Monday, August 4, 2014

A Face Made For Radio - My Recent Talk Show Appearance


I'm very pleased to have been asked last week to appear on @CanadianGlen's radio show "The View Up Here". Over the two hour show we chatted mostly about Harper's Conservatives and their problem with (or refusal to) understand the Charter, role of the courts and the legal limits of a parliamentary constitutional democracy. We talk about their terrible record at the Supreme Court of Canada in pushing their ideological legislation without being burdened with concerns about its constitutionality or little things like a fundamental respect for the rule of law.

Thanks Glen. Here is the archived show:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/canadianglen/2014/07/31/the-view-up-here-talks-harper-and-the-law-with-stephen-lautens

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The "right" to bear arms in Canada - not.

Harper's Public Safety Minister says "To possess a firearm is a right..." No it is not in Canada. Amazing the level of propaganda or ignorance from the "Public Safety" Minister.
http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2014/07/31/public-safety-ministers-statement-on-gun-ownership-right-put-to-test/#.U9pfjUi0YXX

In Canada there is no constitutional or surviving common law "right" to a firearm. The Criminal Code and firearms regulations "cover the field". In 1993 (Wiles) the Supreme Court said: "Canadians, unlike Americans, do not have a constitutional right to bear arms."

In 2010 the Ontario Court of Appeal in R. v. Montague, 2010 ONCA 141 said:
[16] Moreover, contrary to the Montagues’ contention, the Supreme Court of Canada has addressed the question of whether the possession and use of firearms is a constitutionally protected right and has rejected the notion that Canadians have an absolute constitutional right to possess and use firearms. See R. v. Wiles, [2005] 3 S.C.R. 895, at para. 9; R. v. Hasselwander, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 398, at para. 414. Although s. 7 of the Charter does not appear to have been expressly invoked in those cases, the Supreme Court stated in Hasselwander at para. 414 that, “Canadians, unlike Americans, do not have a constitutional right to bear arms.” In Wiles at para. 9, the Supreme Court said: “[P]ossession and use of firearms is not a right or freedom guaranteed under the Charter, but a privilege.”

[17] The Montagues submit that the above-quoted comments are obiter, as ss. 7 and 26 of the Charter were not engaged in Hasselwander and Wiles or any related jurisprudence.

[18] We disagree. The Supreme Court’s comments in Hasselwander and Wiles apply with equal force to s. 7 of the Charter.

[19] The Supreme Court has also recognized that the possession and use of firearms is a heavily regulated activity aimed at ensuring peace, order and public safety: see Wiles, at para. 9; Reference re Firearms Act (Can.), [2000] 1 S.C.R. 783.

(http://www.ontariocourts.on.ca/decisions/2010/february/2010ONCA0141.htm)

By the way, the decision of the Court in Montague was delivered by Moldaver J.A., who Harper later appointed to the Supreme Court.

Pretty much case closed. The Minister of Public Safety should open a law book once in a while.