HomeAuthor Archives: Asher Honickman

Author Archives: Asher Honickman

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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A Matter of Deductions: Resolving Uncertainty in MVA Litigation

As any Ontario personal injury lawyer knows, the common law of damages has been modified significantly in the context of motor vehicle accidents, to the benefit of defendants and their insurers. The legislature has enacted various measures to limit the ability of plaintiffs to recover in tort. It has done so for two reasons: 1) to help limit the number ...

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ARL at the Supreme Court

Earlier this month, Advocates for the Rule of Law appeared as an intervenor in the Bell/NFL and Vavilov appeals at the Supreme Court. Prior to the hearing, the Court advised the parties that these appeals would present an opportunity to reconsider the Court’s seminal decision in Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick, released a decade ago.  Consequently, various organizations, including ARL, moved to intervene in the case. ...

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Discussing the Notwithstanding Clause

I had the real privilege today of appearing on Your Morning on CTV to chat about the notwithstanding clause with host Ben Mulroney. In particular, we discussed the threat of premier-designate, François Legault to invoke s.33 of the Charter preemptively in legislation that would ban public servants and officials from wearing religious symbols. The full interview can be accessed here. ...

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The Original “Living Tree”

One of the main arguments in Canada in favour of the “living tree” is that it has deep roots in our constitutional tradition. As the Supreme Court of Canada said in Reference Re Same Sex Marriage, the living tree is “one of the most fundamental principles of Canadian constitutional interpretation.”[1] The argument goes something like this: beginning with the famous ...

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Comeau is a Casualty of Confused Doctrine

The Supreme Court delivered a bizarre decision last week in R.v. Comeau. By way of background, Comeau concerned the interpretation of s.121 of the Constitution Act, 1867, which states: “All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces.” The issue for the Court was ...

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Canon to the Right of Them, Canon to the Left of Them, Canon in Front of Them

The Ontario Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Schnarr v. Blue Mountain is significant for two reasons. First, it provides much needed clarification to the law of occupiers’ liability, and to waivers of liability in particular. Second,  it includes a detailed discussion of some of the principles of statutory interpretation. In this brief article, I discuss the Court of Appeal’s ...

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Has the Supreme Court Moved Beyond the “Living Tree”?

One of the first things law students are taught is that our Constitution is a “living tree.”  The Supreme Court has said that the living tree doctrine, which holds that our Constitution must be capable of evolving to meet new social realities, is “one of the most fundamental principles of Canadian constitutional interpretation” (See Reference Re Same Sex Marriage, at ...

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Getting Back to the Basics of Judicial Review

One could scarcely find an area of law so muddied as administrative law. In a recent blog post on Double Aspect,  Leonid Sirota argues (omitting some far more colourful language) that our courts continue to struggle with reconciling the basic concepts of parliamentary supremacy and the rule of law, which are said to be in conflict with one another. The ...

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Khadr Debate on YouTube

My debate with CCLA lawyer Rob De Luca has been uploaded to YouTube and can be accessed here. The video can also be accessed on the Runnymede Society website here. My take on the Khadr Settlement can also be read here. Thank you again to the Runnymede Society for hosting the debate and to Joanna Baron, President of the Runnymede ...

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