David Akin - July 4th, 2014
This morning, Federal Court of Canada Justice Anne Mactavish delivered a sharply worded judgement slamming a decision, made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet, to deny some refugee claimants the benefits of Canada’s publicly funded health care system.
It’s the latest clash between the Harper government and the country’s judges.
Some quotes from the 256-page judgement [which you can read for yourself here]: Read more…
David Akin - March 21st, 2014
David Akin - December 20th, 2013
The Supreme Court today delivered a landmark ruling on prostitution. My colleague Daniel Proussalidis has the news here and Justice Minister Peter MacKay has released a statement in response.
Another colleague this morning remarked that reaction among those who vote for candidates of MacKay’s party, i.e. The Conservative Party of Canada, is likely to be mixed: The libertarian set will see nothing wrong at all with what the Court is saying. The social conservatives, on the other hand, will be terribly distressed.
But both libertarians and social conservatives are likely to be upset at the fact that these decisions — landmark decisions — are not being made by any legislature or by any government that must regularly defend its decisions to voters, but instead are being made by judges.
Employment Minister Jason Kenney was asked about this decision at a press conference he gave in Calgary on another matter hours after the release of the court ruling. Kenney sums up this ‘conservative’ objection: ”I think that in our system of government there is an understandable primacy of Parliament as the democratic deliberative process and that my own view is that the judiciary should be restrained at the exercise of judicial power in overturning a democratic consensus. Having said that, we of course respect the independence of the judiciary and its role. We will review the decision and determine what is the necessary next step to ensure the protection of vulnerable women from sexual exploitation.”
Maclean’s political editor Paul Wells talks about what Kenney is getting at in his book The Longer I’m Prime Minister and while I’m going to quote a big chunk from that book here on this topic, there is more in the book … Read more…
David Akin - November 12th, 2013
The first one to take a kick at this week’s political football was Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who said on Twitter on Sunday he would be prepared to reconsider some of the mandatory minimum sentence provisions brought in by the Harper government over the last few years.
Ok. Interesting idea. Tell me more. Which, in Trudeau’s view would be the most likely mandatory minimum sentence (hereinfter known as MMS) provisions to roll back?
He didn’t expand on this on Twitter, so I e-mailed Trudeau’s press people yesterday morning with this message: Read more…
David Akin - November 10th, 2013
Earlier this month, a judge in Kitchener, Ont. said he was “embarrassed” to do what Parliament had told him to do and levy a “victim surcharge” fine on those convicted of crimes.
Last month, a judge in Manitoba said the decision by Parliament (i.e. the Conservative majority) to impose mandatory miniumum sentences in all cases results in “cruel and unusual punishment” in some cases. The judge ignore Parliament’s wish and did not impose a mandatory minimum sentence.
Those two judges — and others who don’t like Parliament telling them what to do — have a friend in Justin Trudeau who, a few minutes ago on Twitter, responded to a question about mandatory miniumums this way: