I was in the middle of writing an article deploring the use of “judicial notice” in child vaccination cases when – boom! – the game-changing decision of Justice Alex Pazaratz in the case JN v. CG came out. Until then, I had not been able to discover a single case where a dispute over whether or not to vaccinate children for COVID-19 had been decided in favour of the parent who didn’t want to vaccinate.
Instead, I discovered long strings of cases in several provinces where judges had simply followed one another like sheep, taking judicial notice of things that their predecessors had taken judicial notice of, and never genuinely applying their minds to the question of whether that practice might have flaws. The result was invariably to rule in favour of the parent who parroted the public health authorities.
Justice Pazaratz, however, is no stranger to notoriety. Dozens of scholarly articles and blog posts have accumulated in the CanLII legal database about previous no-nonsense decisions he has rendered in family law cases.
It took an independent-minded judge like him to point out that only facts – not opinions – can properly be taken judicial notice of. The “facts” that many previous judges had relied upon regarding the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in preventing infections are now starting to crumble all over the place.
In the US, CDC director Rochelle Walensky admitted on January 10, 2022, that vaccines cannot prevent transmission of COVID. In Canada, even Ontario Premier Doug Ford – previously one of Canada’s strictest advocates of vaccine mandates – finally admitted that “It doesn’t matter if you have one shot or ten shots – you can catch COVID.”
Evidence is now emerging in scientific studies from Israel and the United States that when considering all-cause mortality, “…the risks of COVID vaccines and boosters outweigh the benefits in children…”. Although these figures remain controversial, there is at least enough disagreement among highly-credentialed experts to make it clear that opinions about vaccination safety do not fall within the description of “beyond reasonable dispute” that’s needed for judicial notice.
Given what we now know about vaccine-induced myocarditis in children, it’s possible that some Canadian judges will ultimately be responsible for the permanent incapacitation or early deaths of some of the children they have ordered to be vaccinated.
I have always found it extremely troubling that judges never suffer any adverse consequences from making decisions that subsequently turn out to be wrong. If erroneous decisions are reversed on appeal, judges may suffer some slight embarrassment among their colleagues, but their pay is not docked, they don’t have to compensate the litigants whose futures they may have wrecked, they don’t get fired, and their lives roll on exactly as before.
Theoretically, they can be removed from the bench for serious misconduct, but only with parliamentary approval, after an investigation by the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC).
The CJC is composed of other judges, who seem to go rather lightly on their colleagues.
In this century, the CJC has only twice recommended that a judge be removed from office, once for “pervasive incompetence”. Both judges chose to retire instead. But they still got to keep all the salaries they had been paid during the period when they were guilty of misconduct, and they paid no compensation to anyone affected by their incompetence. Nice gig if you can get it.
Even now that Justice Pazaratz’s decision is circulating widely, nothing will happen to the flock of sheeplike judges who wrongly decided within the past year or two that they could take judicial notice of vaccines being “safe and effective”, and ignore any contrary evidence as “misinformation.” The children who were vaccinated at their command can’t be unvaccinated. The judges can’t be sued for any health problems that arise.
Something is wrong with this system. I’ve been denouncing it for decades, but to no avail. The idea of personal responsibility for the judiciary seems too remote for most people to fathom.
Of course, the same problem exists with politicians: they never have to pay for their mistakes either, except possibly indirectly by not being re-elected. If compensation is ultimately found to be owing to people who were wronged by a government’s action—for instance, the aboriginal children who were taken involuntarily to residential schools, or the Japanese Canadians who were interned in camps during World War II—it is always the taxpayers who pay, not the politicians who actually did the deed.
It’s happening now with vaccines. A Vaccine Injury Support Program has been set up for those who are injured by COVID-19 jabs, but the compensation that will be paid to them – if they’re lucky enough to get any – will be paid by taxpayers collectively, not by Justin Trudeau, Doug Ford, or Dr. Tam who strong-armed them into getting vaccinated. Many of the taxpayers who’ll have to pay are people like me, who did everything we could to oppose mandatory vaccination.
There’s no better way of ensuring that people behave recklessly than immunizing them from liability for their actions. This has to change. Imagine how differently politicians would behave, how much more cautious they’d be if they thought they’d actually have to ante up for the harm they’d caused.
Someone recently said to me that the opinions of judges are “lagging indicators” rather than “leading indicators” of public opinion. I hope they’re right. This would mean that the views expressed by Justice Pazaratz after two long years are a sign that public opinion has finally turned.
Karen Selick is a columnist for the Western Standard
Karen Selick is a Columnist for the Western Standard and based near Belleville, Ontario.
She been a columnist for the National Post, Canadian Lawyer Magazine, and the original Western Standard. She retired in 2016 after 38 years of practicing law.
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