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Ruling on assisted suicide

By Yves Faguy
November 25, 2014 at 16:50PM Le 25 November 2014 à 16:50PM

Jennifer Koshan and Jonnette Watson Hamilton have some ideas on how the Supreme Court of Canada should decide Carter v. Canada .  They note that the plaintiffs successfully challenged the assisted suicide provisions before the British Columbia Supreme Court based on a section 7 reading. The Court of Appeal later overturned the decision. Now the authors want the SCC to decide the case on the basis of both sections 7 and 15.  Here’s their reasoning on equality rights:

Although many adverse effects claims involve unintentional discrimination, it is important to recognize that Carter is a claim of intentional adverse effects discrimination. Canada has maintained the prohibition against assisted suicide in spite of the evidence and argument in Rodriguez that the law has a disproportionate and potentially discriminatory impact on some terminally ill persons with physical disabilities. It is the intentional nature of the government’s actions in ignoring the impact of the assisted suicide law that makes it possible to argue stereotyping in this case, even though stereotyping is usually difficult to prove in adverse effects discrimination claims. Whether the law engaged in stereotyping was a major focus of the parties’ and interveners’ arguments at the Supreme Court, with debate focusing on whether the government made inappropriate assumptions about the vulnerability of the relevant group.

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Aluminum hoarders?

By Katia Opalka
November 25, 2014 at 16:02PM Le 25 November 2014 à 16:02PM

I’ve been asked to be an advisor to the team that will represent Université de Montréal at the 2015 Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna. I've been wading through the case materials. So far I’ve figured out that the seller backed out of a commodities contract because the market price for the mineral went through the roof. You can see how whatever the outcome of the arbitration, one side will feel like it got a raw deal. What I think is harder to understand, for most of us, are the forces at work behind sudden spikes in market prices. Which brings us to arbitrage.

Capitalism is all about supply and demand. The market responds to demand by generating supply.  Oversupply is met with lower prices, which causes suppliers to slow down.  Iron ore, right now, is a good example, with mines shutting down and projects getting cancelled.  Oil is another example: lots of supply, relatively low prices at the pump, happy consumers, unhappy producers. The key is to keep the price at a level that meets a host of competing needs.  Producers need to make a profit.  But if the price is too high, consumers will stay away. All of us are consumers on the one hand and investors on the other. In addition, we all need a degree of certainty regarding future prices for the things we know we will have to buy.  And we all hedge against price increases in various ways, for example by locking in to fixed rate mortgages or, in the case of companies, by signing contracts whose sole purpose is to protect the company from sudden, unexpected price changes.

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Violence against women a 'global pandemic:' UN

By Kim Covert
November 25, 2014 at 10:49AM Le 25 November 2014 à 10:49AM

In the last few weeks and months a handful of people, celebrities and other high-profile people have come to the public’s attention due to the allegations of sexual assault made against them.

Those instances, if true, are bare drops in the bucket – a tiny bit of viral matter in what the UN calls a global pandemic of violence against women.

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The Investment Canada Act

By Katya Hodge
November 21, 2014 at 16:42PM Le 21 November 2014 à 16:42PM

Omar Wakil, chair of the CBA National Competition Law Sections’ Foreign Investment Review Committee, appeared this week before the Commons and Senate industry, science and technology committees. He was voicing concerns on proposed amendments to the Investment Canada Act contained in the Omnibus Budget Bill C-43.

The ICA generally requires a non-Canadian investor that acquires direct control of a Canadian corporation doing business in the country to get approval first from Industry Canada if the total worldwide value of the assets of the target is over C$330 million.

The government is proposing a national security review process that has raised concerns among members in the CBA's National Competition Law Section. In the above video interview Wakil gives us a rundown.

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Careful before sharing, cont'd

By Yves Faguy
November 21, 2014 at 13:40PM Le 21 November 2014 à 13:40PM

The Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Wakeling has plenty in it for us to consider.  Léonid Sirota, for his part, tries to take the Court's pulse on privacy:

The 1-3-3 split in Wakeling, following similar multi-way splits in cases such as R v Tse, 2012 SCC 16, [2012] 1 SCR 531, and R. v. TELUS Communications Co., 2013 SCC 16, [2013] 2 SCR 3, seems to indicate that s. 8 and privacy rights more broadly remain an area on which the Supreme Court, so inclined towards consensus on most topics, still cannot agree. Yet it is worth noting that the splits do not involve consistent “camps” that would suggest irreconcilable differences of views. Indeed, in Wakeling, Justices Moldaver and Karakatsanis go out of their way to acknowledge each other’s concerns ― to an extent remarkable even by the Court’s usually polite standards.

This, to me, seems to suggest that we are in an area of reasonable disagreement between people debating in good faith. And that, in turn, might mean that Justice Moldaver’s and the Chief Justice’s appeals for deference to Parliament are especially appropriate.

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