HomeAuthor Archives: John Sikkema

Author Archives: John Sikkema

The Courts Have No Jurisdiction to Review “Church Discipline”

Can a matter of church discipline be appealed from a church to a court? The question has made its way up to the Supreme Court of Canada in Wall v Judicial Committee of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It may surprise you that it was answered in the affirmative by the chambers judge, Justice Wilson, and by a majority ...

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The Decisions to Reject Trinity Western were not “Prescribed by Law”

This article appears in the current (Fall 2016) edition of the Christian Legal Journal, a publication of Christian Legal Fellowship, an intervener in Trinity Western University’s litigation in all three provinces.   Any state-imposed limit on a constitutional right or freedom must be “prescribed by law”, according to section 1 of the Charter. This requirement stems from the principle of ...

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Carter Should not be the “Last Word” on Assisted Dying

The Alberta Court of Appeal ruled in May in Canada (AG) v. E.F. that a woman suffering from “severe conversion disorder” — a non-terminal, psychiatric condition that causes physical symptoms — was eligible to receive “aid in dying” under the “criteria” stated in the Supreme Court of Canada’s February 2015 decision on physician-assisted dying, known as Carter I. The Attorney ...

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Reviving Originalism in Canada

Originalism posits that the content of a constitution is determined partly by the intentions and purposes of its founders and the understandings of the founding generation. This essay calls for the (re)introduction of originalism, which has an important place in American politics, legal academia, and courts,1 into Canadian constitutional law. First, I explain the importance of the methodology of constitutional ...

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Misreading Carter v. Canada

In its report released in December, the Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group On Physician-Assisted Dying recommends that assisted suicide and euthanasia be publicly funded and available for the non-terminally ill, the mentally ill, and for minors. Their Report says that its recommendations “were developed in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Carter.” The Report claims, inaccurately, that the Court “did ...

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Parliament Can Still Criminalize Assisted Suicide

Earlier this year, Canada’s Supreme Court struck down the Criminal Code prohibition on assisted suicide in its landmark Carter v. Canada ruling. Parliament’s only option now, many believe, is either to implement a circumscribed “right to die” or invoke the Charter’s notwithstanding clause. But the actual legal reasoning underlying the Court’s invalidation of the law makes possible another path. The ...

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In Defence of Constitutional Originalism

The Globe and Mail recently reported that Bradley Miller, a former Western University law professor and a judge on Ontario’s Superior Court, had been appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. The Globe’s report drew attention to the following: 1. Miller has criticized gay marriage; 2. Miller has only six months’ experience as a judge; and 3. Miller is an ...

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