My Tuesday National Post column is a workmanlike attempt to set context for Alberta's controversial (and inevitably Supreme Court-bound) tort reforms on soft-tissue injuries. Like much of my work, it is not a polemic for or against a particular policy, just an effort to encourage straightforward thinking about it. It is odd that when it comes to healthcare, the Canadian right has sometimes been quick to embrace the "judicial activism" it ordinarily laments, and the Canadian left often seems willing to let individual rights stand in the way of central planning for efficiency (which is the opposite of the inherent logical premise of medicare). And I'm not sure my own thinking about tort reform is any more coherent through-and-through. But as the column indicates, I am reluctant to regard the right to sue for wholly subjective pain-and-suffering damages (which, unlike pecuniary damages, could conceivably be multiplied or divided a thousandfold without impinging on their supposed rationality) as anything but a historically contingent policy choice that governments should feel free to reverse.
A disclosure note I couldn't work into the text: the lawyer for the plaintiffs is Fred Kozak, who is a dominant figure in Canadian media law and has fought on the side of press freedom in many if not most of the important recent cases, including ones to which the National Post was party. He is someone journalists should be naming their children after, and fully deserves to be on any hypothetical shortlist for "Greatest Living Edmontonian".