News
WATCH LIVE WEBCAST STARTING MARCH 18 of CLF Intervention in Carter Appeal
March 04, 2013

 

Event:   CLF Court Intervention in Carter case at British Columbia Court of Appeal
Date:   Mon, March 18, 2013 - Fri, March 22, 2013
Place:   British Columbia Court of Appeal
Contact:   CLF National Office
Details:   CURRENT COURT INTERVENTIONS

Carter et al. v Canada (Attorney General); Christian Legal Fellowship (Intervenor)

On March 18 - 22, 2013, the British Columbia Court of Appeal will hear the appeal by Canada, as represented by the Attorney General (Christian Legal Fellowship as intervenor) of the lower court decision to strike down a section of the Criminal Code of Canada which prohibited assisted suicide in Canada.  The plaintiffs suffered from late stages of Lou Gherig's disease.  Both Carter and Taylor have since died; Carter by way of lethal injection in Switzerland and Taylor as a result of an infection from a perforated colon last October (2012).

Background:  Twenty years ago the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in Rodriguez v British Columbia (Attorney General), [1993] 3 S.C.R. 519, by a narrow 5-4 decision, found that section 241(b) of the Criminal Code of Canada, which banned assisted suicide, was constitutional.  Notwithstanding, in June 2012 after 23 days of trial Madame Justice Lynn Smith of the British Columbia Supreme Court decided to strike down section 241(b) in the Carter case. 

Justice Smith held that section 241(b) was unconstitutional as it did not treat those with severe disability equally. The plaintiffs in the case were represented by pro bono lawyers from the BC Civil Liberties Association - who ended up receiving a cost award of close to $1,000,000 by Justice Smith, although the lawyers were not asking to be paid.  The government was given 12 months to come up with a new law.  The lower court decision, the timetable, and the cost award have all been stayed by the BC Court of Appeal pending the appeal hearing by that court in March, 2013.

Regardless of the outcome, it is hoped that this case will bring attention to the need for passionate palliative care to comfort the sick, and especially the gravely ill, during their greatest time of need: Matthew 25:31-46

LIVE WEBCAST: www.courts.gov.bc.ca/Court_of_Appeal/webcast/webcast.html 

Stayed tuned on this CLF website and follow us on twitter.com/CLF_Canada for "live from the courthouse" updates!




CLF Intervention in Whatcott - Supreme Court of Canada Releases its Decision on Freedom of Speech
February 27, 2013
On Feb. 27, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Christian Legal Fellowship's court intervention in Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission v William Whatcott case: 

TO READ THE SCC DECISION:
http://t.co/aSwnLLql7n

Factum of Christian Legal Fellowship is here.

Actual webcast of the actual hearing at the Supreme Court of Canada:
http://scc-csc.gc.ca/case-dossier/cms-sgd/webcast-webdiffusion-eng.aspx?cas=33676

THANKS TO BENNETT JONES LAW FIRM IN TORONTO FOR HANDLING THIS INTERVENTION
 
in particular CLF's ROBERT STALEY and also RUTH ROSS

SUMMARY:

On Feb. 27, 2013, Judgment on the appeal rendered; Deschamps J. took no part in the judgment., CJ LeB De F Abe Ro Cro, The appeal from the jwas udgment of the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan, Number 1566, 2010 SKCA 26, dated February 25, 2010, heard on October 12, 2011, is allowed in part. The decision of the Tribunal is reinstated with respect to Flyers D and E. The Commission is awarded costs throughout, including costs of the application for leave to appeal in this Court.

The constitutional questions are answered as follows:

1. Does s. 14(1)(b) of The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, S.S. 1979, c. S-24.1, infringe s. 2(a) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (freedom of religion)?
Answer: Yes

2. If so, is the infringement a reasonable limit prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society under s. 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

Answer: A prohibition of any representation that “ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of” any person or class of persons on the basis of a prohibited ground is not a reasonable limit on freedom of religion. Those words are constitutionally invalid and are severed from the statutory provision.

The remaining prohibition of any representation “that exposes or tends to expose to hatred” any person or class of persons on the basis of a prohibited ground is a reasonable limit and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

3. Does s. 14(1)(b) of The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, S.S. 1979, c. S-24.1, infringe s. 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (freedom of expression)?
Answer: Yes

4. If so, is the infringement a reasonable limit prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society under s. 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

Answer: A prohibition of any representation that “ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of” any person or class of persons on the basis of a prohibited ground is not a reasonable limit on freedom of expression. Those words are constitutionally invalid and are severed from the statutory provision.

The remaining prohibition of any representation “that exposes or tends to expose to hatred” any person or class of persons on the basis of a prohibited ground is a reasonable limit and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Appeal allowed in part, with costs.

Background: In 2001 and 2002, William Whatcott distributed flyers on the topic of same-sex behaviour. Individuals who received the flyers filed a complaint against him on the basis of hate speech. The Plaintiffs were successful before the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission; however, the SK Court of Appeal found his statements were protected under the Charter provisions on free expression. The decision was appealed by the SK Human Rights Commission to the Supreme Court of Canada. CLF’s motion to intervene was granted; CLF argued for the protection of religious speech under section 2(a) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

From the Factum of CLF: Religious speech is fundamental to the core values underlying our democratic system. It augments public discourse and reinforces liberalism. The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code's prohibition on hate speech is overbroad and disproportionate to the legislation's objective of eliminating discrimination. It unfairly catches all religious speech. CLF does not intervene to support the respondent's case on its merits. But CLF does support his freedom of expression in a free and democratic society. By its nature, religious speech sometimes engages controversial topics. The impugned law chills this legitimate public debate, and undermines our democratic ideals
.

CLF Supports Trinity Western University's Bid for a New Law School
February 02, 2013

The Board of Directors of Christian Legal Fellowship is pleased to support the development of a School of Law at Trinity Western University. The proposed School of Law encourages students to understand the practice of law as public service and develop professional skills. We believe this will be valuable as the profession is in a state of transition. The proposed School of Law further encourages students to look for areas that are underserved by legal professionals. This includes serving the poor and vulnerable in our society, but also includes potential practice of law in smaller communities. Chief Justice MacLachlin has noted that access to justice is a growing problem in Canada and this proposed law school is attempting to resolve this problem.

We believe that a School of Law at Trinity Western University, a Christian university, could be very positive. It will no doubt have a strong focus on ethics, and imbue a high standard of integrity on students. The university strongly emphasizes servant leadership, which will be an asset to the profession of law.

As a national association of nearly 600 lawyers, law students, and associate members that identify as Christians, and having a mission statement that encourages members to integrate faith with the practice of law, we see the potential to have this integration at law school as a positive step.

DATED this 2nd day of February, 2013.

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