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Yearly Archives: 2019

The Original Meaning of Military Law

Advocates for the Rule of Law returned to the Supreme Court of Canada last month in the Stillman and Beaudry appeals to make important submissions on the topic of stare decisis. I attended with my co-counsel, Adam Goldenberg and Peter Grbac. Mr. Goldenberg’s oral submissions were stellar and the panel kept him up for an additional few minutes to ask him ...

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The “Return” of “Textualism” at the SCC?

Under the so-called “modern approach” to statutory interpretation, courts are instructed to take into account the text, context, and purpose of a statute. But perhaps because the “text, context, and purpose” recital is so commonplace, other difficult interpretive questions are masked under its patina. For example, which takes priority—text or purpose? The Supreme Court has said that clear text is ...

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ARL Files Factum in Stillman Appeal

On March 8, 2019, ARL filed its factum at the Supreme Court of Canada in Stillman v. The Queen and R. v. Beaudry. We have previously written about how these military justice appeals offer the Court a rare opportunity to provide guidance on the doctrine of horizontal stare decisis. ARL’s factum proposes a framework that we hope will assist the ...

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Our Pythic Judges: SNC-Lavalin

In Ancient Greece, travelers from far and wide descended upon the Oracle at Delphi. Known collectively as the Pythia, these priestesses or women of Delphi, over generations, provided advice and counsel to anyone wishing to seek it. The Pythia were thought to channel the god Apollo. As the mythology of the Pythia grew, with kings, leaders, and leaders of armies ...

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The Problem with Prosecutorial Independence in Canada

As has been widely reported, the PMO has been embroiled in a scandal over the last two weeks for allegedly exerting pressure upon its former Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, regarding the prosecution of SNC Lavalin.  Precisely what occurred remains unknown, and contrary to many social media commentators, we are not going to give our opinion on what may or may ...

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Military Justice and Stare Decisis: ARL Returns to the SCC

For the third time in little more than a year, the Supreme Court of Canada has granted Advocates for the Rule of Law leave to intervene to assist the Court in addressing a significant public law issue. This time, ARL will make submissions on when intermediate appellate courts may depart from their own binding precedents. This question of horizontal stare ...

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Substantive Equality: Some People are More Equal Than Others

Double Aspect, the law blog of Leonid Sirota and Mark Mancini, recently hosted The 12 Days of Christmas, in which contributors offered their picks for the five worst public law Supreme Court of Canada decisions between 1967 and 2017. My list included Andrews, which I criticized for starting the mess that the Supreme Court has made of section 15(1) of ...

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In Defence of Substantive Equality

In a guest post on the Double Aspect Blog over the Christmas break, Professor Bruce Pardy (Queen’s Law) picked the Supreme Court’s decision in Andrews as one of the worst decisions since 1967. While I believe Professor Pardy offered some important criticisms of the Court in his post, I must respectfully disagree with his attack on the Andrews decision and ...

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Unearthing Canadian Originalism: Reflections on my Conversation with Justice Stratas

Earlier this month, I had the true privilege of taking part in a discussion with Justice David Stratas of the Federal Court of Appeal, who is one of Canada’s most prominent jurists, on the subject of statutory and constitutional interpretation. The conversation was part of the Runnymede Society’s annual Law & Freedom Conference. Justice Stratas and I covered a lot ...

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Ontario Court of Appeal Underscores the Importance of Adversarial Argument

Last week’s unusual Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Welsh v Ontario made headlines as the Court quashed an order that $1.5 Million dollars be paid to a charity. The facts of the case make the result a bitter pill to swallow. But despite this result, and the unusual statutory and factual matrix in which the case emerged, the decision ...

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