February 27, 2015
27 February 2015
As you can no doubt tell, we’ve ever so slightly refreshed our website. Already, you ask? Well, yes, time flies, doesn’t it? Believe it or not, it’s been two-and-a-half years since we launched National online — almost an eternity in this quickly outdated environment. Though the initial design served us well at first, it was not built with users on mobile or tablet in mind. So we made the move to a responsive platform, which means that the pages you see on your mobile device will adapt in size accordingly.
We also decided to go with a slightly different look on our landing page, principally by switching to a continuous scroll. Readers can now come to our landing page and seamlessly move on to new content, without having to click headlines and to wait for new pages to load.
We’ve also done away with some underused functionality and made improvements to our right column, where we can showcase some our top features, posts and videos of the moment.
Of course, we will continue to position ourselves at the intersection of news, debate and developments on all things legal in Canada and around the world. And we will keep you informed of the many projects undertaken by the Canadian Bar Association in its efforts to improve the nation’s laws, improve access to justice and chart a path forward for the legal profession in Canada.
A final word before we get back to business: In the coming days we will probably be ironing out a few kinks. Burt please let us know what you think of our changes, and how we can improve your experience here. And, of course, please contribute by sharing your thoughts about the issues discussed here.
Above all, thanks for reading us.
February 26, 2015
26 February 2015
In what appeared to be a hat tip to judicial oversight, Defence Minister Jason Kenney told reporters last week that the government’s new anti-terrorism legislation doesn’t change anything to “strong system of oversight that has always existed” over Canada’s spy agency. "It doesn't give new powers to police or intelligence agencies,” Kenney said of the omnibus public safety legislation. “But rather to judges, to courts."
Similar, albeit slightly less categorical, promises were heard from Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney (“if there are any legal implications, the intelligence agency will have to obtain a warrant and judicial authorization”) and Justice Minister Peter MacKay (“judicial oversight is the backbone of these criminal reforms”). The message: Bill C-51 would require robust oversight from the courts.
Two experts in national security law, Craig Forcese and Kent Roach, are far from convinced.
February 24, 2015
24 February 2015
When it recently struck down the Criminal Code prohibitions on physician-assisted dying, the Supreme Court of Canada gave federal and provincial legislatures 12 months to craft new legislation to meet the conditions set out in its landmark ruling. Of course, the legislatures could do nothing, just as they did after the SCC struck down the criminal law on abortion years ago. But this would mean that, as of February 6, 2016, physician-assisted dying would be legal in Canada for those individuals who meet the criteria set out by the Court (subject to the general regulation of health services).
I leave the assessment of the political wisdom of choosing this path to the political scientists and strategists. Here, I simply explore what the next steps for federal lawmakers would be if Parliament were to decide to legislate in an effort to respect the SCC decision and reflect the will of the electorate. The obvious questions then are: “what should this legislation contain?” and “how should the federal Parliament go about legislating on the issue of physician-assisted dying?”