There's an interesting meme spreading through Wankerville North these days -- a legalistic, nitpicky, hair-splitting talking point regarding whether PM Stephen Harper has the right (constitutional or otherwise) to drastically reduce public and media access to official government functions, meetings and so forth.
The overwhelming pedantry of these arguments can be seen at this previously-referenced wanker site, where one can get a flavour of the legalism just by extracting the nitpickery:
... Constitution ... Charter of Rights and Freedoms ... Canadian jurisprudence ... Privy Councillors’ Oath ... section 69 of the Access to Information Act, section 70 of the Privacy Act, and section 39 of the Canada Evidence Act ... Franco-American interpretation of constitutional power ... documentary justification ...
Well, you get the idea -- much arm-waving, blustery legalese and linking, as if any of this had any relevance whatsoever. Because, of course, it doesn't. The people making these arguments have completely lost sight of the real issue here and that is not whether what Harper is doing is legal or constitutional -- it's whether what he's doing is right.
As an example of the difference, one need look no further than the constant badgering by Bible-whomping Christians to be able to spout their religious gibberish at every public event they bother to invade. At least in the U.S., every one of these arguments is buttressed by tortured readings of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, writings of the Founding Father and so on; in short, a completely litigious approach to the argument.
But no one bothers to step back and ask the simpler question: "Even if you folks could establish the legal authority to do this, is it really the right thing to do? Even if you were allowed to do this, isn't there something unseemly and just plain rude and bullying about forcing your religious views on those who have very politely said that they just aren't interested and thanks but no thanks?"
Returning to the case of Stephen Harper, everyone seems to be asking him how he (constitutionally, it appears) defends this latest strategy. But that's the wrong question. The right question is much simpler, and can be asked both of Harper and his litigious defenders, and it would be: "Even if the legal right exists, don't you think Canadian citizens have the right to know about the workings of the government they voted into office? Don't they deserve that? Isn't that how democracy works?"
Don't tell me what you think is legal. Tell me what you think is right. That's the more important question here.