway. "I've had 50 years fooling around with the law and I'd just as soon let somebody else make the mistakes." Though he'd like to do something in the world of business his secretary suggests he'd make a fortune in his next life as a stand-up comic only two things are certain about Estey's life after the Supreme Court. He'll return as quickly as possible to his dearly beloved Toronto, where he made his mark as a whiz-kid Bay Street lawyer. Second, "I neither want the Senate or arthritis.

They act a lot alike." The plain-talking, no-nonsense Estey has a lot to say about the building where the country's Preliminaries dispensed with, he begins his rant. And few things escape Estey's rhetorical net the inefficiency of public servants, Ottawa's traffic, the CBC (he calls it the Chinese Broadcasting Corporation), how hard it is to get last night's hockey scores, and the abysmal facilities at the Supreme Court building. Until his retirement, Estey was one of the cloistered nine justices of the country's highest court rarely seen publicly but with the new power to influence the day-to-day lives of millions of Canadians. Now he's speaking out. On everything.

In the folksy, homespun manner that has become the Saskatchewan native's trademark, Estey likes to compare life to cars and baseball games. When former prime minister MR. JUSTICE WILLARD ESTEY now he's able to speak his mind on Estey's absence from the bench for almost a year while he headed a royal commission into the collapse of the Northlands and Canadian Commercial Banks. It recommended that Su preme Court justices no longer be yanked away from the bench by politicians to sit on such inquiries. In their formal response to the report, all but one of the justices agreed with the suggestion.

The Retired justice wrote first judgment based on Charter OTTAWA Willard Estey's stay on the Supreme Court of Canada likely will be remembered for his judgment in an obscure case involving a South African-born lawyer's fight to practise law in Ontario. In the Skapinker case of 1984, Estey wrote the court's first judgment involving the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In a ringing endorsement of the then two-year-old charter, he warned against a "narrow and technical" interpretation of the constitutional document. odd-ball things that we seem to have survived 150 years without. "But I'm quite confident that the tide is going out.

We're going to sober out and the charter is going to find its niche." In the early days after it was adopted, Estey says there was a "wave of freewheeling, hipshooting" judgments in the lower courts. Now, he concedes, there are fewer "paper-thin" issues being raised under the charter. He called the charter "a new yardstick of reconciliation between the individual and the community and their respective rights." "The charter is designed and adopted to guide and serve the Canadian community for a long time," Estey wrote. On the whole, he said in an interview, it is "quite a successful document." "But I think some of the charter's provisions are far too sweeping and put at risk some of our basic consequences of law unnecessarily and have left the courts to save the nation from floundering. "But I don't know anyone who'd be astute enough to write a charter of that magnitude without making a few mistakes." Still, Estey warns that some lawyers are using it too much.

As a result, too many constitutional cases are making their way to the Supreme Court. "I think it (the charter) has displaced too many ordinary cases that people in the street are interested in, in favor of "The charter is available (to a lawyer) like a whole new armory of weapons and he's going to test them all. It's going to be painful for some conservative, convention-minded people who say it's nonsense. "But it's not nonsense. The charter will be fitted into our judicial system and it will serve its role and the country will be the better for it.

In the meantime, this generation suffers growing pains." Ottawa blocks anti-AIDS drug 'lf a company is going to sell this and is going to say it will help fight AIDS, it must be urged the government to sponsor a trial of the drug. "Nobody knows if this drug is good or if it's bad," he said. "But the government should not just turn the spigot off; it should redirect its energy toward further study." approved as a drug. Dr. Michael Davis chief of clinical trials Federal Centre for AIDS TORONTO (CP) Federal health officials have blocked the sale of an experimental anti-AIDS drug because the Toronto manufacturer failed to get it approved.

Dextran Sulphate, a sugar compound, is being tested on people with AIDS in San Francisco and is sold over the counter in Japan as a weight-loss remedy. About half a million tablets of the chemical were made in Toronto last month but federal officials blocked their distribution at the last minute. Health officials said the move was necessary to protect consumers from taking an untested and possibly toxic chemical. "If a company is going to sell this and is going to say it will help fight AIDS, it must be approved as a drug," said Dr. Michael Davis; chief of clinical trials for the Federal Centre for AIDS.

"You can't sell it as a nutritiorf-al supplement." Dextran president George Usher said he had planned to sell Dextran Sulphate as an anti-AIDS food supplement in health food lit- jsw3lN stores. Now he hopes to use the tablets in an approved AIDS study, although he said he has so far failed to persuade researchers to study the compound. Dr. Denis Conway, of AIDS Action Now, said the decision will frustrate people with the disease. "I understand the attempts to shield Canadians from chemicals that can cause them harm, but those who have catastrophic illnesses feel they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking an experimental drug," he said.

Phil Shaw, spokesman for the AIDS Committee of Toronto, Greenpeace avoids duty payment laboratory for the analysis of water and sediment. Last week, custor officials said Greenpeace would have to pay the duty, which is applied to vessles "imported for use" in Canada. But when a Canadian vessel capable of performing the same functions could not be found, the duty was waived and replaced by a small monthly charge that is a fraction of the regular duty. MONTREAL (CP) -Greenpeace won't have to pay $125,000 duty on a riverboat brought into Canada to check "toxic hot spots" on the St. Lawrence and Saguenay rivers, Canada Customs officials have decided.

That means the environmental organization's tour of the rivers will begin Thursday in Montreal as planned, using the vessel, called the Beluga, as a floating Family gathering Prime Minister Brian Mulroney buttons the coat of his son, Nicholas, while his second eldest son, Mark, 9, looks on. The Mulroneys were gathering at Holy Cross Church In Ottawa tor Mark's confirmation. (CP) Trappers, opponents fight for attention SHOPPING CENTER DIRECTOR Applications are currently being accepted for the position of Marketing Director for an over 250,000 square foot Saskatoon shopping center. Ideally this person would have a proven background In promotions, retail andor media with related experience together with excellent interpersonal skills. This person will be responsible for all aspects of marketingpromoting the center and maintaining financial records.

Excellent wages and benefit package offered. Reply in confidence to: Box 659C Star-Phoenix 204 5th Ave. North SASKATOON, Sask. S7K 2P1 mals for fur, they're against killing animals for anything." But the other side disagreed. "There's a difference between killing an animal so that we can look good In a fur coat and killing an animal for food," said Marie-Josee Cadieux, who took her dog, Wushu, to the demonstration.

Wushu, a black Bouvier, carried a sandwich board over its back with a sign reading "Leave us alone." Concordia University biology student Joanne Jonas added: "I eat meat but I don't think it's necessary to kill animals for clothes. "We're not in the cavemen days anymore when people had to put furs on their backs." The four-day fair had some 200 exhibits set up for thousands of retailers from around the world. ists) should take a bit of their own advice and educate themselves on what's happening in the trapping field," said Bob Stevenson, executive director of the Aboriginal Trappers Federation of Canada. "Maybe they'd learn something." Added Alan Herscovici, author of Second Nature: The AnimaJ-Rights Controversy, "These people aren't only against killing ani MONTREAL (CP) Opposing sides of the fur-trapping debate vied for media attention Saturday outside a downtown hotel hosting the Canadian International Fur Fair. As nearly 80 animal-rights ao tivists told reporters about the cruelty of trapping, industry supporters spoke of modem techniques which minimize suffering.

"They (the animal-rights activ.

Get access to Newspapers.com

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 300+ newspapers from the 1700's - 2000's
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra® Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the Star-Phoenix
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

About Star-Phoenix Archive

Pages Available:
1,256,253
Years Available:
1902-2024