A growing First Nations campaign that’s demanding a conversation with the federal government about treaty rights is set to culminate in a mass march on Parliament Hill on Friday. Read more…
Archive for December 20th, 2012
For obvious reasons Canadians often compare themselves to Americans including on public policy, hoping to feel smug, fearing feeling insecure or, ideally, looking for useful lessons in comparative politics, policy and culture. But we should also direct a great deal of attention to Britain, from which our institutions and much of our culture are more directly derived and which therefore offers some useful if often discouraging lessons.
Some people think the Supreme Court just ruled that women could be allowed to testify in court with their face covered. That’s not what the Court ruled.
The ruling is here. It’s a split decision. Split three ways, actually.
It’s long, it’s at times complicated, and it sure is confusing. Here’s the short version:
First of all, this particular woman was turned down. Her case will now be going back to the lower court for trial, and she will most likely have to remove her veil. But the Court also laid down some general guidelines – for other cases.
As a rule, in cases where there are serious accusations involving criminal matters, there should be no veil. In cases where the witness’s testimony is not central to the case, or in cases where the witness’s credibility is not very important, then the veil can, in some cases and at the trial judge’s discretion, be allowed.
I’m not wild about this ruling. I was hoping the Court would say no veil no how – in Canada we conduct our judicial affairs openly and that’s just that. But it’s not nearly as bad as some early reactions seem to indicate. The Court I think achieved a pretty good balance on this, even though I personally am displeased.
(Oh, and in case you’re wondering: My initial reaction was *very* unhappy, because I thought the Court had opened the door wide to veil wearing, but as I thought and read more about it, I became a wee bit less unhappy. I’m not lecturing anyone… or if I am, I’m lecturing myself, too.)