The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Justin Ling

Trade

Breaking down Canada’s internal trade barriers

By Justin Ling January 19, 2017 19 January 2017

Breaking down Canada’s internal trade barriers

 

Beer is flowing freely from province to province; wine could soon follow. And if some political mavericks get their way, provincial agricultural barriers could be next.

Credit political will and perhaps a broader reading, of late, of Canada’s founding documents: Internal free trade has been a hot topic.

Ever since a New Brunswick Court of Appeal sided with an ale-loving New Brunswick man in R. v. Comeau, it seems like it’s just been a matter of time until the Supreme Court of Canada weighs in and Canada will become, once and for all, a free-trade zone.

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Criminal law

Abusing civil forfeiture in Canada

By Justin Ling January 10, 2017 10 January 2017

Abusing civil forfeiture in Canada

 

Ontario’s civil forfeiture laws have created a system that is broad in scope and power, light on defence and relief, and they are being deployed very generously. 

That’s a reality that Margaret and Terry Reilly have learned the hard way over the past decade, as the government has aggressively pursued two of their properties, seizing their buildings and selling them off. 

It’s a case that highlights the bizarre nature of civil forfeiture — one that a group of lawyers is looking to scale back. 

The Reillys have found allies in the Canada Constitution Foundation (CCF), who are helping in the legal fight against the forfeiture order.

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Privacy

Understanding surveillance technology

By Justin Ling January 9, 2017 9 January 2017

Understanding surveillance technology

 

Has the time come for the bench and the bar get a crash course in spying technology?

That’s a pretty clear take-away after a presentation on privacy and surveillance from Doug King, the police accountability campaigner at Pivot Legal.

King was speaking at the Canadian Constitution Foundation’s Law and Freedom Conference on Saturday, briefing the lawyers in the room on how police across Canada have deployed the powerful Stingray surveillance devices.

Pivot Legal and King have been

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Crime Stoppers: How do you guarantee anonymity?

By Justin Ling January 4, 2017 4 January 2017

Crime Stoppers: How do you guarantee anonymity?

 

Just how far should anonymity stretch to would-be tipsters and whistleblowers in criminal cases? That’s one of the first questions the Supreme Court of Canada will tackle in 2017, as the Crown faces off against a group that it can usually consider an ally: Crime Stoppers.

The case is unusual, but will serve as the goalpost to determine where informer privilege begins and ends for third-party tiplines, like those operated by Crime Stoppers. It comes out of a voir dire decision made at a lower Ontario court, stripping an anonymous phone call made to Crime Stoppers of its automatic privilege.

The call, the Crown contends, was made by the accused — whose identity is protected by a publication ban — and therefore cannot be protected by informer privilege.

Crime Stoppers is coming to the Supreme Court in the hopes that it will “provide a clear statement that informant privilege attaches automatically, as soon as the phone rings,” according to their factum filed on appeal.

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Criminal Law

Will the Criminal Code finally get a makeover in 2017?

By Justin Ling December 19, 2016 19 December 2016

Will the Criminal Code finally get a makeover in 2017?

 

It might not be the sexiest issue for the Minister of Justice to address, nor is it the most pressing, but an overhaul of the Canadian criminal statutes has been a long time coming, and this government has signalled that it is at least looking at taking some baby steps to cut away the dead weight inside the 2540-page-and-growing document. 

After a year in the job, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould seems to be coming around to the idea. At a speech in October, the minister highlighted that she’ll be studying the Criminal Code to see where it can be cleaned up. 

“Earlier this year, the Minister instructed officials from the Department of Justice to conduct a review of Criminal Code provisions found to be unconstitutional, with a view to updating the Criminal Code,” a spokesperson for Wilson-Raybould said in an email. “That work is ongoing.” 

She has her work cut out for her. Inside the laws are prohibitions on witchcraft, criminal sanctions on making or distributing violent comic books, and some Victorian-era language on obscenity.

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