Editorial: Bricks and bouquets

With lots of positive developments as well as some questionable decisions in the legal world lately, it’s a good time to toss a few bouquets to those who deserve some praise and bricks to those who are off the mark:

A bouquet to the Ontario Superior Court for addressing the motions backlog through the rebranded civil practice court. The changes have the potential to make a measurable difference.

A brick to the federal government for stepping up efforts to revoke the status of former refugees granted asylum who return to their home countries to visit. While there’s merit in trying to boost the integrity of the refugee system, accepted refugees have put down roots in Canada and can potentially argue the situation in their home countries has changed. It’s mean-spirited to make them go back.

A bouquet to Justice Minister Peter MacKay for suggesting the government won’t use the notwithstanding clause over the Supreme Court’s assisted-suicide ruling. While there’s debate over whether some of his colleagues agree with him, MacKay deserves credit for his measured response about taking time to consider what the government will do.

A brick to the trial judge in R. v. C.D.H. who created a fake profile on match.com during proceedings over an alleged sexual assault encounter involving two people who had met on the dating web site. While the judge had a feasible explanation for what he had done, his actions were an error in judgment and have now led to a new trial.

A bouquet to Justice Susan Himel for her recent ruling that found subjecting high school students to mandatory breathalyzer tests in order to go to their prom violated s. 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The decision provided a useful statement on the Charter’s application to the relationship between schools and students.

A brick to the federal government for continuing its legal battle over face coverings during citizenship oaths. It’s an unnecessary provocation towards the Muslim community and the
government would do better to heed a recent court ruling on the issue.

A bouquet to former Ontario Human Rights Commission chief commissioner Barbara Hall for her service in the role. She effectively led the commission during a significant transition to dealing with systemic issues rather than individual cases.
— Glenn Kauth

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