SNC-Lavalin affair strikes at the heart of legal integrity

Democracy can’t survive when equality before the law becomes a cynical joke

SNC-Lavalin affair strikes at the heart of legal integrityAndrew Scheer contributed significantly to Canadian political life by saying recently that the SNC-Lavalin affair isn’t just about choosing between Justin Trudeau and Scheer. The Conservative leader did further good by making clear that the SNC-Lavalin mess isn’t even just about an abstraction called the rule of law. It is, he spelled out for those…

Wilson-Reybould directive to Justice Department staff raises alarm

Wilson-Raybould instructed Justice Department lawyers not to aggressively fight claims brought by Indigenous groups against the federal government

Wilson-Reybould directive to Justice Department staff raises alarmSince former Justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould’s dramatic testimony before a committee of the House of Commons, followed by the testimony of Gerald Butts and Michael Wernick, much attention has been paid to SNC-Lavalin and the questionable behaviour of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Mostly missed were the last words of Privy Council clerk…

Ontario court ruling drives a wedge between Canadians

Decision encourages an infinite, ever-changing, race-based relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous

Ontario court ruling drives a wedge between CanadiansIn December 2018, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released its Restoule decision, which renders Canada and Ontario equally liable to pay the 21 Robinson Treaties bands their “fair” share of all Crown revenue received from sales, leases and licenses, less expenses, derived from treaties-surrendered lands retroactive to 1850. The land covers basically the entire…

Progressive agenda just a form of thought control

Ontario lawyers are being asked to agree to principles that may run counter to their beliefs

Progressive agenda just a form of thought controlThe Law Society of Ontario wants to compel all lawyers who wish to practise in the province to agree to the society’s version of a progressive agenda. It would be a dangerous precedent. The society may also make it mandatory for lawyers to attend sessions on such subjects as “unconscious bias” and apparently any other…

Venezuela’s descent into chaos was predictable

Taking wealth from one group and giving it to others just creates misery and strife

Venezuela’s descent into chaos was predictableNicolas Maduro was recently sworn in as president of Venezuela for a second six-year term. There are no signs things will improve in the strife-torn nation during this term. His first term was marked by hyperinflation, violent repression, flight of foreign investors, shutdown of businesses, bankruptcies, riots, food shortages, mass unemployment, widespread hunger, emigration of…

Classifying Uber drivers as employees stalls innovation

Uber emerged precisely to tackle transportation monopolies in need of disruption. The courts need to get on board

Classifying Uber drivers as employees stalls innovationUber has brought accessible income and affordable transport to tens of millions worldwide. Its disruptive presence, however, has ruffled Luddites and the self-entitled who prefer antiquated supervision to innovative enterprise. This standoff is playing out in Canada's legal system and has grave implications for the entire gig economy. Ontario's top court recently deemed invalid a clause…

We can’t let outside powers dictate law in Canada

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples should be treated as nothing more than an aspirational document

We can’t let outside powers dictate law in CanadaThe final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to become law in Canada. This is a very bad idea for many reasons. Enacting a law that would make all legislation subject to UNDRIP could render Canada virtually ungovernable. Justice Minister Jody…

Cryptocurrency innovation on the chopping block in Canada

Regulations against nonexistent threats fuel unwarranted fears and impede sector development

Cryptocurrency innovation on the chopping block in CanadaAfter the United States and the U.K., Canada has the highest number of blockchain-related projects – thanks to a relatively hands-off approach. Paranoid authorities, however, are set to suffocate innovation with poorly targeted regulations. On Nov. 8, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance presented its report, Confronting Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. It urges…

Mexico’s Indigenous experience a lesson for Canada

There are no status cards providing one group with superior rights. There are no special financial privileges

Mexico’s Indigenous experience a lesson for CanadaMexico offers a social model that Canada should consider. Oaxaca is one of the best preserved colonial cities in Mexico. It has a bustling centre, rich with busy markets – street vendors and music wherever you go. Oaxaca state has the largest percentage of Indigenous people in Mexico. Zapotec, Mixtec and other peoples mingle in…

One sentencing standard for all offenders

Terri-Lynne McClintic shouldn't have been sent to a healing lodge. In fact, the very nature of such institutions defies fair practise

One sentencing standard for all offendersTerri-Lynne McClintic, convicted of the 2009 abduction, rape and murder of eight-year-old Tory Stanford, was recently moved from federal prison to a healing lodge. Canadians were surprised – to say the least – that the transfer of a convicted child murderer to a healing lodge was not something new but had being going on since…

One set of laws for all the only way to end racism in Canada

In his new book There is No Difference, Peter Best details a way to resolve Canada’s legal and social relations with its Indigenous

One set of laws for all the only way to end racism in CanadaIn his new book There Is No Difference, Ontario lawyer Peter Best begins a long-repressed national conversation about Canada’s legal and social relations with its Indigenous people. Best asks: Why can’t Nelson Mandela’s goal and vision of one set of laws for all be the goal in Canada? Why keep and even extend the demonstrably-failing separate…

Are we using Google Translate responsibly?

As with many new technologies, there are limits as to when this software can and should be used

Are we using Google Translate responsibly?Omar Cruz-Zamora was pulled over by police while driving in Kansas City in October 2017. The police officer used Google Translate to ask if he could search the car. Cruz-Zamora said yes, the officer found drugs and Cruz-Zamora was arrested. This officer is just one of the more than half a billion people worldwide who…

The strangling nature of Canada’s ‘duty to consult’ the Indigenous

A recent Supreme Court decision seems to have loosened the constraints, but will new legislation push such matters to the UN?

The strangling nature of Canada’s ‘duty to consult’ the IndigenousThe Supreme Court of Canada’s Mikisew decision, delivered on Oct. 11, 2018, marks what could be a very significant development in Canadian law – possibly ushering in a more reasonable era, where courts intervene less in matters that properly belong to the people’s elected representatives. Let me explain: Section 35 was written into Canada’s brand…

Canada Post records $94-million loss in third quarter

Loss mainly due to the cost of implementing pay equity ruling

Canada Post records $94-million loss in third quarterCanada Post recorded a loss before tax of $94 million for the third quarter of 2018, mainly due to the costs of implementing the final pay equity ruling. The ruling will adjust how much delivery employees in suburban and rural Canada (RSMC) are paid, said the corporation in a news release issued on Tuesday. “If…

Excluding irregular migrants from health care violates international law

People with irregular legal status generally receive no health benefits whatsoever and must pay out of pocket or rely on charity to cover their health needs

Excluding irregular migrants from health care violates international lawShould migrants living in Canada without legal authorization be entitled to health care? The answer according to a decision issued by the United Nations Human Rights Committee in August was clearly yes, especially if lack of health care threatens migrants’ lives. Sadly, the government of Canada has yet to respond. People living in Canada with…
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