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Articles | Chris Younker | August 5, 2009
Vancouver Olympics Invite Further Charter Challenges

Category: The Charter, Fundamental Freedoms (Section 2)

The Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) is under increasing scrutiny. Various measures it has undertaken to protect commercial interests behind the upcoming winter Olympics may infringe Canadians’ Charter rights. Municipal, police and university authorities are also raising concerns as they prepare for

Articles | Jim Young | July 31, 2009
Alberta v. Hutterian Brethren of Wilson Colony (2009)

Category: The Charter, Fundamental Freedoms (Section 2)

The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Alberta v. Hutterian Brethren of Wilson Colony[1] explores the limits on freedom of religion. The catalyst of this suit was a regulation adopted by Alberta in 2003 which requires all drivers’ licenses, without exception, to

Articles | Dan Shouldice | July 27, 2009
Refusal to Perform Same-Sex Marriage Costs Sask. Marriage Commissioner $2500

Category: The Charter, Fundamental Freedoms (Section 2), Human Rights

A Saskatchewan marriage commissioner who refused to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony has lost his appeal of a Human Rights Tribunal decision which ordered him to pay $2500 to one of the grooms. Saskatchewan’s Court of Queen’s Bench ruled that,

Articles | Dan Shouldice | July 24, 2009
Strange Bedfellows: The Misleading Debate over Third Party Election Financing in Alberta

Category: Democratic Governance

Is a government backbencher’s third party election finance bill an attempt by the Progressive Conservative (PC) government to silence Albertans by infringing their right to free expression? Or is it a private member’s humble legislative proposal to ensure that all

Articles | Jim Young | July 22, 2009
Corbiere v. Canada (1999)

Category: The Charter, Equality Rights (Section 15), Aboriginal Rights

John Corbiere was a status Indian belonging to the Batchewana First Nation, an Ojibway band near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. He was among the two thirds of Batchewana Band members who did not live on the band’s reserve land and were not permitted

Articles | Jim Young | July 20, 2009
The Upper House Reference (1980)

Category: Democratic Governance

Ever since the Senate of Canada was established at Confederation in 1867, politicians have tried to reform the institution. Formal changes to the main features of the Senate have never succeeded, however. A few modest amendments have altered the distribution of senators by province,

Articles | Dan Shouldice & Ken Dickerso | July 3, 2009
Federal Court to Decide If P.M. Harper Won an Illegal Election

Category: The Charter, Democratic Rights (Sections 3-5)

The 2008 federal election caught many Canadians by surprise. One of them was Duff Conacher, coordinator of a “citizens advocacy” group called Democracy Watch. In the middle of the election campaign, Conacher began insisting that the election was illegal and contrary

Articles | Dan Shouldice | July 3, 2009
Saskatchewan Refers Same-Sex Marriage Question to Courts

Category: The Charter, Fundamental Freedoms (Section 2), Equality Rights (Section 15)

The Saskatchewan government announced on July 3, 2009 that it will ask the provincial Court of Appeal for its opinion on draft legislation to allow marriage commissioners to opt out of performing same-sex marriages based on their religious beliefs, while ensuring there

Articles | Dan Shouldice | June 30, 2009
Voter ID Requirements Threaten Aboriginals’ Right to Vote

Category: The Charter, Democratic Rights (Sections 3-5), Equality Rights (Section 15), Aboriginal Rights

A report from the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples warns that recent changes to federal voting requirements have “adversely affected the ability of First Nations, Inuit and Métis electors to exercise their fundamental right to vote.”[1] Section 3 of the Charter guarantees: “Every

Articles | Dan Shouldice | June 30, 2009
MPs Put Random Breath Testing to Charter Test

Category: The Charter, Legal Rights (Sections 7-14)

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights is calling for the implementation of roadside random breath testing (RBT) to crack down on drunk drivers in Canada. They presented their report, Ending Alcohol-Impaired Driving: A Common Approach, on

Articles | Anna-May Choles | June 30, 2009
Reference Re Firearms Act

Category: Federalism

In December 1995, the Parliament of Canada enacted the Firearms Act, which amended the Criminal Code provisions regarding the ownership and use of firearms.[1] The new provisions required all holders of firearms to obtain a license for their firearms and register them in

Articles | Anna-May Choles | June 29, 2009
Judging Judges: Controversial Projects Survey Lawyers and Law Clerks

Category: Democratic Governance

Recent academic research projects examining the work of judges have raised questions of ethics, confidentiality, and government funding. Also at issue is the value of such scholarly research. Surveying Supreme Court Clerks   An American political scientist, David Weiden, has

Articles | Jim Young & Ken Dickerson | June 19, 2009
Abdelrazik Set to Return to Canada, as Government Retreats from Confrontation

Category: The Charter, Mobility Rights (Section 6)

Author: Jim Young and Ken Dickerson[1] A Canadian citizen who has spent more than a year living in a Canadian embassy, unable to return to Canada amid suspicions of terrorist sympathies, is about to return to Montreal. The Government of Canada

Articles | Chris Younker | June 19, 2009
The Canadian Human Rights Act & Freedom of Speech: On Parliament’s To-Do List?

Category: The Charter, Fundamental Freedoms (Section 2), Human Rights

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) recently commented on proposals to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act[1] (CHRA) from law professor Richard Moon.[2] In his report, Moon called for the elimination of section 13 of the CHRA, which regulates the use of hate speech

Articles | Anna-May Choles | June 16, 2009
Provincial Inquiry Has Authority to Rule on RCMP Conduct

Category: Federalism

A Vancouver court has determined that the Braidwood Inquiry has the authority to probe allegations of misconduct against four RCMP officers involved in the 2007 tasering death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver Airport.[1] On April 30, 2009, the Commission notified the lawyers

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