As the country celebrates its sesquicentennial, CBA National looks back on the legal milestones that marked Canada’s evolution from a young British colony to a mature nation. The great themes of Canadian history are all here – from wrestling with Quebec nationalism and defining aboriginal rights to becoming an independent country with laws that reflect our values as a modern society. Here are some highlights.
Download the timeline (.pdf)
Naiomi Metallic was the first Mi'kmaq law clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada. The Halifax lawyer holds the Chancellor’s Chair in aboriginal law and policy at Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law .
CBA National: Who has had the biggest influence on you and why?
Naiomi Metallic: My dad. My mom. My high school English teacher, Ora Watson. The Mi’kmaq professor who encouraged me to apply to law school, Patti Doyle-Bedwell. The Hon. Michel Bastarache for picking me, of all people, to be one of his law clerks. My husband, Al Mcpherson.
N: If you had a personal motto what would it be?
NM: Treat others as you wish to be treated.
A record-breaking year for advocacy
In 2016, the CBA made a record 97 submissions to government on matters ranging from privacy issues to various aspects of judicial appointments and the impact of judicial vacancies on access to justice. The flurry of activity was partly due to the new Liberal government’s busy agenda and its commitment to more public consultation.
A total of 24 CBA sections and forums, and three standing committees, were involved in preparing the submissions. The CBA National Immigration law Section was especially active, with a focus on the Temporary Foreign Workers’ program.
"Dance has been an integral part of my life since I was a child. It grounds me and gives me inspiration and, like law, is an avenue to seek social justice and serve the public."
Natasha Bakht, an associate professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, is an Indian contemporary dancer and choreographer.
Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is taking a big old barbed-wire-covered bat to some Canada’s zombie laws in the Criminal Code – that is, invalid, unenforceable provisions in the Criminal Code that have been struck down by the courts for violating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
She introduced legislation on Wednesday that would remove or amend outdated provisions, such as the offence prohibiting abortion, as well as provisions dealing with driving under the influence and murder that have been struck down.
The fact that invalid provisions are still on the books has made headlines for creating confusion. CBA National reported last year on the judicial error made in the second-degree murder conviction of Travis Vader, where the presiding judge relied on a section declared unconstitutional in 1990 to deliver his verdict.