How Parliament and our Federal Government are Playing MAID Politics with the Lives of People with Mental Illness

Our government is asking parliament to ignore its statutory-based commitment to evidence-informed policy making under the existing MAID law

If the majority of Canadian Senators, some psychiatrists, and our government have it their way, physicians in Canada will soon be asked to offer patients with mental illness the option to end their lives as a therapy for their mental health related suffering. The Canadian Senate removed the clause that excluded mental illness from Bill C7, a bill which extends “medical assistance in dying” [MAID] (the increasingly less accurate Canadian euphemism for euthanasia and assisted suicide) to persons who have a disability or chronic illness but who are not close to their natural death. The government just announced it largely accepts the Senate’s amendment for inclusion of mental illness, which would enter into force with a sunset provision of two years. What is extraordinary is how the government thereby allows an unelected Senate to introduce a sweeping broadening of MAID, and this while the House of Commons itself had no detailed evidence-informed review and debate on this specific issue, since it was not part of the original Bill.

Some Reflections on the Gamestop Saga

 

Those who possess the intestinal fortitude to board Wonderland’s monster roller coaster, the Leviathan, will experience the singular pleasure of parking their stomachs nearly 100 metres in the air, accelerating to a top speed of 148 kph, and (hopefully) renewing their acquaintance with terra firma (and sanity) about 2 minutes later.  A quick canvass of Gamestop’s recent share price  reveals a strikingly similar profile (and likely a similar effect on many of its investors).  The only difference is that in the Gamestop case, for many the return to terra firma and sanity are not likely to be either as smooth or as welcome. 

Hegel on the Rule of Law and Democracy

(This talk was delivered at a symposium on “Hegel and Legal Philosophy Today” organized by Durham University’s Centre for Law and Philosophy in celebration of the 250th anniversary of Hegel’s birth).

The 'double-dipping professor' in Doug Ford’s crosshairs is nothing but a myth

The following first appeared in the National Post (Financial Post) June 4, 2019

There is the unicorn. There is the chimera. There is the Mothman, the Minotaur, the manticore, and assorted mutants. Then there is the double-dipping university professor. Each of these mythical creatures has the same unassailably assailable pedigree, which is to say, none at all. 

You don’t have to have had your ear to the ground in the last few weeks to have heard the vitriolic attacks in Ontario on professors over a certain age who, because they work past mandatory retirement age, are receiving both pension and salary. “Time for Ontario to ditch double-dipping university professors,” reads the headline on a recent Toronto Sun column. The Ford government appears to be poised to adopt legislation that prevents professors from receiving salary and pension at the same time. 

The SNC Lavalin Controversy: The Shawcross Principle and Prosecutorial Independence

 

Please note that a revised and expanded version of this blog is available at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3367097

 

 

The SNC Lavalin controversy over whether improper pressure was placed on former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould continues to rage. Both the ambiguities of the facts and the complexity of the policy issues seem to warrant an independent public inquiry. 

 

Such an inquiry could explore controversies over prosecutorial independence under Justin Trudeau’s government just as the McDonald Commission explored controversies over police independence under Pierre Trudeau’s government. In both cases, the issues had became emmeshed in partisan politics. Clear and independent thinking and reform plans were necessary for moving forward.

 

The Shawcross Principle

 

The Shawcross Principle articulated in 1951 is a constitutional convention that while the Attorney General (AG) is entitled to consult Cabinet colleagues about the policy implications of prosecutorial decisions, he or she is not to be directed or pressured on such decisions by the Cabinet and that the decision should be made by the AG alone.

 

Visiting Prof. Carolyn Strange: "Gay Village killings show there's still tension between Toronto cops, LGBTQ community"

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Faculty of Law was pleased to host Prof. Carolyn Strange, of the Australian National University School of History, as a visiting professor from July to November 2018. Before she returned to Australia, Prof. Strange wrote this piece in The Conversation reflecting on the historical context of the police response to serial killers of gay males in light of the charges against Bruce McArthur in Toronto.

Bruce McArthur, who allegedly lured men into sexual encounters, killed them and disposed of their bodies, faces eight murder charges in Toronto. The case has saddened and angered many, especially those from LGBTQ2S+ communities. They’ve accused police of failing to investigate the case seriously.

Some community activists believe homophobia and racism lengthened the time it took police to make an arrest. These accusations have triggered an investigation into previously unsolved murders of gay men in the 1970s.

Ford government decision is a step backward for investor protection

 

By Anita Anand

Globe and Mail September 25, 2018

The Ontario Securities Commission recently published a proposed rule banning certain commissions to dealers on mutual fund sales. The rule was not just Ontario’s initiative – it was a joint effort by members of the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), which consists of regulators from all provinces and territories. After months of discussions, which included the consideration of empirical data, the CSA finally agreed on the need to restrict certain commissions, with each of its members agreeing to implement the rule in its home province or territory.

Then, to the surprise of many, Ontario Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli expressed the government’s disagreement with the rule, ignoring the statutory process for making laws relating to the capital markets in this province. The Minister’s approach presents three problems. First, it undermines the rule-making process that is embodied in statute and has been the law for more than 20 years. Second, it fails to appreciate the important investor protection concerns that the CSA identified and sought to address. Third, it creates uncertainty in the capital markets, which the government of the day should be loath to do.

Doug Ford can’t apply the notwithstanding clause retroactively to impede democracy

Originally published in the Globe and Mail.

Prof. Lorraine Weinrib was formerly the deputy director of Constitutional Law and Policy, Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario.

Politicians who are disappointed when constitutional rights frustrate their plans sometimes turn to the notwithstanding clause, thinking that it allows them to do anything they want. In this, they are mistaken.

The Supreme Court of Canada has held that the notwithstanding clause cannot operate retroactively. This ruling brings the override power in line with the rule of law – a pre-eminent constitutional principle. Persons are entitled to assume the continuity of their fundamental rights without worrying about retroactive government nullification.