Martin's suggestion that he has to alter the Charter to save it is based on ignoring how much room there is to alter the document through interpretation. Now, I'm sure that Martin does in fact know this and is just praying on the fears of the ignorant voter. Unless his change is written into the Constitution it could simply be undone by a future government. Martin likely knows this also. During the whole SSM debate the ability of the Court to read the document with a wide degree of latitude was loudly trumpeted by those in favour and I argued that while it is helping you now, it might return to bite you in the ass in the future. The Martin Liberals are scared to death that future might be near at hand and are now claiming constructionism is the way to go. My originalist argument was that while the laws certainly need to be respectful of changes going on in the culture, the way to do this is through the process of revision and amendment in the house of commons. That is what we elect these people to do. The house is filled with three hundred and eight members elected from all across the country, who must respond to their local riding in order to keep their seats. The judges of the supreme court are, in contrast, ten people appointed (no real judicial review in Canada) by the PM. They answer to no one and were elected by no one. Martin's proposed course of action - increasing the autonomy of the court - is a step in the direction of a star chamber. The Liberal party has a preference for a loosey goosey manner of legal interpretation. It helps grease the wheels of government in their efforts to get the trains to run on time. This makes their claim to stand or fall on the text of the Charter somewhat ridiculous, and it means that voting Liberal means you can't be really sure about what you're getting. More specifically, in this case what they want to save is not so much the Charter, but their interpretation of it. No one who is not pure can be allowed near it, or Martin will turn red and wave his arms.
Martin and the Liberals are over the line and think that their vision of the country is the only "true" one. Non Liberal Francophones and westerners can't allowed to touch the levers of power because we would only dilute the glorious truth of their stealth revolution. As a democrat and a Trinitarian, I think there is a lot to recommend interaction of differing parties. Here's a quote that gets at the same idea. As J.S. Mill wrote (surprised?):
He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion. ... Nor is it enough that he should hear the arguments of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. That is not the way to do justice to the arguments, or bring them into real contact with his own mind. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them; who defend them in earnest, and do their very utmost for them. He must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form; he must feel the whole force of the difficulty which the true view of the subject has to encounter and dispose of; else he will never really possess himself of the portion of truth which meets and removes that difficulty.The deliberations of the Court would be enriched with the addition of new points of view that fall in the wide range of Canadian tradition. The Martin government is doing its utmost to permanently exclude them and in so doing, it would alter the nature of the Charter and the court that gives it life. This fear ridden attempt, done as a campaign afterthought, is the height of irresponsibility. Just go, Mr. Martin. Please, just GO.