The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

CBA/ABC National

CBA influence

Seeking clemency: It’s time to let Leonard Peltier go

By CBA/ABC National November 14, 2016 14 November 2016

 

“I know that to watch him die in prison, without clearing his name, would devastate our family even more than the past four decades have.” – Kathy Peltier, writing in Time magazine in August

In August, about the same time that Kathy Peltier was waiting anxiously to hear whether President Barack Obama had added her father’s name to the list of pardons in his last year in office, CBA Council passed a resolution to add its voice to the chorus of those pleading for clemency for a man who has spent 40 years in prison after being convicted on fraudulent evidence.

Leonard Peltier was present when two FBI agents were killed at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1975. But he was later extradited from Canada and faced murder charges in their killings based on what has been proved to be faulty evidence. And yet he remains in prison, 70 years old and ailing.

Read More
National security

National security legal analysts brace themselves

By CBA/ABC National November 10, 2016 10 November 2016

 

Benjamin Wittes of the Brookings Institution and the editor in chief of Lawfare defines his role in the years ahead during the coming Trump presidency:

Trump’s election will fundamentally change my work on this site over the next few years, and probably off the site too. Because at least for me, Trump does not enter office with a presumption of regularity in his work. He does not enter office with a presumption that as President he will pursue a vision of what national security means that is remotely related to my own or that he will do so in a rational fashion—or even that he and I share a common idea of what aspects of this nation we are trying to secure. I take what he has said, over a long period of time now, too seriously for that.  

So in a way I never did with George W. Bush or Barack Obama or Bill Clinton—the other presidents I have covered as a journalist or analyst—I will write about the actions of the Trump presidency with the working assumption that our nation must be protected both by and from the president. I will support him and dispassionately analyze policy and law related to his functioning as the lawful executive responsible for the nation’s security. But I will always also keep the sharpest of eyes out for the areas where he himself is the threat and dispassionately analyze policy and law related to the threat he poses.

Craig Forcese, noting the unlikelihood of a Trump administration being “a government of law by lawyers,” tackles the ripple effects in Canada:

Read More
CBA influence

Removing obstacles to family reunification

By CBA/ABC National November 8, 2016 8 November 2016

 

Cost vs. Value is one of the principal tensions that plays out in Canada’s immigration policy – fears that family-class immigrants will be a burden on the economy without adding to it tend to trump any consideration of the value these immigrants will bring.

“The economic, social and cultural benefits of family reunification have been underestimated, particularly when the analysis of these benefits includes multiple generations,” the Immigration Law Section says in a submission it prepared for the House Committee on Citizenship and Immigration’s study of family reunification. Section Chair Vance Langford appeared before the committee in late October. (Vance Langford also spoke briefly with nationalmagazine.ca)

The Section supports the principle of family reunification as an objective of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and has several ideas for improving an obstacle-ridden process which can stretch well beyond reasonable limits of time and patience.

Read More
CBA influence

An initiative that helps families in marital breakdown

By CBA/ABC National November 2, 2016 2 November 2016

Its name doesn’t trip off the tongue and its abbreviation is no catchy acronym, but the Supporting Families Experiencing Separation and Divorce Initiative has been a boon to families in marital breakdown.

Established in 2009 as a five-year, $122-million project by Justice Canada, the Initiative was “intended to strengthen the family justice response to the needs of families experiencing separation and divorce by contributing to the continued improvement of access to family justice and by encouraging greater parental compliance with family obligations, notably support and access.”

Both the federal and provincial components of the SFI are scheduled to end on March 31, which is why the CBA Family Law Section has written to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould in a plea to have it renewed with a permanent mandate.

Read More
Charter rights

BC Court of Appeal: Benchers "abdicated their responsibility" in TWU decision

By CBA/ABC National November 1, 2016 1 November 2016

 

The Court of Appeal for British Columbia has decided in favour of Trinity Western University and against the Law Society of BC.

The Court is particularly critical of how the LSBC's came to its decision:

…we conclude that the Benchers improperly fettered their discretion by binding themselves to adopt the decision of the majority of members on whether “not to approve”. It appears they did so altruistically in the sense of letting “democracy” dictate the result, and letting the members have their say. But in so doing, the Benchers abdicated their duty as an administrative decision-maker to properly balance the objectives of the Legal Profession Act with the Charter rights at stake.

The ruling also draws the following conclusions on the balancing of Charter rights:

Read More